Packaging and the Board
The box is simple and the packaging is well done. The board is in an anti-static bag in its own mini-box.
Accessories include 4x SATA6G cables, IO shield, 2-Way SLI bridge, 2-way CrossFireX bridge, driver DVD, manuals, and GIGABYTE sticker. There is also a little form that asks buyers to give GIGABYTE direct feedback on their product for the chance to win a free BRIX, a nice gesture.
I have circled the five fan headers in red and blue. The single CPU fan header circled in red is for PWM fans, and the rest of the four headers are voltage mode fan headers. The fan headers do seem to be located towards the left side of the motherboard. There are gold accents on the board, and they aren't overwhelming, but they can be hard to match with other case accessories. GIGABYTE has darkened the color of the PCB markings, so that they are no longer white, but rather gray so they don't stand out as much. The back of the PCB is bare except for a few LEDs for the audio PCB divide.
The IO Panel features only 4x USB 3.0 (white port is for USB BIOS recovery), 4x USB 2.0, PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse ports, RJ-45 1GBit LAN, a TOSLINK with S/PDIF, and a bracket in case you want to install an M.2 WIFI card.
The PCI-E layout on this motherboard is optimized for multi-GPU configurations. All the PCI-E bandwidth from the CPU reaches the slots, and does so almost without delay. The third and fourth slots are hardwired at 16x (third slot) and 8x (fourth slot). The first slot has its first 8x hard wired to the CPU and the second 8x can be shared with the second PCI-E slot if needed.
A MOLEX receptacle for extra PCI-E power is provided at the bottom of the motherboard and both M.2 slots are between the second and third PCI-E 16x slots. There are two M.2 slots. The upper M.2 slot shares its bandwidth with the SATA Express port and its two SATA ports. The lower M.2 slot is for WIFI/BT M.2 cards, which are different than M.2 SSDs. All the PCI-E 1x slots are directly routed to the PCH.
GIGABYTE equipped the X99-SLI with 10 SATA ports, two of which are shared with the SATA Express and M.2 ports. The four ports labeled sSATA cannot do RAID, while the other six can. A USB 3.0 internal header is positioned below the 24-pin connector. This board has a second USB 3.0 internal header located at the bottom of the motherboard as well.
The audio on the X99-SLI is powered by a Realtek controller under an EMI shield. The PCB is physically divided to isolate the audio's analog domain from the rest of the motherboard. There is also a single amplifier for the backpanel port and some Nichicon audio capacitors.
The CPU mode switch allows for users to enable the extra pins in the socket. The CPU socket has extra pins compared to the standard LGA2011-V3 socket. These extra pins allow for a higher cache ratio overclock (uncore) and for a lower IMC voltage, which can lead to higher memory overclocks.
The VRM is made up of 6 phases, and it's the same as the VRM found on the X99-Gaming 5P and other 6-phase GIGABYTE X99 motherboards. While it might not seem like much, it is more than enough.
The heat sink is one solid piece. The heat sink uses screws and makes good contact with components.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and the X99-SLI]
- Page 3 [X99-SLI Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [X99-SLI Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup]
- Page 7 [Overclocking]
- Page 8 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption]
- Page 11 [What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]