Introduction and X99 SOC Champion
Such is the case with the motherboards we’re going to show you here from Gigabyte. Although they’re based on the same chipset, the Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion and X99-Gaming 5P are actually quite different. One of the boards is a non-nonsense hot-rod of sorts, targeted at hardcore overclockers, while the other is loaded to the gills with features galore.
First up, let’s take a look at the Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion. Gigabyte debuted this motherboard back at the Consumer Electronics Show, and since its introduction, it has been used to break a number of Haswell-E overclocking records. We’ll show you the X99-Gaming 5P as well, a little later, and then dig in with some numbers...
In terms of its main features and specifications, the X99-SOC Champion has just about everything most consumers looking for an X99-based motherboard would need. Gigabyte has, however, intentionally omitted any non-essentials. This board is targeted at the overclocking crowd, which tends to disable unused features to minimize the chance of a problem during extreme overclocking. Gigabyte even whacked a quartet of DIMM slots from the board to optimize and better isolate the traces for the remaining four. Gigabyte also used surface-mounted connectors for the DIMM slots that are on the board, claiming that they further improve signal integrity.
We’ll get up close and personal with the board itself on the next page, but before we do, let's take a look at what Gigabyte bundles with the X99-SOC Champion.
SLI bridges, for two, three (2), and four-way SLI. One of the three-way bridges is configured with a large space between a couple of its connected should you want to employ the lowest slot on the board. The inclusion of that extra bridge will probably only appeal to a small percentage of you, but it’s a nice touch on Gigabyte’s part to ensure buyers can leverage as many slots as possible with a three-way GPU setup.