Gigabyte X99M Gaming 5 Motherboard Review
A closer look at the Gigabyte X99M-Gaming 5 Motherboard
The Gigabyte X99M Gaming 5 is as the name suggest a MicroATX form factor motherboard and measures in at 24.4cm x 24.4cm. The black PCB and white lettering make it easy to identify components on the motherboard such as headers and switches.
Intel has very strict requirements for the area around the CPU and not only on the X99 motherboards; the same is true on any of their sockets. You can see here that unlike full size or extended ATX motherboards, there are only four memory slots on this board. In order to keep within the mATX size limits, Gigabyte had to lose the other four slots.
CPU power is handled by a single 8-pin connector located just above the top most heatsink on the motherboard. This single 8-pin connector should be able to supply all the power that is needed in order to get your system up and running.
For expansion slots, the x99m-Gaming 5 motherboard features two x16 PCIe slots and one x8 PCIe slot. If you are using any other CPU except for the Intel i7-5820K the slots will run at x16, x16, x8. For users with the Intel i7-5820K the slot breakdown is 16x, 8x, and 4x. A single x1 PCIe slot is between the two x16 PCIe expansion slots. Also nestled in between the top two PCIe slot are the M.2 connectors. The bottom most connector supports M.2 SSDs and utilizes two PCIe (x2) lanes, whereas the top connector is designed for M.2 add in cards such as a wireless adapter.
The Gigabyte X99m-Gaming 5 features ten SATA 3 connectors and one SATA Express connection. While all ten are controlled by the Intel PCH, there is a little bit of a trick involving the M.2 slot and the SATA Express. If either an M.2 drive or a SATA Express drive is installed, the SATA 4/5 connectors will become unavailable. Like wise for the SATA Express socket and the M.2, if either are populated, the other will not be available. This happens to be the right most bottom two SATA ports. The motherboard supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10 and RAID 5
The PCH is passively cooled via a large heatsink connected via a black chrome heatpipe to the main heatsinks that surround the CPU socket.
Headers on the motherboard include two USB 2.o and two USB 3.0 headers. At the far ends of the motherboard is the front panel audio header and the front panel switch header.
The back panel I/O features two PS/2 ports, six USB 2.0 ports four of which are designated as DAC-UP, and are yellow in color. According to Gigabyte the DAC-UP USB ports pull power from their own dedicated power source on the motherboard which delivers cleaner power to the ports and reduces fluctuations. Four USB 3.0 ports are on the back panel as well as the wired networking RJ-45 port and gold plated audio port with a digital-optical port. The last two holes in the I/O shield are meant to be used with a mPCI wireless card and the holes are for the antennae.