GIGABYTE announce the release of their record-taking, top-score smashing mainboard based on the X99 chipset to be paired with the latest Core i7 CPUs (haswell-E) Intel CPUs.
The platform feature the brand new DDR4 use and definetly the race for speed and overclocking capabilities is already going on, despite some controversy regarding validation requirement !
Along with the X99 SOC Force mainboard and the other variations of the platform, the X99 SOC Champion is aimed at the Overclocker and will follow the step of the Z97 SOC Force LN2 that was highly expected and used for memory record and top scores.
The formula 1 theme is still on the branding scheme for the box, while it is black tinted now and lost the GOOC logo that was on previous boxes dropping any chance of keeping the rumor about a potential GOOC competition alive.
Bundle feature SLI bridges for SLI, Tri-SLI and Quad SLI the IO Panel cover and few SATA Cables.
The X99 SOC Champion Motherboard
The GIGABYTE X99 SOC Champion feature 4 slots for DDR4, optimized in a way to reach high frequencies and lower latencies, as most competitive benchmarks don’t need much RAM, and the Overclocking of CPU/RAM with more than 4 sticks is tricky.
This board is featuring 4 PCI-Express lanes two at x16 and 2 extras at x8 the usual power plug you could find on the X99 SOC Force liek the ATX, CPU Power and extra PCI-E power plugs. Sporting 4 SATA-6G connector + 2 extras and the SATA express port that could also be used as SATA and also an M.2 port for onboard SSDs.
The interesting features
Because we all want to know what’s special about it… Here you go step by step :
The OC Panel control
On the top right of the X99 SOC Champion you will find button for power, reset, Clear CMOS, measuring points for Memory (DIMM_A, DIMM_B, DDRVTT_A, DDRVTT_B), VPP25_A and B, VSA, VRING and of course, VCore. If you look on the left side of the ATX connector you can also see 3 other measurement point for PCHVRM, PCH V and the VRIN.
The Memory slots
The memory slots are SMD mounted, that mean there is no pin going throught the PCB, while this will help on high frequency memory it also help on the insulation process. The memory slots are also closer from the CPU socket and the traces lane have been optimized.
The Special socket
The GIGABYTE X99 SOC Champion is also featuring a special onboard switch called the SOCKET switch, allowing you to use either the official LGA2011-3 socket or the now-famous LGA2083.There has been controversy on the usage of non-compliant Socket for LGA 2011-3 motherboard. The regular socket feature 2011 pins and is the socket found on the retail market board, there is also a second socket available on the market under different names featuring 2083 pins.
Theses extra pins are supposed to allow undisclosed features on the Intel Haswell-E CPUs mostly the effects we saw are to provide better power delivery to the CPU as well as some extra memory settings. To read more about the special Socket and what it does you can read Der8auer article on reverse engineering the socket.
The mysterious OC_PAN connector
From the first batch of pictures our attention got into a plug on the bottom of the X99 SOC Champion mainboard dubbed OC_PAN. This 9 pin plug will let people involved at GIGABYTE silent when questions are being asked.
But here is what we could say : This plug is different from the USB plug usually found on the mainboard, it is also different from the plug you can see on the G-POWER Boards.
This is definitely a new device that will be available… in the future. We do expect GIGABYTE to release something that is both a device that can be autonomous to control the board, as well as something you could plug via USB like they did with the G-Power controller.
For more informations about the Haswell-E CPUs, Anandtech have a good article about the Core i7 5960X, 5930K and 5820K