• Socket: LGA 2011-v3
  • Chipset: Intel X99
  • RAM Slots: 8
  • Memory: 3600(OC)/3400(OC)/3333(O.C.)/3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2133 MHz DDR4
  • Ports: 1x PS/2, 2x LAN, 3x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1x USB Type-C, 6x USB 3.0, 5x Audio ports, 1x Optical (SPDIF), 2x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16, 2x PCIe 3.0 x8, 1x PCI x1, 10x SATA 6Gb/s, 1x SATA Express, 1x M.2 SSD connector, 1x M.2 WiFi connector, 1x U.2 connector
  • Pros:
  • Comparatively cheaper
  • Dedicated RAM power phase
  • Cons:
  • Clearance issues
  • Benchmark Results
  • PCMark 8 Home: 4,219 points
  • PCMark 8 Creative: 4,714 points
  • PCMark 8 Work: 3,584 points

High-end Gaming Made Affordable

Brands these days see the gaming community as the biggest targetable market and so we’re not surprised with the name of this motherboard from GIGABYTE – X99-Ultra Gaming.
The X99-Ultra Gaming doesn’t have many in the way of extra frills in the box, only a 3-way and 2-way SLI bridge, a pair of Velcro straps to secure cables, and an extension cable for a RGB LED strip. By cutting out the extras and focusing on its features, GIGABYTE helped the user save money for other key PC components.

This motherboard also has top notch build quality. Not only does it have metal reinforced brackets for the DIMM and PCI-e slots, there are high quality capacitors, dedicated power phases, and many more. Besides that, there’s a cover over the back I/O ports and the audio chipset, shielding these parts from electromagnetic interference from other components on the board.

For add-ons, it has a M.2 SSD, a M.2 WiFi connector, a U.2 connector and SATA Express port for compatible SSDs. Additionally, those who have chassis with lots of fans would appreciate the five 4-pin connectors for chassis fan or water pumps. And lastly, there’s two gigabit LAN ports, one from Killer Gaming Network and the other by Intel, so users can isolate their game network data from general browsing or downloads.

As expected, there are eight DIMM slots on this motherboard and the spacing can be tight there. Larger fan CPU coolers might block the first PCI-e slot, so smaller ones or a water cooling solution would work better. Also, a 3-way SLI setup could block some of the headers on the board as well.

In terms of performance, the X99-Ultra Gaming has plenty of headroom for overclocking. But in practice, users would likely be bottlenecked by the CPU, especially if it’s not one that’s suitable for overclocking. With two PWM capable 4-pin connectors, it’s possible to install two separate cooling solutions too – one for the CPU and another for GPUs – so it’s possible to achieve really good temperature levels and acoustic.

CHIP CONCLUDE: A great option for gamers who want a system that can do extreme overclocking, but don’t care for the often times insane prices that X99 motherboards command.

(previously published in issue August 2016)

GIGABYTE X99-Ultra Gaming