Gigabyte X99M-Gaming 5 Preview
Category : X99
Published by Luca Rocchi on 02.07.15
The Gigabyte X99M-Gaming 5 is an mATX motherboard from Gigabyte, which is based on Intels HEDT X99 chipset. At a first glance we notice a clean and very nice looking design. Apart from that there are high quality components on board like for example the power design.
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With the X99M-Gaming 5 Gigabyte is amongst the motherboard makers, which don't only have ATX form factor X99 motherboards but also mATX models. At a first glance this board comes with a good looking design and a reasonable feature mix especially for gamers, which apparently make us curious what exactly Gigabyte has been soldering to the PCB.

Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion
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Specs and Delivery

Chipset Intel X99
Memory Quad Channel DDR4, 4 x DIMM, Max. 64 GB DDR3, 3000 (O.C.) / 2800 (O.C.) / 2666 (O.C.) / 2400 (O.C.) / 2133 (O.C.) Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Multi-GPU
  • Supports NVIDIA 2-way SLI Technology
  • Supports AMD 2-way CrossFireX Technology
Slots
  • 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slots (PCIE1 @ x16 mode; PCIE2 @ x16 mode)
  • 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 Slot (PCIE @ x4 mode)
  • 1 x PCI Express x1 slot
  • 1 x M.2 Socket 1 connector for the wireless communication module (M2_WIFI)
Sound Realtek ALC1150 7.1 High Definition Audio CODEC
  • Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
  • Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection
  • Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
 
Storage
  • 1 x M.2 PCIe connector
    (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA & PCIe x2/x1 SSD support)
  • 1 x SATA Express connector
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5)
    Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
    (M2_10G, SATA Express, and SATA3 4/5 connectors can only be used one at a time. The SATA3 4/5 connectors will become unavailable when an M.2 SSD is installed in the M2_10G connector.
  • 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 sSATA3 0~3 ports.)
Network
  • Killer E2200 Gigabit LAN controller
Internal Connectors
  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector
  • 1 x SATA Express connector
  • 10 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
  • 3 x system fan headers
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  • 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 headers
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  • 1 x power button
  • 1 x reset button
  • 1 x Clear CMOS button
  • 1 x audio gain control switch
  • 2 x BIOS switches
Extrenal Connectors
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  • 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  • 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 6 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 1 x RJ-45 port
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
  • 2 x Wi-Fi antenna connector holes
Forfactor mATX (24.4cm x 24.4cm)
BIOS Bios (128 Mb flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS)


   




Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion
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Features

Digital Power Design

Since quite some time Gigabyte equips its motherboards onyl with digital power designs. Using Gigabyte's own tuning software you can for example change voltages in Windows on the fly. As you might expect it from a high-end motherboard, there are only high quality parts used for the power design.
 

AMP-UP Audio

Gigabyte equipped this board with their AMP-UP audio solution. In this case you get a Realtek ALC 1150 audio chip, that has been combined with an EMI shield. Apart from that the audio solution has been isolated from the rest of the motherboard in order to reduce interference even further. Furthermore there are also high quality capacitors next to the audio chip, helping to provide richer sound.
 

SATA Express

SATA Express is a storage port, which basically combines two SATA connectors and bundles them. Each SATA Express port has been wired using two PCI Express Gen2 lanes offering a total of 10 Gbps bandwidth. Compared to SATA-III with 6 Gbps bandwidth this is quite an improvement.
   

M.2 Support

The new Gigabyte X99M-Gaming 5 motherboard features an M.2 slot. This motherboard can be equipped with an SSD in M.2 format and it is wired directly to the X99 PCH via two PCI Express lanes, therefore offering x4 bandwidth. In other words up to 10 Gbps can be pushed over the bus through this slot.


Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion
[pagebreak]

Layout


At a first glance the Gigabyte X99M-Gaming 5 leaves a very good impression with its good looking design. The manufacturer decided to go for a combination of black and red with some white accents, which suites nicely and in the end you get an aesthetic looking product. The layout itself is well thought and there is for example plenty of space around the CPU socket to install even todays largest CPU coolers. The fact that there are SATA connectors which have been angled by 90 degrees allows for an easy installation of oversized graphics cards. Meanwhile Gigabyte is using very similarly shaped cooling blocks on all motherboards in order to unify the design language. The only thing that gets changed is the color.



  


The Gigabyte X99M-Gaming 5 comes with a digital 6+4 phase power design, whereas the CPU is backed up by six phases and the memory by four. Like we've already explained on the features page Gigabyte is making use of an extensive solution. Regarding the CPU VRM there are IR3556 phases from International Recitifier, wheras every single phase can cope with up to 50A load. There are also inductors from Coiltronics, which go by the name FLAT-PAC 76A. These coils filter the VRM signal before it gets filtered again by a set of nine 10k black caps from Chemi-Con.
A quick look at the power stage, that is taking care of the DIMM slots reveals there are two IR3570A chips, offering 3+2 phases and they're being combined with four IR3553, which can be loaded with up to 40A. This is definitely more than sufficient for a DRAM power stage.



  


Totally you'll find four DIMM-slots on the Gigabyte X99M-Gaming 5. Officially supported are DDR4 3000 (O.C.) / 2800 (O.C.) / 2666 (O.C.) / 2400 (O.C.) / 2133 (O.C.). There is enough space between the DIMM-slots and the CPU socket which means that you wont encounter compatibility problems with big coolers even when you choose to install RAM with big heatspreaders. Also supported are Xtreme Memory Profiles (XMP) in version 2.0.


On the X99M-Gaming 5 PCH as well as current converters got separate cooling blocks. Gigabyte decided to connect two VRM coolers with a heatpipe in order to improve heat transport. Other than that the weight of this board is quite high, which is partially due to cooling blocks. Subjectively speaking a high weight is a first indicator for a quality motherboard.
  


Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion
[pagebreak]

Connectors and I/O


In total Gigabyte equipped the X99M-Gaming 5 with ten angled SATA ports. All ports offer 6Gbps bandwidth and they've been wired directly to the X99 PCH. There is also a M.2 x2 slot, which has been connected through two PCI Express 2.0 lanes. Overall there is good storage flexibility with this motherboard and gaming systems, workstations as well as enthusiasts rigs can be equipped with plenty of drives. On this PCB you'll also find practical onboard power- and reset-buttons in the top right corner of the board and there is also a debug display.
  


In total you'll find four fan headers on the Gigabyte X99M-Gaming 5 which is enough to provide a well equipped gaming rig, high-end system or also a workstation with fresh air. The fan headers are located around the CPU socket as well as spread over the motherboard. All headers offer 4 Pins, which means fan speeds can be regulated from within Windows, via Gigabytes Software.

  


  


Looking at the external connectors directly at the back-panel Gigabyte equipped the X99M-Gaming 5 with PS2 mouse/keyboard connectors, four USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, one Killer gigabit ethernet port as well as an optical out and an analogue audio panel.


Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion
[pagebreak]

Conclusion

Overall   + -
With the X99M-Gaming 5 Gigabyte has a solid motherboard in its portfolio, which is based on Intels latest X99 chipset. Having a closer look at the features mix reveals there have quite a few reasonable choices been made. Which is why here and there you see that Gigabyte has actually been holding back installing another and yet another additional chip. Nevertheless we would have liked to find a few more USB 3.0 ports at the back panel for example.   - Design
- Features
 
       
Layout   + -
The Gigabyte X99M-Gaming 5's layout has been well thought. Once more practical are the angled SATA connectors as well as the power- and reset-buttons. There is also a debug display which is very useful in case you should have issues with a component in your system or the board itself. Apart from that, the placement of the PCI-Express x16 slots is well thought. There is a total of three full sized PCI Express slots and between the first and the second PCI Express x16 slot there is an M.2 x2 slot. Should you want to do that, you can go ahead and build a very powerful dual-GPU system using this board as a basis.   - Angled SATA connectors
- Space around the CPU socket
 


Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion