With Intel’s X99 chipset now home to their new Haswell-E processors compatible with DDR4 memory, their partners are trying to figure out exactly how much they can chip off to make the boards physically smaller. As it happens, they’ve been able to chop out quite a bit and now it’s Gigabyte’s turn. Behold, the adorable X99M Gaming 5 motherboard, shrunken down to the mATX form factor! Ain’t it cute?
The trouble with making Intel’s HEDT platform fit into smaller form factors is that there’s a lot of hardware that needs to be there for the thing to actually work. There needs to be four DDR4 DIMM slots at the least, they have to be on opposite sides of the processor and there’s a lot of other functionality that needs to be provided as a baseline. In Gigabyte’s case, everything is bunched up closer together and shrunk down, but they managed to fit a lot of stuff in there.
Just looking over the board we can see four front-panel USB 3.0 connectors and six SATA3 ports, compatible with RAID setups up to and including RAID 10. Additionally there are two rotated SATA Express connectors that can also double as an additional four SATA3 ports.
Also standard is the Qualcomm Killer E2200 network card, support for two M.2 devices (one for storage, the other for WiFi), Gigabyte’s AMP-UP audio chip powered by Realtek’s ALC1150 codec, support for installing WiFi antennae to the motherboard directly and two PCI-Express 3.0 16x connectors for Crossfire or SLI. There is also a third PCI-Express 3.0 slot running with eight lanes enabled, but you’re only going to be making use of it if all your graphics cards have single-slot coolers.
As far as overclocking is concerned it can be done, but it looks like Gigabyte only had room for six power phases, so you won’t be pushing this board too far. Its more concerned with barebones functionality than allowing for outright speed. On the rear motherboard I/O there are four yellow-coloured USB 3.0 ports that provide extra power to charge devices as well as another four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0, optical out with 7:1 surround sound for analog connections and, rather oddly, PS/2 ports for the mouse and keyboard. If you want to go old-school, you still can do it in style.
Gigabyte hasn’t announced a launch date or price just yet, but competing boards from ASRock and EVGA are selling below $250. If this ever comes to local shores, expect to pay in the region of R3500 to pick one of these up along with Intel’s bargain Core i7-5820K (R5000) and 16GB of DDR4 (R2500) memory.
Source: Tech Report