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.