Gigabyte's New X99-SOC Champion Only Has Four DDR4 Slots

At CES 2015, Gigabyte showed off its X99-SOC Champion motherboard, which is aimed at overclockers looking for a more budget-friendly approach than the X99-SOC Force has to offer. Just because it's more budget-friendly doesn't mean it isn't budget-oriented, though, because it still comes quite lavishly equipped, and we expect it to still cost a pretty penny. (Just a couple pretty pennies less.)

Wired to the LGA2011-3 socket are four DDR4 memory slots, along with four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots. Between these slots reside three PCI-Express x1 slots, along with a single 20 Gb/s M.2 slot that supports various sizes of M.2 SSDs. Considering it has a bandwidth of 20 Gb/s, we can assume that it is wired to four PCI-Express 2.0 lanes. For storage connectivity there are 10 SATA3 ports, two of which can be combined in order to make a SATA-Express port.

The board comes with Gigabyte's UltraDurable feature set, meaning that it is built with a tougher PCB design, all-solid capacitors, a gold-plated CPU socket, and a digital CPU power delivery circuit. This is topped off with the manufacturer's overclocking features and dedicated audio circuitry that has a built-in headphone amplifier. The entire board is also surrounded with orange accents, and all the heatsinks are connected through one long heatpipe.

Rear I/O consists of two PS/2 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, an Intel-driven Gigabit Ethernet port, the usual set of HD audio jacks, and an optical TOSLINK output.

While at the show, a Gigabyte rep told us that the X99-SOC Champion would cost somewhere between $180 and $200, although given the feature set, we reckon it will still be priced closer to $250 or $275. Still, you're not sacrificing much over the X99-SOC Force, which goes for about $350, so it's not as if it's a bad deal.

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Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • bit_user
    On Sandybridge-E Xeons, installing 2 unbuffered DIMMs per channel would cause the max memory clock speed to drop from 1600 to 1333.

    On some other Intel CPUs, installing a second set of DIMMs per channel would increase CAS by 1.

    Since learning that, I only install one DIMM per channel. So, this "deficiency" might not be so bad. It wouldn't affect me, anyway.
  • Uneventful
    A list of how this board differs from the Force mentioned in the first paragraph would be helpful, since the last paragraph makes the direct comparison on price.

    Yes I know that I can just open up the link to the other board, but a simple table or list of the differences would be a enhancement this article.