Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion & X99 Gaming 5P Haswell E Motherboards Reviewed

Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: The Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion and X99 Gaming 5P are somewhat different animals, but performance with both of these boards is similarly top notch. In our benchmarks, both the Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion and X99 Gaming 5P hung with X99-based motherboards from Asus and EVGA in every test, though that is to be expected with most current-gen motherboards when all of the same supporting hardware / software is used for testing. Only a couple of percentage points separated the boards in each test run. Regardless, performance was in-line with expectations for an X99, which is to say Gigabyte’s offerings can compete with the best of them.

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The Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion, and X99 Gaming 5P Motherboards

Although they are based on the same chipset, the Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion and X99 Gaming 5P are completely different products. The X99-SOC Champion is geared for the hardest of hardcore overclockers, and purposefully lacks some bells and whistles found on the feature packed X99 Gaming 5P. The packed X99 Gaming 5P takes everything about the X99 chipset and builds upon it with things like Creative Labs audio, a Killer NIC, and additional USB ports, among other things.

The X99-SOC Champion is currently selling for about $269, give or take a few bucks depending on the reseller. At that price, it’s not at the lowest end of the price scale for X99-based motherboards, but it actually is one of the more affordable X99s kits out there. If you’re hellbent on overclocking and like the streamlined direction Gigabyte went with the SOC Champion, by all means, give this motherboard some serious consideration. We really like it. Even if you're not planning to do any hardcore overclocking, the minimalist design of the board may attract some purists who don't want tons of integrated peripherals they may never use.

The X99 Gaming 5P is also an attractive product in our opinion, but for different reasons. It too offers a wide array of overclocking features, but the addition of lighting (including in the IO panel), upgraded audio and networking, and a ton of external connectivity should appeal to gamers who want a little extra flash. Pricing for the board currently hovers around $310, so it’s a little pricier than the SOC Champion, but the price is easily justifiable, especially in light of competing X99-based products and with all the additional features and functionality it packs in.

...For Overclockers And Purists
   Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion

...For Gamers
     Gigabyte X99 Gaming 5P

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