Gigabyte Rolls Out X99-SOC Champion Motherboard, Broadwell-U BRIX Mini PCs

Gigabyte is introducing a new X99 motherboard for overclockers that are on a budget. The X99-SOC Champion, like the other members of Gigabyte’s X99 motherboard lineup, supports Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition (LGA 2011-v3 socket) processors, International Rectifier’s all-digital CPU power design, and a PCI Express design that utilizes 100% of all 40 lanes from the processor when in a 4-way or 3-way graphics configurations.

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Compared to Gigabyte’s existing X99 lineup, the X99-SOC Champion compares most favorably to the X99-SOC Force. But whereas the X99-SOC Force features 8 DDR4 DIMM sockets, the X99-SOC Champion makes do with just 4 sockets. Gigabyte claims that cutting the number of DIMM sockets in half allows it to keep trace routes shorter, enabling for better performance. In addition, the DIMM sockets are surface mounted/soldered in order to eek out just a little bit of extra performance.

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Compared to the X99-SOC Force, the X99-SOC Champion also features half the number of USB 3.0 ports on the back panel, bringing the total to just 4. Otherwise, things are pretty much standard operating procedure which means that you’ll find ten SATA III 6Gbps ports, 1 SATA Express port, and a M.2 PCIe connector for SSDs.

Gigabyte hasn’t yet announced pricing for the X99-SOC Champion, but we expect it to be quite a bit less than the $349 going rate for the X99-SOC Force.

In addition to the X99-SOC Champion, Gigabyte has also announced that is diminutive BRIX and BRIX s mini PCs can be had equipped with Intel’s latest fifth generation Core processors. Customers will be able to start at the low-end with a 2.1GHz dual-core i3-5010U or go all the way up to a 2.4GHz dual-core i7-5500U. You’ll also find Intel HD 5500 graphics, HDMI and DisplayPort, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, a VESA bracket and four USB 3.0 ports. It should also be noted that Core i7 versions of the BRIX will feature NFC support.

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Unfortunately, we don’t have pricing for the updated BRIX or BRIX s at this point, but we’ll be sure to update you once we find out any additional information.

And we can’t leave you without mentioning the WaterForce 3-way SLI water cooling, which we saw in person here at CES. We were drooling when we saw the official press images back in November, and seeing it in person just makes us want it even more.

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As you can see in the pictures above, the WaterForce features a digital readout which not only display temperature and fan speeds for each GPU, but also the pump rate. Gigabyte still isn't offering up any hints on pricing for this fabulous piece of engineering, but we're certain that you'll have to sell a kidney to get your hands on it.