Gigabyte X99 Ultra Gaming Motherboard Review

One of the main themes that emerged from CES and Computex 2016 was RGB Lighting. We noticed motherboards and graphics cards with built-in RGB lighting. Plus, optional ways of connecting and controlling more RGB lights. In the past you may have chose a motherboard solely because it’s color matched your build theme. Well, these new motherboards sporting RGB, are great for matching the hardware to your build, no matter the color.

Gigabyte, along with the other top manufacturers, now have decent offerings with RGB Lighting. The Gigabyte X99 Ultra Gaming is one of the least expensive boards in this category. But, don’t let its low price tag fool you, as it packs a lot of punch for the money. The X99 Ultra Gaming retails for $280 at Newegg (at the time of this review). Given we are The Mod Zoo, I’m going to put more emphasis on the build experience and looks of the board, not just focus on performance.

 

Specifications are from the official Gigabyte Webpage.

 

Specifications:

CPU
  1. Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors in the LGA2011-3 package
  2. L3 cache varies with CPU

(Please refer “CPU Support List” for more information.)

Chipset
  1. Intel® X99 Express Chipset
Memory
  1. 8 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 128 GB of system memory
    * Support for up to 256 GB of system memory when using Registered DIMMs.
    * Due to a Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than the size of the physical memory installed.
  2. 4 channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR4 3600(OC) / 3400(OC) / 3333(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2133 MHz memory modules
  4. Support for non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules
  5. Support for Registered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx4/2Rx4 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)
  6. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules

(Please refer “Memory Support List” for more information.)

Audio
  1. Realtek® ALC1150 codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN
  1. 1 x Intel® GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN1)
  2. 1 x Killer™ E2400 LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN2)
    * Teaming is not supported.
Expansion Slots
  1. 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2)
    * For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16_1 slot; if you are installing two PCI Express graphics cards, it is recommended that you install them in the PCIEX16_1 and PCIEX16_2 slots.
    * When an i7-5820K or i7-6800K CPU is installed, the PCIEX16_2 slot operates at up to x8 mode.
  2. 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1, PCIEX8_2)
    * The PCIEX8_1 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16_1 slot and the PCIEX8_2 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16_2 slot. 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.
    (All of the PCI Express x16 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
  3. 1 x PCI Express x1 slot
    (The PCI Express x1 slot conforms to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
  4. 1 x M.2 Socket 1 connector for the wireless communication module (M2_WIFI)
Multi-Graphics Technology
  1. Support for NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ and 3-Way/2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ technologies
  2. Support for AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ and 3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire™ technologies
Storage Interface Chipset:

  1. 1 x SATA Express connector
  2. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5), supporting RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
  3. 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.)
  4. 1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 PCIe x4/x2 SSD support)
  5. 1 x U.2 connector
    * When an i7-5820K or i7-6800K CPU is installed, the U.2 connector becomes unavailable.
USB Chipset+Intel® USB 3.1 controller:

  1. 1 x USB Type-C™ port on the back panel, with USB 3.1 support
  2. 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red) on the back panel

Chipset+2 Renesas® USB 3.0 Hubs:

  1. 8 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)

Chipset:

  1. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel
  2. 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB headers
Internal I/O Connectors
  1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 1 x PCIe power connector
  4. 1 x CPU fan header
  5. 1 x water cooling fan/water cooling pump header (CPU_OPT_PUMP)
  6. 2 x system fan headers
  7. 1 x system fan/water cooling pump header (SYS_FAN3_PUMP)
  8. 1 x RGB LED strip extension cable header
  9. 1 x SATA Express connector
  10. 10 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  11. 1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector
  12. 1 x U.2 connector
  13. 1 x front panel header
  14. 1 x front panel audio header
  15. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  16. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 headers
  17. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  18. 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
  19. 1 x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connector
  20. 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
Back Panel Connectors
  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  2. 2 x Wi-Fi antenna connector holes
  3. 1 x USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 support
  4. 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red)
  5. 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  6. 2 x RJ-45 ports
  7. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  8. 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
I/O Controller
  1. iTE® I/O Controller Chip
H/W Monitoring
  1. System voltage detection
  2. CPU/System/Chipset temperature detection
  3. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan (pump) speed detection
  4. CPU/System/Chipset overheating warning
  5. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan (pump) fail warning
  6. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan (pump) speed control
    * Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the fan (pump) you install.
BIOS
  1. 2 x 128 Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. Support for Q-Flash Plus
    * The USB flash drive used must be a USB 2.0 flash drive.
  5. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
Unique Features
  1. Support for APP Center
    * Available applications in APP Center may vary by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also vary depending on motherboard specifications.
    3D OSD
    @BIOS
    Ambient LED
    AutoGreen
    BIOS Setup
    Color Temperature
    Cloud Station
    EasyTune
    Easy RAID
    Fast Boot
    ON/OFF Charge
    Platform Power Management
    Smart TimeLock
    Smart Keyboard
    Smart Backup
    System Information Viewer
    USB Blocker
    V-Tuner
  2. Support for Q-Flash
  3. Support for Smart Switch
  4. Support for Xpress Install
Bundle Software
  1. Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
  2. Intel® Smart Response Technology
  3. cFosSpeed
Operating System
  1. Support for Windows 10/8.1 64-bit
  2. Support for Windows 7 32-bit/64-bit
Form Factor
  1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm
Remark
  1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors’ website or 3rd party website.
  2. 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.

 

For the latest drivers and utilities please visit the Gigabyte Support Webpage.

 

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