Gigabyte X99-Gaming 5P Motherboard Review

Layout and Features:

The gaming 5Ps layout is based around the CPU socket, Eight (8) memory slots, Four (4) PCI E x16 slots and a very large chipset cooler. This quad channel memory takes up considerably more design room than the standard Z97 dual channel memory setup.

 

The motherboard features Five (5) fan headers, including the CPU fan header (red circle), Three (3) system fan headers (yellow circles) and a CPU_OPT fan header (green circle). This can be used for dual fan air coolers or to control the pump in liquid cooling systems.

 

The motherboard also features a total of Ten (10) SATA 6GB/s ports. The X99 chipset [yellow box] can run Six (6) SATA ports (SATA3_0-5). Although Two (2) of these ports switch between the SATA-Express, or the M.2 socket 3 Slot. The second controller [green box] can run Four (4) additional SATA ports (sSATA3_0-3).

 

For those who want to use a M.2 SSD, plus an on-board WiFi card, the Gaming 5P has the perfect solution. Dual M.2 Slots offer you the ability to use the bottom slot for a WiFi adapter card (30mm long), and the top slot for a M.2 SSD (60mm or 80mm long).

I’m a guy who loves motherboards with on-board WiFi capability, and having dual slots solves the problem of deciding what to use your M.2 slot for.

 

The bottom side ports are (from Left to right) front panel audio header, Molex 4 pin power connector (to provide extra power to the GPUs), Two (2) USB 2.0 headers, the front panel control header, and Two (2) system fan headers.

 

You can easily see from the back of the board that it offers Two (2) true PCI-e x16 lanes. The third lane is connected directly to the CPU allowing you to run Four (4) GPUs in x8 x8 x16 x8 setup without the need of a PLX PCI Express controller chip. Plus how much room the Eight (8) quad channel memory slots take up.

 

One key feature that truly makes it an enthusiast grade board, in my books, is the CPU_MODE switch (yellow circle). Flipping the CPU_MODE switch to “on”, enables all of the 2083 PINs on the CPU socket. Having a switch to enable or disable the OC socket is a nice feature as it allows you to run your CPU within normal specs when not Overclocking. Also note that the CPU socket, memory, and PCIe x16 slots are gold plated with 30 microns of gold. This is twice the industry standard.

 

Here is a closer look at the Gaming 5p’s gold plated CPU socket. Unlike most X99 motherboards, the gaming 5P features a socket with 2083 PINS. These extra pins allows the user to run more stable overclocks, and allows them to push the CPU a bit further.

 

The power delivery to the CPU is all digital. IR Digital PWM & IR PowIRstage® ICs provide precise current sensing accuracy, and better thermal load distribution. The Gaming 5P also features server level chokes. Gigabyte has used high end, enthusiast grade components to make sure that you get the most out of your motherboard.

 

Here is a look at what’s under the SouthBridge heat-sink (red circle). Also, Gigabyte’s patented Dual BIOS can be seen to the right of the CMOS battery (yellow circle).

 

The heat-sink on the Gaming 5P is one piece heat pipe design, that helps cool the VRMs and south bridge (X99 chip). If you are wondering why there is a cable sticking out the south bridge side. The G1 Gaming heat sink portion is back lit.

 

The Gaming 5P also features true enthusiast grade, on-board audio as well. Featuring the GIGABYTE exclusive AMP-UP Audio Technology, the Gaming 5P provides the industry’s highest level of on-board audio features and technologies. Thanks to that, and the gain control switch (red circle), you can use high end headphones rated for up to 600 ohms. With the simple upgrade of the OP AMP (yellow circle), you can also easily change the audio profile at the hardware level.

As a first hand user of this technology on my GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 motherboard, I feel there is no better on-board audio hardware available.

 

The Gaming 5P features plenty of I/O options.

The board includes the following options:

  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard port (purple)
  • 1 x PS/2 mouse port (green)
  • 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (yellow)
  • 5 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (blue)
  • 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 Q-flash port (white)
  • 1 x Killer e2200 RJ-45 port (red)
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In/Mic In, Line Out, Headphone)
  • 2 x WiFi antenna connector holes (However, WiFi antennas, or cables are not included)

 

The back-lit I/O shield is a very nice touch and I think it makes finding ports in a dark room easier. If for some reason you find the back-lit I/O shield (or Audio Trace Lighting) too bright, you can turn it off using the bundled Ambient LED software.

 

Coming up next ….. Page 4: The BIOS.

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