Gigabyte X99 SOC Champion Motherboard Review

Greg (PCPackRat) and Jesse (Captain Curry Sauce) look at the record holding X99 SOC Champion Mobo:

For years motherboard manufacturers have been adding oveclocking features to motherboards. Those features and settings to squeeze every little bit out of your system. In the beginning, we were lucky to be able to run our 66MHz FSB (Front Side Bus) at 100Mhz. We were very lucky if our CPU would be stable with that big a jump, even luckier if the memory, GPU and peripherals could handle that increase in Front Side Bus. After that, motherboard manufacturers added features to let us crank our FSB up One (1) MHz at a time to squeeze the most out of it. Fast forward to today. Now motherboard manufacturers add settings to individually control every facet of your motherboard.

Today many motherboards carry overclocking features. Even so called Gaming motherboards carry oveclocking features. But, one company has pushed it to it’s limit. Gigabyte has a series of motherboards exclusively aimed at overclockers. Several years ago, with the release of Intel’s Z87 Chipset, Gigabyte released several of these “Overclocker” motherboards. They were aptly name the GA-Z87X-OC and GA-Z87X-OC Force. They used the highest quality components to squeeze every ounce of speed your system could handle. The Gigabyte OC Force dominated the overclocking community. For the record, I have several OC Force Motherboards, and love them dearly.

Ramping up for the release of Intel’s newest chipset (X99 Express) Gigabyte has released a motherboard aiming at the top again. To show their prowess in the overclocking community, they have released the GA-X99-SOC Champion. A board that broke 9 world records just weeks before it’s unveiling to the press at CES 2015. The SOC Champion is a combination of show, and go. It has the killer Orange and Black theme that the Gigabyte Overclocking Series is known for. Plus, those high quality components to give you your chance at the top!

Gigabyte GA-X99-SOC Champion specifications from Gigabyte’s US Website:



  • Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors in the LGA2011-3 package
  • L3 cache varies with CPU
  • (Please refer “CPU Support List” for more information.)


  • Intel® X99 Express Chipset


  • 4 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
  • 4 channel memory architecture
  • Support for DDR4 3400(O.C.)* / 3333(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2133 MHz memory modules
  • Support for non-ECC memory modules
  • Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
  • Support for RDIMM 1Rx8 memory modules (operates in non-ECC mode)
  • Note : For DDR4 XMP 3400MHz, please update BIOS to the latest version.
  • Please refer “Memory Support List” for more information.


  • Realtek® ALC1150 codec
  • High Definition Audio
  • 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  • Support for S/PDIF Out


  • Intel® GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)

Expansion Slots

  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIE_1,PCIE_2)
    For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIE_1 slot;
    if you are installing two PCI Express graphics cards, it is recommended that you install them in the PCIE_1 and PCIE_2 slots.
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIE_3,PCIE_4)
    The PCIE_4 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIE_1 slot. When the PCIE_4 slot is populated, the PCIE_1 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.
    When an i7-5820K CPU is installed, the PCIE_2 slot operates at up to x8 mode and the PCIE_3 operates at up to x4 mode.
    (All PCI Express x16 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
  • 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
    (All PCI Express x1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)

Multi-Graphics Technology

  • Support for 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire™/NVIDIA® SLI™ technology
    The 4-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ configuration is not supported when an i7-5820K CPU is installed.
    To set up a 3-Way SLI configuration, refer to “1-6 Setting up AMD CrossFire™/NVIDIA® SLI™ Configuration.”

Storage Interface

  • Chipset:
    • 1 x M.2 PCIe connector
      (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 PCIe x4x2/x1 SSD support)
      Support for M.2 PCIe SSDs only.
    • 1 x SATA Express connector
    • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5)
      Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
      Only AHCI mode is supported when an M.2 PCIe SSD or a SATA Express device is installed.
      (M2_20G and SATA Express connectors can only be used one at a time.
      The SATA Express connector becomes unavailable when an M.2 SSD is installed, but the SATA3 4/5 connectors are still functional.)
  • Chipset:
    • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (sSATA3 0~3), supporting IDE and AHCI modes only
      (An operating system installed on the SATA3 0~5 ports cannot be used on the sSATA 0~3 ports.)


  • Chipset:
    • 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports available through the internal USB header
    • 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)
  • Chipset + Renesas® uPD720210 USB 3.0 Hub:
    • 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel

Internal I/O Connectors

  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x OC PEG Power Connector
  • 1 x SATA Express connector
  • 10 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
  • 3 x system fan headers
  • 1 x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connector
  • 1 x OC Panel connector (for future expansion)
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  • 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x serial port header
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  • 1 x power button
  • 1 x reset button
  • 1 x Clear CMOS button
  • 1 x CPU mode switch
  • 1 x OC Trigger switch
  • 1 x DualBIOS switch
  • 1 x BIOS switch
  • Voltage Measurement Points

Back Panel Connectors

  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  • 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  • 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 1 x RJ-45 port
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)

I/O Controller

  • iTE I/O Controller Chip

H/W Monitoring

  • System voltage detection
  • CPU/System/Chipset temperature detection
  • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed detection
  • CPU/System/Chipset overheating warning
  • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan fail warning
  • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed control
  • Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the cooler you install.


  • 2 x 128 Mbit flash
  • Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
  • Support for DualBIOS™
  • PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0

Unique Features

  • Support for APP Center
    Available applications in APP Center may differ by motherboard model.
    Supported functions of each application may also differ depending on motherboard specifications.
  • @BIOS
  • Ambient LED
  • EasyTune
  • EZ Setup
  • Fast Boot
  • Cloud Station
  • ON/OFF Charge
  • Smart TimeLock
  • Smart Recovery 2
  • System Information Viewer
  • USB Blocker
  • V-Tuner
  • Support for Q-Flash
  • Support for Smart Switch
  • Support for Xpress Install

Bundle Software

  • Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
  • Intel® Smart Response Technology
  • cFosSpeed

Operating System

  • Support for Windows 8.1/8/7

Form Factor

  • E-ATX Form Factor;
    30.5cm x 26.4cm


  • Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors’ website or 3rd party website.
  • Most hardware/software vendors may no longer offer drivers to support Win9X/ME/2000/XP.
  • If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.
  • The entire materials provided herein are for reference only.
    GIGABYTE reserves the right to modify or revise the content at anytime without prior notice.
  • Advertised performance is based on maximum theoretical interface values from respective Chipset vendors or organization who defined the interface specification.
  • Actual performance may vary by system configuration.
  • All trademarks and logos are the properties of their respective holders.
  • Due to standard PC architecture, a certain amount of memory is reserved for system usage and therefore the actual memory size is less than the stated amount.


Coming up next ….. Page 2: What’s in the box.

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