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Spotted: Gigabyte's X99 SOC Force Haswell-E Motherboard

By - Source: Expreview | B 6 comments

This is Gigabyte's X99 overclocking motherboard.

We already saw Gigabyte’s X99 Gaming G1 WiFi motherboard, and now the company is showing off its X99-SOC Force. Being an SOC motherboard, this thing is built for heavy overclocking.

There are eight total DDR4 memory slots for quad-channel memory configurations, with four positioned on either side of the LGA2011-3 socket. PCI-Express expansion is covered by four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots and three PCI-Express 1x slots, and there are six SATA3 (6Gb/s) ports along with two SATA-Express interfaces, which if unused present you with another four SATA3 (6Gb/s) ports.

As far as our eyes can tell there is a single USB 3.0 header on board, so we’re guessing that there will be eight ports on the rear I/O. Between two of the PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots there's a single M.2 interface, which is rated at 20 Gb/s – twice what you'll find on most boards. Gigabyte likely accomplished this by using four PCI-Express Gen 2.0 lanes. Also present is Gigabyte’s AMP-Up technology, which is essentially dedicated audio hardware.

With regard to overclocking, we can see a number of onboard switches next to the right DDR4 memory slots. There is no indication and we can't be sure, but given that this is an SOC-series motherboard, we expect it to also have LN2 support.

Hopefully we’ll know more around mid-September, when we expect the X99 motherboards, as well as Haswell-E processors to debut. Stay tuned for more.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • -2 Hide
    dgingeri , August 13, 2014 8:29 AM
    The layout reminds me a lot of my old X79-UP4, which is NOT a good thing.
  • 5 Hide
    dstarr3 , August 13, 2014 8:33 AM
    IT HAS A RACECAR ON IT I WANT BUY NOW $$$$$$$$$$
  • 4 Hide
    WithoutWeakness , August 13, 2014 9:32 AM
    Quote:
    The layout reminds me a lot of my old X79-UP4, which is NOT a good thing.

    Just because I'm curious: what don't you like about the layout? Your comment has me looking at the board for issues and I don't see Gigabyte committing any cardinal sins with the layout. The only oddity I see is the USB 3.0 header along the bottom edge of the board rather than the right side near the 24-pin connector but that's not really the end of the world.
  • Add your comment Display all 6 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , August 13, 2014 9:56 AM
    I like how the X-series boards have mounts for the CPU coolers built in. Every motherboard should have these. Backplates are fine since they provide similar functionality, but wouldn't even be necessary if every motherboard had these mounts. The push-through types of coolers (ie stock) remind me of the 1990s; yeah... work it from opposite corners and keep pushing until you hear/see it catch (or your motherboard cracks).

    Does it cost that much money to simply put the mounts on the motherboard? Anyhow, I like that feature of any X79 or X99 boards.
  • -1 Hide
    dgingeri , August 13, 2014 10:31 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    The layout reminds me a lot of my old X79-UP4, which is NOT a good thing.

    Just because I'm curious: what don't you like about the layout? Your comment has me looking at the board for issues and I don't see Gigabyte committing any cardinal sins with the layout. The only oddity I see is the USB 3.0 header along the bottom edge of the board rather than the right side near the 24-pin connector but that's not really the end of the world.


    I liked the layout, which is why I bought the X79-UP4, but the board itself was a nightmare. There were two straight versions of the bios that had various issues that made them unworkable. F3 and the latest F7 work, but F4 and F5 were horrible. They didn't even bother to officially release F6 because the beta had so many issues. On top of all that, it died after 8 months, slowly cutting off power to various subcomponents. First, the USB 3 ports went out, then the USB 2 ports, then the audio, and finally the PCIe x1 slots before I finally realized what was behind what all was going wrong. Being reminded of all the nightmares from that board is what I meant by "NOT a good thing."

    After a horrible attempt at "upgrading" to a 4790K, I finally got a Asus X79 Sabretooth to go back to my 3930k, and everything is running better than ever. The Sabretooth even overclocks the 3930k even better than the UP4 ever did. I'm getting 4.5GHz out of it now.
  • -1 Hide
    dgingeri , August 13, 2014 10:38 AM
    Quote:
    I like how the X-series boards have mounts for the CPU coolers built in. Every motherboard should have these. Backplates are fine since they provide similar functionality, but wouldn't even be necessary if every motherboard had these mounts. The push-through types of coolers (ie stock) remind me of the 1990s; yeah... work it from opposite corners and keep pushing until you hear/see it catch (or your motherboard cracks).

    Does it cost that much money to simply put the mounts on the motherboard? Anyhow, I like that feature of any X79 or X99 boards.


    Well, as far as costs go, many motherboard manufacturers go with RealTek NICs to embed on their board instead of the Intel NICs, yet the Intel NICs cost only $1.72, and don't use a PCIe lane because they use a dedicated interface from the chipset, so they're easier to design into the board. They do this to save less than a buck per board. This shows how much they care about quality and functionality over cost. So, the extra ~$2-3 for a socket with an integrated mount for coolers is probably something Intel takes into account for the board makers when designing their sockets for mainstream systems.

    In this case, socket 2011 for x79, and the new socket 2011-3 for the X99 boards, are originally designed around server use, so they go for the stability and functionality over the cost. Server platforms have other considerations over cost, so they do things better. It just so happens some of that leaks through to the high end desktop market because of this.
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