Gigabyte X99-Gaming 5P Overview
The X99-Gaming 5P has a pretty sleek design to it with an all matte black PCB with dark grey, red and silver accents. The two large heatsinks on the motherboard are where you will find the red accents and they are actually connected by a large heatpipe. This motherboard is actually a little larger than other motherboards as it conforms to the E-ATX form factor and has official dimensions of 30.5cm x 26.4cm. You are going to want to make sure your case supports it.
Starting at the CPU socket, Gigabyte is actually using a new socket design. When X99 motherboards were launched ASUS figured out that the stock 2011v3 socket did not have enough all of the pins for the full 2083 connections on the Haswell-E CPUs. The in-turn made their own socket which was called the O.C. socket that had 2083 pins. This socket design led to more stable and better overclocks using less voltage. Gigabyte now has this socket on their new wave of motherboards. The motherboard has a 6-phase all digital power design powered by IR digital power controllers and PowIRstage ICs and server level chokes. Power to the CPU is by way of an 8pin EPS connector located at the top of the motherboard. On each side of the CPU socket are four DDR4 DIMM slots, which are color-coded for quad channel operation. These memory slots support DDR4 XMP profiles up to 3333 MHz. They also do not have the locks at the bottom edge, this allows you to remove your memory without having to remove your graphics card. The 4pin CPU fan header is located right below the CPU socket (white) and the CPU optional fan header is located at the top left of the board (black).
On the right side of the board you have your 24pin ATX power connection, USB header, and CPU_MODE switch. This switch enables all 2083 pins on the CPU socket, it is set to OC mode by default.
Moving down to our storage connections we have 8 SATA 6GB/s connectors and a single SATA Express connector. Of course if you don’t plan on using the SATA Express connector that opens up two more SATA 6GB/s ports.
At the bottom of the motherboard you will find more headers and connectors. Going right to left you have a 4pin fan connector, your front panel connectors, another 4pin fan connector, two USB 2.0 headers, a molex connector for extra PCI-Express power, and your front panel audio connections.
Talking about audio the X99-Gaming 5P comes with a very nice audio solution that is based off the Creative Sound Core 3D chip. This is a quad-core audio processor that is a full audio solution with its own special suite of software. The board features Nichicon high end audio capacitors. These professional audio capacitors deliver the highest quality sound resolution and sound expansion to create the most realistic sound effects for professional gamers. You also have an upgradable OP-AMP, gold plating on the Core 3D chip and audio connections, and PCB isolation for less interference.
Moving on to expansion slots you have four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots and three PCI-Express x1 slots. Gigabyte’s design utilizes 100% of all 40 lanes from the CPU when in a 4-Way or 3-Way graphics configuration. Standard designs limit all 4 main PCIe lanes to x8 (64Gb/s) bandwidth, but thanks to the onboard external clock generator combined with the direct connection of one of the x16 lanes to the CPU (switchless design), GIGABYTE X99 motherboards can unlock the full bandwidth available and provide the best graphics bandwidth possible to the user. The third PCI-Express slot down or PCIE_2 labeled on the board is the true switchless x16 slot. So even with four cards installed this slot will always run at x16 speeds. Above the top PCI-Express slot is another 4pin fan header, which gives you a total of three not including the CPU fan and Optional CPU fan headers.
In between the second and third PCI-Express slots you will find two M.2 slots. The first or lower slot is to be used for an optional WiFi+Bluetooth card and the second is for M.2 solid state drives. This is a 10 Gb/s M.2 slot and can fit M.2 drives up to 80mm in length. You will also notice a wire coming out of the PCH heatsink, this is for the LED on the heatsink, which you will see in action very soon!
Taking a look at the rear I/O of the board we have PS/2 ports for both keyboard and mouse, four USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet (Killer E2200), audio ports which you can see are gold-plated and spots for WiFi antennas if you wanted to get the optional M.2 WiFi module. You will notice the USB 2.0 ports are labeled in yellow, these are Gigabyte’s USB DAC-UP ports. These provide clean, noise-free power delivery to your Digital-to-Analog Converter. DACs can be sensitive to fluctuations in power from the other USB ports, which is why GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP takes advantage of an isolated power source that minimizes potential fluctuations and ensures the best audio experience possible. The white USB 3.0 port is Gigabyte’s Q-Flash port that will allow you to update your BIOS without having a CPU or memory installed.