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Gigabyte X99P-SLI Motherboard Review


Well-known member
Oct 24, 2007
With the LGA 1151 / Z170 spectacle starting to finally settle down, enthusiasts are once again looking towards the professional orientated X99 and socket 2011-v3 to fulfill their needs. Whether it is the massive quad channel DDR4 memory bus, the higher core count, the higher PCI-E lane count, or some combination thereof the venerable X99 and 2011-v3 combination still has a lot going for it. One area that it was obviously starting to lag in however was in the value department.

This is partly because X99 motherboards are geared more towards workstation and professionals where the upfront costs are amortized over a longer lifecycle, but mainly due to the fact Z170 motherboard manufactures have entered a new arms race. They’re now including everything but the kitchen sink just to stay relevant. Features once reserved for X99 motherboards such as DDR4 instead of DDR3 support, Intel NICs, four lance PCI-E M.2 ports are all now standard on mass market Z170 motherboards. This does tend to make the arguably superior – but older – LGA21011-v3 and X99 based motherboards a tougher sell.

Let’s be honest for a moment; the Skylake platform is actually quite expensive once you start looking at the cost of an overclockable processor and suitably feature-rich motherboard to accompany it. X99 on the other hand boasts slightly older processors and mobos from the Haswell-E lineup are still costly things are starting to change.

What if a company took a long hard look at their existing X99 lineup and decided to do a late season refresh? What if such a company could offer buyers a cutting edge X99 motherboard that not only offered advanced features like excellent on-board audio and Intel NICs, but also cutting edge USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3.2 support? What if on top of all that they could also offer all the benefits of the 2011-v3 and X99 chipset but do so with an asking price that was not outlandish? Would such a board make X99 systems even more relevant and more enticing? We’ll answer that right here: YES.

Fortunately for consumers this is not simply a flight of fantasy and instead this is precisely what Gigabyte did when they recently released their GA-X99P-SLI motherboard. We know that when we first heard about the X99P-SLI that we certainly took notice. After all, it not only includes Gigabyte’s stellar on-board ALC1150 based audio, an Intel NIC, and Intel-based USB 3.1 abilities, but also includes ten SATA ports, one SATA Express Port, as well as a four lane capable M.2 port. More importantly and unlike its predecessor – the X99 SLI which was a good value orientated motherboard in its own right – this new version even boasts improved RAM overclocking.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of Gigabyte’s X99 2011 motherboards is their very quiet rollout of BIOSes which now support an upgrade path to Intel’s upcoming Broadwell-E processors. Along with the fact that USB 3.1 and M.2 are here to stay for the foreseeable future, this means purchasing a fully-featured yet frugally priced board like the GA-X99P-SLI will lead to potentially years of future-proofing.

When Gigabyte’s award winning BIOS and software suite is taken into account the X99P-SLI’s price of only $230 seems almost too good to be true. After all, there are countless X99 motherboards like the ASUS X99-A/USB3.1 which can offer a somewhat similar feature set, but demand a thirty-to-forty dollar price premium. So is this a case of paper specifications not telling the whole story, or is the X99P-SLI in fact as good a value as it appears to be? That is a question worthy of investigation!


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Well-known member
Oct 24, 2007
Packaging and Accessories

Packaging and Accessories


Predictably, the X99P-SLI comes in Gigabyte’s standard Ultra Durable black and yellow box. As with most Gigabyte shipping containers the front is adorned with a large – but newly updated – Ultra Durable logo as well as stating precisely which model is housed inside. The back and sides on the other hand are filled with a full listing of the specifications, and a focus on several of this product's unique features. All of which make help making an informed decision a snap.


When you do open up the box, it is obvious that just like the exterior Gigabyte has not radically changed their internal design. Inside an anti-static bag the board itself sits at top a cardboard container, and underneath reside the accessories.


As you can see the included accessories list is excellent given the fact that this is a rather inexpensive LGA2011-v3 motherboard. With that said if you are looking for additions like door hangers, or case badges this motherboard is not right for you. Also if you are looking for a wireless Ethernet daughter-card with external antennas, or USB 3.1 (or even USB 3.0) front 3.5” bay panels this motherboard is also not an optimal fit - as those expensive options are also not included.

On the other hand, if you are expecting good quality accessories that cover all the basics nicely then the GIGABYTE X99P-SLI is a good match for you. In total you get a user manual, installation guide, driver and software DVD, a standard rear I/O shield, four standard SATA 6Gb/s cables, two 2-way SLI bridge connectors, a mini-DP to full DP cable, as well as a full size DisplayPort cable. That is a rather impressive list, albeit the two included DP cables are so short as to be almost unusable.

One other thing we would have liked to see is Gigabyte's M.2 to U.2 Mini-SAS adapter which would have only added a few bucks to the BOM cost but its value for further future-proofing is undeniable. If you are at some point looking for higher end SSD performance, it can be bought separately for around $15 USD.
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Oct 24, 2007
A Closer Look at the X99P-SLI

A Closer Look at the X99P-SLI


Even on just a cursory glance we can see that has Gigabyte has certainly revamped and upgraded the X99P-SLI’s design when compared to the X99-SLI it replaces. In many ways this new motherboard reminds us strongly of a curious amalgam of the original X99-SLI motherboard and the newer Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 5. That is to say it borrows heavily from both, but only takes the best of each to create the new X99P-SLI.


Just as with the X99-SLI before it, the overall layout is extremely well done, with most of the components and features being easily accessible. However, unlike its predecessor this is not due to a lack of features leading to copious amounts of open space and rather the design is simply quite user-friendly. Considering the fact that Gigabyte included a long list of advanced features, fitting them all into the ATX form-factor without making too many compromises is indeed impressive. In this regard X99P-SLI shares more in common with its more recently released Z170 siblings. With that being said, unlike the Z170X Gaming 5 which was a mishmash of colors, the X99P-SLI is quite aesthetically pleasing.

The amount of space between the PCI-E slots is phenomenal with the capability to mount four 2 ½ slot GPUs without a problem. Remember, since this is an X99 board, there are plenty of available lanes but there are some slight limitations. Both the PCIE_1 and PCIE_2 slots run at full x16 mode which is perfect for dual full bandwidth GPU setups but the PCIE_3 and PCIE_4 slots run at a continual x8 mode which means you shouldn’t use them if one or two cards are installed. Meanwhile, PCIE_4 also shares bandwidth with PCIE_1 so when that fourth slot is populated, the primary slot will step down to x8 mode. This allows for quad graphics capabilities at x8/x16/x8/x8 or triple x16/x16/x8 speeds with most Haswell-E processors. However, due to its internal limitations, the 5820K’s 28-lane layout will be x16/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x4 or x8/x8/x8.


Overall there are only a four compromises users need be aware of. These range from moderate to minor in severity but still need to be taken into account before making a final decision on this motherboard. First and foremost, the topmost PCI-E slot is utilized as the primary video card slot. This causes a bit of a tight squeeze when compared to other boards which have moved towards starting the slot layout with a more compact x1 slot.

Due to the fact that the second block of four DIMMS is located between the rear IO ports and the CPU socket this layout doesn’t leave a lot of room between the memory channels and the top of this x16 PCI-E. Thankfully, Gigabyte has had the foresight to use retention clips on only the top side of the DDR4 ram sockets so as to not actually encroach into the GPU’s territory. However, it still is a tight fit, especially if users opt for a video card with a full length backplate covering.

Due to this issue, and while not absolutely necessary, we recommend installing memory before the graphics card. Alternatively, with four x16 slots to choose from anyone not interested in Quad-SLI / Quad-Crossfire configurations can simply use a lower x16 slot without incurring a penalty.


The next limitation is a bit more straightforward. Due to its location between the second and third x16 PCIe slots that the single M.2 port is only capable of supporting 80mm or shorter M2 SSDs. This is quite limiting since there are some extremely capable drives that require a larger form factor.

Also, there is only one of these M.2 ports instead of the usual two. Many less expensive Z170 motherboards are shipping with two and even three M.2 ports, so this does put the X99P-SLI at a slight disadvantage for consumers who may wish to use multiple M.2 cards.

On the positive side, this port is located in a much more practical location than the Z170 Gaming 5 and only someone interested in populating the second x16 slot need worry about form-factor, U.2 adapter compatibility, or overheating issues. We also need to mention again that this M.2 slot has four available PCI-E lanes so the bandwidth potential is huge.

By the same token consumers of the original X990-SLI will notice a feature missing from the X99P-SLI: the WiFi M.2 port is missing. Basically, on the original the lone ‘M’ keyed port was raised slightly so that a lower profile ‘E’ keyed M.2 port could also be included. This second M.2 port literally sat lower and just to the side of the SSD-centric M.2 port. Sadly, Gigabyte has done away with the built-in M.2 WiFi/Bluetooth module and instead expects anyone who wants native wireless connectivity to purchase a PCI-E solution instead.


The amount of room around the CPU socket is a rather cramped, even by X99 standards. Between the four capacitors that are close enough to the socket arms to make a nuisance of themselves and the heatpipe connecting the single VRM heatsink to the PCH heatsink, these issues do make installation more difficult than needs to be.

On the positive side all these components do respect Intel's z-height restrictions in the socket area and won’t be a concern for the average consumers once the CPU is locked into place. Also, the amount of room between the socket area and the two sets of four DIMMS is slightly greater than it is on most X99 motherboards. As we will go over later in the review this does help make installation easier.


Just like the older X99P-SLI, the new X99P’s VRM heatsink and the X99 PCH heatsink are attached to the motherboard via screws, and both are low profile enough to as to not make a nuisance of themselves.


I do have one personal gripe about this board. Considering its asking price is still north of two hundred dollars, the lack of Reset and Power buttons - or even onboard diagnostics LED - was disappointing to say the least. Granted these are all features usually reserved for more expensive Gigabyte models so I wasn’t overly surprised to see them missing.

More importantly the lack of these features in no way diminishes the performance of this board in the slightest. It simply makes using it on an open test bench a tad more difficult than it should, but for most users this will be a non-issue. This is especially true when you consider that this motherboard includes two BIOS chips and will automatically fail-over to the second if the first becomes corrupted. To be honest we rather a DualBIOS feature to a reset button. But it should not be a binary solution - Gigabyte should have included both sets of features.
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Oct 24, 2007
A Closer Look a the X99P-SLI pg.2

A Closer Look a the X99P-SLI pg.2


The list of this board’s positive points is rather long and detailed. The first of which is the fact that Gigabyte has not felt the need to move any of the critical components to the motherboard’s back and instead everything is on the top of the PCB where it can be passively cooled via case air flow.


One of the real stars of this particular X99/LGA2011-v3 motherboard is Gigabyte’s overclocking socket which has additional pins. Specifically, instead of 2011 pins, there are 72 additional pins (2083 total) that allow for more stable voltages at higher overclocking levels. This is actually a surprising addition considering the OC Socket was normally reserved for much higher end products.

To enable this feature, you simply need to turn on the ‘CPU Mode’ switch located at the bottom edge of the motherboard near the last PCI-E slot. In testing activating these additional pins did very little for standard overclocking, but for enthusiasts hell bent on the highest overclock possible they may indeed help things somewhat.


Once again Gigabyte has opted for a 6-phase all digital power delivery system. While using a six phase system for a 140 watt TDP processor is a tad disappointing, each phase is capable of handling up to 50 amps so we doubt many will run into power issues. However, these six phases run off of an IOR 3580 controller which is not being fully utilized since it is capable of handling up to eight phases.


Moving on, both sets of 4 DIMMS are fed by a dual channel all digital VRM design. In this case, just as with the X99-SLI before it, an IOR IR3570 is used for each block of memory slots. Another thing to not is the DDR4 slots on this board support overclocking of up to DDR4-3333 speeds and supports Intel’s XMP 2.0 profile.


Next to the forward-most set of memory slots are the two 4-pin fan headers. These are intended for CPU coolers and the extra one will certainly be appreciated by anyone running a dual fan cooler setup. It is worth noting that Gigabyte has once again decided to not stack these two 4-pin headers next to each other. Instead the main black 4-pin is in the usual location near the top edge of the CPU socket area, while the secondary white one is near the other end of the CPU socket. This actually makes using both easier than on some boards that stack them in front of each other.

With that being said Gigabyte has not caught up to ASUS and their third header which is utilized for AIOs and water pumps.


Even though this board is regarded by Gigabyte as a more entry level model, it comes equipped with ten SATA ports as well as a single SATA Express port. Of course, if you do use the SE port the two adjacent SATA 6Gb/s ports will be disabled but that still leaves eight usable ports. In addition all these ports are directly connected to the X99 PCH so consumers need not worry about accidentally running their SSD off a slower controller simply because they picked the wrong port.
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Oct 24, 2007
A Closer Look at the X99P-SLI pg.3

A Closer Look at the X99P-SLI pg.3


It is great to see that Gigabyte has once again included two USB 3.0 front header ports. One is located in the usual area between the SATA and 24-pin power connector, and the other is along the bottom edge of the board near the front panel headers. Both USB 3.0 headers are directly attached to the PCH rather than a third party controller.


The real star of this show is the USB3.1 ability the X99P-SLI offers users. This alone does makes it a nice upgrade from the X99-SLI which didn’t offer USB 3.1, but more importantly Gigabyte has opted for Intel’s ‘Alpine Ridge’ controller instead of the usual ASMedia USB 3.1 controller. This controller more capable, much more powerful and generally considered to be a better performer than the ASMedia option.

Some of this additional performance is mainly due to the fact it uses four PCI-E 3.0 lanes instead of two which allows for true 10Gbit/s performance on both ports instead of bandwidth sharing that has to happen with ASMedia’s solution when both USB 3.1 ports are used.

Even more impressive is the fact that Alpine Ridge pulls double duty as a ThunderBolt 3 controller making it even more well-rounded. Thus, seeing it included certainly helps make up for some of the minor missteps – like the missing additional M.2 port.

The only minor issue is that this awesome controller has been paired to a Texas Instruments TPS65982 USB Power Delivery Controller that is only capable of pushing a maximum of 3 Amps over the included Type-C port.


The integrated sound solution Gigabyte has opted for is quite impressive as well. This is one area Gigabyte has been dominating and the new X99P-SLI is no exception. The X99P-SLI may be lacking the removable op-amp like some higher priced models but the included Realtek ALC1150 8-channel audio CODEC happens to be one of the best sound controllers available today. It has been combined with a Texas Instruments NE5532 op-amp and Japanese audio capacitors which pushes things even further afield.

To ensure the highest possible signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio and deliver the highest possible sound quality Gigabyte has not only isolated the audio section but also uses an ‘AMP-UP’ branded electromagnetic interference (EMI) shield covering for the Realtek controller. It is just unfortunate that all these features are also found on the previous X99-SLI and there have been no major changes from that model to this.


What has obviously changed, is the inclusion of what Gigabyte calls "Ultra Durable Shielding" for the four x16 PCI-E slots. Supposedly these metal caps which cover the top and sides of these crucial slots reduce EMI while also increasing the robustness of the slot itself. Whether or not they actually do all that is moot as they are extremely attractive and give this motherboard a much more distinctive look when compared to the older X99-SLI.

As this is a gaming oriented motherboard it comes as no surprise to see that Gigabyte has taken careful pains to make it as gaming friendly as possible. However, users will forgo the use of all other PCI-E slots when quad video card configurations are used. This means no NVMe Solid State Drives, no WiFi daughter cards, not even SAS RAID controllers.


To help ensure stability when using multiple video cards – especially overclocked models – Gigabyte has included a standard Molex connector to help boost the power and voltages that the cards have access to. We strongly recommend you make use of this feature if you use more than one video card.

It is also bears mentioning that if consumers do use the bottom-most 'x16' slot for even a dual slot video card that it will overhang the X99P-SLI’s bottom edge. This means the front audio, TPM, COM, dual USB 2.0, USB 3.0, etc front headers will all be covered. Depending on how long a video card used is, the front panel connectors may also be covered. This is par for the course for ATX motherboards.


Moving on we can see that Gigabyte has once again opted for a very potent Intel Gigabit LAN controller. To be precise the X99P-SLI uses the Intel i218 NIC that the previous X99-SLI uses. It is a bit disappointing that Gigabyte did not make the effort to upgrade to the newer i219 that many motherboards are now using. Of course as this is a more entry level product so the omission isn’t overly worrisome. Neither is the fact that Gigabyte has not included a secondary LAN port, but for most consumer the lack of a secondary NIC – even a Killer NPU – is no cause for alarm.


Rounding out the included features of the rear IO, Gigabyte has included four USB 2.0 ports, three USB 3.0 ports, two USB 3.1 ports (one Type-A and one Type-C), a PS/2 port, five audio analog ports, a S/PDIF optical out port, and one full sized DisplayPort. Those USB 3.1 ports along with their full speed 32Gbps bandwidth are key selling features of this upgraded board.

Please be aware that the included DisplayPort is – as Gigabyte puts it – ‘limited’ in its abilities at this time. Basically for now it can be ignored by most users as it simply will not work with most monitors. This may change as firmware upgrades come about, but as it is powered by the Intel Alipne Ridge controller, its compatibility is limited to only Thunderbolt aware/capable monitors right now.


The additional USB 3.0 ports are made possible by the inclusion of a Renesas uPD720210 USB 3.0 Hub.
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Oct 24, 2007
BIOS Rundown – Startup Guide & Dashboard

BIOS Rundown – Startup Guide & Dashboard

Unlike the streamlined BIOS which now ships with Gigabyte’s latest Z170 motherboards, the X99P-SLI takes a step back and ships with one very reminiscent of what shipped with older X99 motherboards – including the X99-SLI. In basic terms this means that there is three separate and very distinct parts to this BIOS: Startup Guide, Dashboard, and Classic Mode. One interesting change here is actually the color scheme, which is reminiscent of the SOC boards rather than mass-market units.

Startup Guide


The Startup Guide is a purely mouse-driven interface that features Windows 8-like tiles and is as simplified as possible. When you boot into the BIOS for the first time you will be asked to choose a default system language among an impressive 19 possible choices. Subsequently, you are presented with 9 tiles representing various motherboard functions, such as enabling/disabling the Fast Boot option, selecting the boot device order, setting up a password, and even what BIOS mode should be the default every time you enter the BIOS. There really isn't much here, but there isn't supposed to be. Startup Guide is merely incldued to give novice users a quick and easy way to access a few key settings.


If the Startup Guide doesn't cut it for you, and you want something with more options but still puts an emphasis on graphical eye-candy, you will want to hit F2 on your keyboard or click on the little arrow to the left of the Boot Sequence tile. Doing so will bring you to the Dashboard Mode or Dashboard HD if you have a 1080P or higher display. This is another user friendly interface that's a bit more detailed than the Startup guide

The Frequency tab of Performance section is where you are greeted with all the essential system clock control options that a serious overclocker needs: Base Clock frequency, CPU Multiplier, and memory multiplier.

The Advanced CPU Core Features sub-menu is where you can enable or disable the various CPU-specific settings like Turbo Boost, C1E, C-STATE, Thermal Monitor, and Enhanced SpeedStep (EIST). This is also where you can set the Turbo Boost ratios for each processor core and the Uncore ratio as well.


The Memory tab is where you will find all the memory-related settings. Within this section you can select the memory multiplier, change the performance profile, monitor the memory voltage, and obviously tweak the memory timings. Each memory channel has its own section, within which you can alter the primary and secondary timings. It had just about every memory setting that an enthusiast or overclocker will need to fine-tune their memory modules.


The Voltage tab allows for tweaking of the primary and secondary system voltages. Meanwhile the Advanced Power Settings sub-menu is particularly interesting for those who like to tweak since it allows for a great deal of control over all elements of the VRM.


The Miscellaneous section is where you can select the data lane configuration for the PCI-E slots and change another setting you will never use.

The Health Status section is somewhat impressive, at least when it comes to setting warnings. BIOS-based fan control has also improved, but the Smart Fan tab in Gigabyte's EasyTune software does have a little bit richer fan PWM functionality.


The new Home area allows users to create their own custom home page, adding the menus and options they tend to use most frequently, as well as displaying whatever mix of system information they want. It basically gives users fast, up-front access to basic settings of their choosing.


The Save & Exit menu is fairly self-explanatory, but it is also where you can save and load BIOS profiles, as well as access the built-in Q-Flash utility.

Finally's the Preferences sub-menu holds a few of the security measures like the admin and user passwords, as well as allowing users to select which BIOS mode they want to boot into. There are also some customization options available such as the background wallpaper, the display resolution, and most importantly mouse speed, which is something that we had to play with since our mouse cursor was quite sluggish at default settings.
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Oct 24, 2007
BIOS Rundown – Classic Mode

BIOS Rundown – Classic Mode

The Dashboard Mode obviously does not have all the functionality of the Classic mode, but it is not meant to. It simply gives novice users an easy way to visualize and alter some of the most common settings. With that in mind, GIGABYTE have included the more conventional Classic Mode.


In the UEFI BIOS, the MB Intelligent Tweaker (M.I.T.) section has been broken down into six main sub-menus. This is where enthusiasts should expect to spend 99% of their BIOS time. First and foremost, we have M.I.T Current Status sub-menu which contains a convenient overview of all the system frequencies, memory sizes and timings.


When you open the Advanced Frequency Settings sub-menu, you are greeted with all the essential system clock control options that a serious overclocker needs: base clock frequency, IGP frequency, CPU multiplier, and memory multiplier.


The Advanced CPU Core Features sub-menu is where you can enable or disable the various CPU-specific settings like Turbo Boost, C1E, C-STATE, Thermal Monitor, and Enhanced SpeedStep (EIST). This is also where you can set the Turbo Boost ratios for each processor core and the Uncore ratio as well.


As its name suggests, the Advanced Memory Settings section is where you will find all the memory-related settings. Within this section you can select the memory multiplier, change the performance profile, monitor the memory voltage, and obviously tweak the memory timings.

Each memory channel has its own section, within which you can alter the primary and secondary timings. It had just about every memory setting that an enthusiast or overclocker will need to fine-tune their memory modules.

The Advanced Voltage Settings sub-menu has the options for tweaking the digital VRM or simply adjusting the primary and secondary system voltages. We wish there were more drop-down menus in this section. As it is you can manually type in whatever you want, but that is not particularly useful when you don't know or don’t remember what the default voltages are.

The Advanced Power Settings section is particularly interesting for those who like to tweak since it allows a great deal of control over all elements of the VRM. We really liked the granular Load-Line Calibration (LLC) options for the CPU VRIN, since On or Off simply doesn’t cut it most of the time. By the way, as you will see in the coming pages, with the 3D Power tab in the EasyTune utility you can do a lot of this tweaking from within Windows itself.

Compared to past BIOSes, this one actually has a pretty good PC Health Status section since it has readouts for most of the critical voltages and temperatures. BIOS-based fan control has also improved, but the Smart Fan tab in EasyTune does have a little bit richer fan PWM functionality.


The System Information section displays the motherboard model name, BIOS version, allows users to set the BIOS language, and set an administrator password. The BIOS Features section is where you can select the boot device priority, enable/disable the full screen logo, select Windows 8 features and Boot Mode as well.


The Peripherals section is where you can enable or disable some of the onboard devices, like the LAN controller, the PCB LEDs, or even the rear I/O panel LEDs. However, there is surprisingly little here since similar functionality has been integrated in various other sections, like the following Chipset section.


The Chipset area houses SATA related options - such as setting devices to IDE, AHCI, or RAID mode - as well as enabling/disabling the onboard audio controller.


The Power Management section contains the power management settings linked to the power-saving sleep modes. The Save & Exit section is pretty self-evident, however you can also save or load BIOS profiles from within this area.
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Oct 24, 2007
Included Software - Easy Tune

Included Software (Easy Tune)

The most important application that Gigabyte includes with any of their motherboards is the aptly labeled EasyTune program. This is the heart and soul of their software suite and is where most users will spend most of their time.


In the last few months, Gigabyte has once again updated Easy Tune with a drastically different design, featuring simplified graphics and straightforward interface. There's also an information bar at the bottom, indicating system information and speeds. This is leaps and bounds beyond the older looking design that shipped with the X99-SLI.

Headlining the application is the Smart Boost feature which is meant to either offer overclocking or power-saving clock speed options at the click of a button. Here there are four options, each of which features a different set of presets that optimize performance one way or another. Simply click on one, apply the setting and you're off to the races.


The ECO setting simply allows the processor to run at lower than stock settings which is actually a pretty good idea for anyone that has excess system resources that only need to be used in certain instances. The Default option restores Intel's optimized defaults for any processor that's installed. Finally, the OC setting applies a minor overclock, increases the voltage by a reasonable amount to guarantee stability and applies an XMP profile to the memory.


That OC option is actually quite straightforward for novices since it is a one-click, one-size-fits-all approach that is designed for compatibility with all processors. However, the Auto Tuning option will likely be the one most flock to since it lets the software apply, and then quickly stability test any overclock. If it passes it will then increase the overclock, reboot and retest until the short stability test fails.

We still recommend extended stability testing before considering any auto overclock truly stable, but this is a great addition for any novice overclocker as it will find a very good starting point upon which to start.


Going beyond the Smart Boost section we have three additional tabs which are basically a GUI version of the X99P-SLI's BIOS screens. Here you will be able to boost frequencies, timings and voltages for both the CPU and memory without having to leave Windows.

There's even an area where CPU Loadline calibrations can be modified though several of the more exotic options are still reserved for the BIOS itself. Naturally, any settings are applied after a system overclock and should be stability tested.


The final tab is is labelled Hotkey and allows you to store and load overclocking profiles that can be loaded by the press of a key. This is particularly handy if different applications are being used, some of which benefit from higher frequencies while others don't require quite as much resources.
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Oct 24, 2007
Other Included Software

Other Included Software



As with the X99-SLI before it, GIGABYTE 's App Center is actually a launching pad for GIGABYTE’s disparate catalog of programs (or at least most of them). It is fully customizable and permanently resides in Windows’ notification area / system tray. To be blunt, for quick and painless navigation, this is still one of the better examples out there.

@BIOS, USB Blocker, FastBoot, Smart Switch, EZ Setup


If you don’t want to bother formatting a USB flash drive to FAT16/32 in order to use the Q-Flash feature in the BIOS, you can simply use the @BIOS utility to download the latest version directly from GIGABYTE's servers and flash from within Windows.


If you're building a computer that will be used in a public setting, or you simply don't trust your friends/roommates/family say hello to USB Blocker. Once you set up a password, USB Blocker will allow you to prevent certain devices from functioning when plugged into your system's USB ports. All you need to do is set a password in the utility and select which devices to block.


Fast Boot is Gigabyte's answer to the age-old problem of having to try and enter the BIOS during overclocking sessions. Much like ASUS', MSI's, and other implementations you can not only adjust the Windows Fast Boot options, but also tell the system to immediately reboot and enter the BIOS - all without having to mash any keyboard buttons.


EZ Setup gives users a simple way to quickly and easily switch between IDE, RAID and AHCI disk modes from within Windows without having to modify or re-install the OS. This however is only a small part of what it can accomplish since EZ Setup can allow for quick and painless implementation of some of Intel’s latest technologies. In addition to being able to setup and modify Smart Response Technology (a hybrid SSD+HDD setup) you can also quickly turn on Rapid Start which allows a system to go from Hibernation mode to fully usable in mere seconds.

As an added bonus Intel’s Smart Connect feature can also be controlled which can bring a system out of sleep and update your social media information (e.g. download email, refresh your Facebook page, etc.) at set intervals. While none of these options are critical or even of interest to most consumers, GIGABYTE has made implementing them painless.

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<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Motherboard/GB_X99P-SLI/sys_Viewer.gif" border="0" alt="" />

System Information Viewer shows extremely fine grain details on the state of your system with everything from CPU to memory to fan voltages covered. As an added bonus it also allows for quick configuration of any fans attached via either the four presets or total custom fan profile creation that is similar in its implementation to Asus' Fan Xpert applications.
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Oct 24, 2007
Hardware Installation

Hardware Installation

In order to test how different hardware combinations will fit onto the X99P-SLI, we installed a Noctua NH-U12S, two 8GB dual channel kits of G.Skill DDR4-3600 RipJaws V memory, and an ASUS GTX 780 video card.


The ASUS GTX 780 is a long length, dual-slot GPU it will provide a good reference for other premium video cards and highlight any spacing issues. Meanwhile the NH-U12S is a moderately sized aftermarket CPU cooler so it should provide a good reference for other coolers so we can see if there any clearance issues around the CPU socket. We installed the memory in the four sockets closest to the CPU to ensure clearance with 8 DIMMs.


Surprisingly, even though this motherboard is an ATX form-factored LGA2011v-3 the amount of space between the CPU socket area and the eight DIMMS is rather decent. In the case of the Noctua NH-U12S this means there is plenty of room to run it in dual fan configurations and still not have to worry about RAM height.

If users have their heart set on using massive coolers like the Noctua D14/D15’s of the marketplace they should expect to have to settle for standard (or near standard) height memory since their larger fin arrays will overhang the first and possible second DIMM slots on both sides of the CPU socket. This is an issue that was prevalent with all ATX LGA2011-v3 motherbaords and Gigabyte have done about as much as can be done while sticking with the ATX form-factor. For this reason, the most optimal solution is a sealed water based All In One cooling device as this removes any worries – regardless of AIO bay size – about RAM incompatibilities.


Folks who are interested in memory cooling devices should be aware they will likely run into clearance issues with any air based CPU cooling solution even thin profile ones; there won’t be enough room to properly mount both a CPU cooler and two memory coolers.

On the positive side the combination of only one low profile heatsink and above average room between the DIMMS and CPU socket means that actually installing any CPU cooler is a relatively straightforward affair.


Switching from air to water cooling proved much more uneventful as there is more than enough room between the water block and its adjacent components. Basically the same features that make this motherboard air cooling friendly make it even more water cooling friendly.


In other words, the amount of room in all of the four corners is almost optimal, so barring oversized water blocks consumers interested in water cooling their X99P-SLI rig will find it a fairly straightforward affair. This goes double for novice consumers who plan on using All In One cooling solutions – all that will be required is patience and a clear understanding on how the various parts are installed on this socket type.


Moving on, the amount of space between the CPU socket area and the primary GPU slot is a touch cramped. This is because the first – or main - PCIe x16 slot is the one closest to the CPU. This however was the only way Gigabyte could include four x16 slots without changing the motherboard’s form-factor. In either case, users will have to pay careful attention when installing the RAM and their video card as the rear set of DIMMS is awfully damn close to the video card’s PCB.


Now with all that being said, there are a few issues that will result in frustration. As with most ATX motherboards we have looked there are going to be issues with SATA devices and long video cards. Basically, if you use a long video card – or cards – with this motherboard expect to have to plug in the SATA and SATA EXPRESS Cables first. Doing otherwise will result in a lot of frustration. Specifically, if the main PCIe 3.0 x16 slot is used with a longer GPU, it will cover the rightmost SATA ports and possibly the second block of SATA ports as well if a triple slot GPU is used.

If a video card is installed in the secondary PCIe 3.0 x16 slot more SATA ports and even the SATA Express port will be partially covered. If consumers use three video cards almost all SATA ports as well as the SE port will be covered, and all ports will be covered in quad video card configurations.


On the positive side the M.2 slot that resides between the second and third PCIe x16 slots is easily accessible in single GPU configurations and only if consumers install cards in the two top most x16 slots will they have to first install their M.2 port.

Overall we consider this motherboard to be well above average in the amount of issues it presents, and is very novice friendly. Brilliant stuff.
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