Gigabyte X99-UD4 Overview
The X99-UD4 dawns a matte black PCB with black and yellow accents on the rest of the board. The matte black really looks great and is a true black, sometimes we see brown rather than black on motherboards, but not here. The X99-UD4 sits in the middle of the Ultra Durable Series with the UD3 being lower and the UD5 being higher. The board is a normal-sized ATX motherboard.
Starting at the center of the board we have the Intel LGA2011v3 socket that supports Intel’s Haswell-E HEDT processors. The board features an all digital power design from International Rectifier which includes both 4th Generation digital PWM Controllers and industry-leading 3rd Generation PowIRstage controllers. These 100% digital controllers offer incredible precision in delivering power to the motherboard’s most power-hungry and energy-sensitive components, allowing enthusiasts to get the absolute maximum performance. The power delivery components are covered by a large heatsink that is actually connected to the PCH heatsink by a heatpipe. Right above this heatsink is the 8pin EPS connector. Below the CPU socket to the right are two 4pin fan connectors, one is for CPU fan and the other is for a second optional CPU fan. Flanking the CPU socket are four DDR4 slots on each side, which support quad channel memory.
Moving over to the side of the board typically here we see power buttons and maybe some overclocking buttons, but the only thing over here is the 24pin ATX power connector.
Going down the board we come to the SATA connections. There are a total of 10 SATA 6GB/s ports or 8 SATA 6GB/s ports and a single SATA Express port. All of these ports are at a 90 degree angle to make it easier to plug in your SATA cables and so that they are out of the way of expansion slots.
Along the bottom of the board you are going to find the rest of your connections. From right to left you have your front panel connections, USB 3.0 header, two USB 2.0 headers, a 4 pin fan connector, TPM header, molex connection for extra power for the PCI-Express slots, a 4pin fan connector and a front panel audio header. Obviously things missing that we typically see on most motherboards are power and reset buttons, a clear CMOS button, and a debug LED. You are able to clear the CMOS via a header. Also you can see the large heatsink that is on the PCH, part of it will actually light up.
On the far side of the board you can see Gigabye’s AMP-UP audio solution. It is completely separated from the rest of the board via PCB isolation and the isolation line will actually light up when the board is powered on. You can see the high-grade audio capacitors and audio chip. The chip is based on the Realtek ALC1150 which provides ten DAC channels that simultaneously support 7.1-channel sound playback, plus 2 channels of independent stereo sound output (multiple streaming) through the front panel stereo outputs. Two stereo ADCs are integrated and can support a microphone array with Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), Beam Forming (BF), and Noise Suppression (NS) technologies. The ALC1150 incorporates Realtek proprietary converter technology to achieve Front differential output 115dB Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) playback (DAC) quality and 104dB SNR recording (ADC) quality. Also Gigabyte has also located the left and right channels on separate PCB layers to eliminate channel crosstalk.
When it comes to expansion slots you have four PCI-Express x16 slots and three PCI-Express x1 slots. If you have a CPU installed that has all 40 PCI-Express lanes you can run the cards at x16/x8/x8/x8. There is also another 4pin fan header up by the rear I/O, that gives you only 3 fan headers if you don’t include the CPU fan and CPU fan optional headers.
In between the second and third PCI-Express x16 slots are actually two M.2 slots. The higher or one closest to the PCH heatsink is for your M.2 solid state drives and offers up to 10 Gb/s bandwidth. It supports M key M.2 solid state drives up to 2280 model sizes. The lower or M.2 slot further away from the PCH heatsink is shares a single PCI-Express lane and is made for mini WiFi cards. If the M.2 storage slot is in use it disables the SATA Express port and vice versa.
Finally moving to the rear I/O on the board from left to right you have PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse, four USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet, audio connections and a bracket for WiFi antennas if you happen to purchase a mini WiFi card. You will notice one of the USB ports is white. This is the Q-Flash port which enables you to easily update the BIOS without having a CPU or memory installed.