Even though Intel’s Z170 chipset and socket LGA-1151 combination has gotten the lions share of attention recently, there is still a very, very good argument to go for the X99 and LGA-2011-v3 combination instead. This argument boils down to: PCIe lanes and memory channels. For consumers interested in only using one video card this difference does not matter. The same holds true for consumers not using memory intensive applications. However, PC Gaming enthusiasts are not ‘average’ in anything they do. Instead we run two 16x video cards in SLI/CrossFire and want both to be running 16x mode and not 8+8. Equally important is we work as hard as we play….and having access to four channels of DDR4 memory really does make a heck of a difference when dealing with video editing!
With this customer firmly in mind the Gigabyte GA-X99-SLI seems to be tailor made to please. On the one hand it is a LGA-2011-v3 + X99 based unit and when combined with 32GB of DDR4 RAM and a i7 5930K…..using two, three, or even four high performance video cards is downright simple.To ensure that consumers can indeed actually use two full size video cards – without water cooling- the Gigabyte GA-X99-SLI also has its main PCIe slots nicely separated from one another. Then as icing on the cake it also includes a third and fourth slot that when combined with a 40 PCIe land CPU means consumers can then use multiple NVMe Solid State Drives like the Intel 750 or even DC P3608, and do so without sacrificing performance. Mix in a robust and fully separated onboard sound solution and Gigabyte has your gaming needs covered.
However, Gigabyte is fully aware that enthusiasts don’t run their system at stock levels and instead like to overclock everything. To ensure that is indeed easily doable Gigabyte has included an extremely robust power delivery system for both the CPU and RAM; and included overclocking friendly BIOS. If all that was not enough they also include software that will automatically overclock the system for you.
It is these and many other features that Gigabyte is counting on to make their GA-X99-SLI not only justify its asking price of $250 but make choosing it as easy as can be. To be perfectly candid, on paper this all adds up to one heck of a motherboard and one that should easily make spending $250 for a motherboard seem like a great idea; however the operative word is “should” so without further ado let’s see what this motherboard really is made of.