After Computex, which took place at the beginning of June, there are a fair number of new board products out there ready to support the latest stuff. Most notably stuff on the HEDT front with the release of Intel's latest many-core CPU, the i7-6950X Extreme Edition. Built on a 14nm process and boasting support for a total of 20 threads, the i7-6950X and its counterparts still need a motherboard to be thrown into, and several board makers have asked me to do some reviews. These boards are using the older X99 Express PCH, which has been around for some time now. With that in mind, there's not much point in reviewing the newer boards without that Broadwell-E CPU, is there? So when asked to cover these boards, I ask the board makers to supply a loaner chip to review the board with, and would you believe it? Gigabyte said "sure" in like 2 seconds flat. So much thanks to the folks over at Gigabyte for supplying me with a loaner RETAIL i7-6950X CPU. Not an ES chip, but an actual retail CPU. The board is naturally the Gigabyte X99-Ultra Gaming.
Maybe I'm tooting my own horn a bit here, but back when board makers seemed to mainly focus on overclocking as a selling point, I was asking them to promote gaming more. Now, looking at the entire market, we have nearly every type of product you can imagine with "GAMING" as a part of its branding. I mean, after all, what do you use a PC for these days? Not for emails alone, surely? You can do that with your cell phone! Anyway, when it comes to products with gaming branding, I take notice. I want our industry to be successful and to continue to grow, and playing games and creating content for YouTube are pretty popular things that go hand-in-hand, so Intel's HEDT platform needs some gaming products too. Whether you're streaming those games as you play them or creating other types of video content surrounding your money-making hobby, having a system with as many cores as possible gets that work done sooner, which has you spend less time working on these videos and more time on the money. Gigabyte's X99-Ultra Gaming is well equipped to help you do that.
Drive technology has progressed a little bit along with everything else, and Gigabyte's X99-Ultra Gaming has everything you need to make use of those new technologies. There's dual M.2 ports, U.2 support, USB 3.1 via a PCIe x4 link, a USB Type-C plug, Dual LAN; the list of the latest features goes on and on. Audio with high-end parts, fan plugs ready to power waterpumps; everything you're looking for is here. Oh, and there's plenty of lighting too, including a header to add in LED strips for whatever purpose. I know not all of you care much about that lighting aspect, but for those doing full-on water-cooled builds installed right into your desk that scream for some ambient lighting, Gigabyte's X99-Ultra Gaming really does have it all. Maybe you just want lasers shooting out of your case. Pew-pew!
|CPU SUPPORT:||Intel Core i7 processors in the LGA2011-3 package|
|POWER DESIGN:||CPU Power: 8 phase |
Memory Power: 2 + 2 phase
|CHIPSET:||Intel X99 Express|
|INTEGRATED GRAPHICS:||Not Applicable|
|MEMORY:||8 x DIMM, Max. 128 GB (256 GB w/Registered DIMMs); Support up to 3600+(OC)|
|BIOS:||2 x 128Mb AMI UEFI BIOS|
|SLOTS:||2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2)|
* When an i7-5820K or i7-6800K CPU is installed, the PCIEX16_2 slot operates at up to x8 mode.
2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1, PCIEX8_2)
* When the PCIEX8_1/PCIEX8_2 slot is populated, the PCIEX16_1/PCIEX16_2 slot operates at up to x8 mode.
* When an i7-5820K or i7-6800K CPU is installed, the PCIEX8_2 slot becomes unavailable.
1 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slot
1 x M.2 Socket 1 connector (M2_WIFI)
|HDD CONNECTIVITY:||1 x SATA Express connector|
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10)
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (sSATA3 0~3, IDE/AHCI only)
1 x M.2 connector (2242/2260/2280/22110 PCIe x4/x2 SSD support)
1 x U.2 connector
* When an i7-5820K or i7-6800K CPU is installed, the U.2 connector becomes unavailable.
|NETWORKING:||1 x Intel GbE LAN|
1 x Killer E2400 LAN
|REAR PORTS:||1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port|
2 x Wi-Fi antenna connector holes
1 x USB Type-C port, with USB 3.1 support
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red)
6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
2 x RJ-45 ports
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
|AUDIO:||Realtek ALC1150 High Definition Audio CODEC|
|FAN HEADERS:||5 x 4-pin (2 headers support PWM waterpump control)|
|FORM FACTOR:||ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm|