Gigabyte is one of the leading motherboard vendors with a large X99 range including the X99-Gaming-5P, X99-UD4P and more. The 2011-3 platform is designed for professionals requiring additional multi-threaded processing power in complex workloads. Intel’s mainstream Z170 chipset only supports up to 4-core, 8-thread CPUs. While the current X99 platform is older than Skylake, current offerings such as the 5820K and 5960X are better options when working with large video editing projects or heavy rendering tasks. Of course, Intel is poised to launch their brand new X99 based processors, codenamed “Broadwell-E” relatively soon. Vendors including MSI and ASRock have already released widespread BIOS updates to allow the current models to support Broadwell-E CPUs.
Today, Gigabyte unveiled a brand new motherboard, entitled the X99P-SLI. This particular product supports Broadwell-E out-of-the-box and utilizes the ATX form factor. More importantly, it’s the world’s first X99 motherboard with Thunderbolt 3 certification. This connector is currently the fastest connectivity protocol offering speeds up to 40 Gb/s, twice that of the previous generation. In practical terms, Thunderbolt allows you connect discrete GPU boxes, external quad M.2 devices or U.2 expansion drives. X99-based CPUs don’t have an iGPU which means you have to use a discrete graphics card to utilize the Thunderbolt controller. Thankfully, an included cable connects between an integrated DisplayPort connector and monitor with Type-C functionality. This allows you to daisy-chain up to 6 devices via Thunderbolt 3 and offers unparalleled flexibility.
As you might expect, the motherboard supports up to 128GB DDR4 memory, 4-way SLI and 4-way CrossfireX. The expansion slots include two PCI-E x16 running at x16, two PCI-E running at x8, and two PCI-E x1 slots. The Realtek ALC1151 115dB SNR HD audio is a great addition as many X99 motherboards ignore gaming focussed features. The motherboard deploys an all digital power design with IR digital PWM & IR PowIRstage ICs, premium 10k black capacitors and audio noise isolation.