Gigabyte X99-Ultra Gaming Motherboard Review

Final Thoughts
This board is part of Gigabyte’s X99 refresh that came with Intel’s launch of their Broadwell-E high-end desktop (HEDT) processors. Since the launch of the original X99 chipset and motherboards we have seen new technologies emerge and other things that have become really popular to enthusiasts. With the launch of Broadwell-E it has given motherboard manufacturers a chance to refresh their X99 offerings with these new technologies and features.

One of the biggest features we’ve seen been added to pretty much EVERYTHING when it comes to computer hardware is RGB lighting. Well Gigabyte has stacked this board with RGB LEDs. You have lights on the memory slots, above the CPU socket, on the rear I/O cover, below every PCI-Express slot, on the PCH heatsink, and on the thermal armor covering the audio components. All of this lighting is really going to make your motherboard stand out! On top of that you have RGB headers on this board so you can add more lighting to your system and it will match exactly with your motherboard.

U.2 is something you are going to start seeing more on motherboards and could potentially replace SATA ports in the future. U.2 is a PCIe Gen3 x4 connection that takes advantage of the NVMe protocol. Intel’s 750 Series 2.5-inch drive is one of the only U.2 drives available currently, but expect more to come soon!

Gigabyte has also added new features that we saw in their Z170 line of motherboards. This includes the awesome thermal armor, metal shielding on PCI-Express and memory slots, and M.2 slots with NVMe support. So you have all of the new features that X99 lacked when Z170 boards launched.

Being a gaming motherboard Gigabyte has designed the board specifically for 2-way SLI / CrossFire, especially to take advantage of the new graphics cards from both AMD and NVIDIA. The board does however also support 3-Way and Quad-GPU setups as well. You also have dual Gigabit Ethernet with one of the adapters being Killer’s E2400 chip. This chip takes load off the CPU and comes with software to intelligently route your traffic for the best performance in games.

Gigabyte has revamped their BIOS with the new X99 boards and I am a big fan. Finally we are away from the 3-stage BIOS that had the classic BIOS, shortcut BIOS, and HD BIOS. Now we have a simple, easy to use BIOS. It does have an easy mode for getting to some of the main options faster, but you can dive in and find all of your options quite easily. Gigabyte has also refined their motherboard companion software and it keeps getting better and better, even from what came with their original X99 boards.

Now being the picky person that I am I will tell you what is missing from this board. This biggest and most important thing that I feel is missing from this board is a dedicated clear CMOS button. There is a jumper there, but having a button is so much more convenient, especially for people who are new to computers. Also missing are dedicated power and reset buttons. The LED lighting on this board is pretty amazing, but it is not broken into zones. So I can’t turn off certain LEDs or change colors without changing everything.

At the end of the day Gigabyte has really put together a great gaming motherboard in the X99-Ultra Gaming and has added a lot of new features many people will enjoy. Right now you can pickup the board at our favorite online retailer for $279.99. Overall ThinkComputers gives the Gigabyte X99-Ultra Gaming Motherboard a 9 out of 10 score and our Recommended Award!

Pros:
– RGB lighting all around the board!
– 32 Gb/s U.2 and M.2 support
– New revamped BIOS
– Metal shielding on PCIe and RAM slots
– Good overclocking
– Killer E2400 networking

Cons:
– No clear CMOS, power, or reset buttons
– LED lighting is not separated into zones

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