Two motherboard manufacturers have been actively revealing their next generation X99 motherboards one by one. Aside from the Gigabyte X99 Gaming G1 WIFI motherboard that is geared towards hardcore gamers, Gigabyte has also recently revealed their X99 motherboard that is geared towards the overclocking enthusiasts – the Gigabyte X99 SOC Force (GA-X99-SOC Force) motherboard. The Gigabyte X99 SOC Force looks very familiar and resembles an upgraded or “X99-ed” version of the GA-Z97X-SOC Force. I’ll discuss some of its features and specifications below based on my visual observations.
Meet the Gigabyte X99 SOC Force Motherboard
The Gigabyte X99 SOC Force features an LGA 2011-3 socket that will support the upcoming Intel Haswell-E processors like the Intel Core i7-5960X, Core i7-5930K and Core i7-5820K. Like all X99 motherboards, it has a total of 8x DDR4 DIMM slots supporting quad channel memory. Expect also that this motherboard will have a better overclocking capability compared to Gigabyte’s other X99 motherboards. The X99 SOC Force looks like it features an 8 phase power design, although I could not clearly see it and I might be wrong.
The Gigabyte X99 SOC Force also features the OC Touch buttons that we saw on the Z97X SOC Force. The OC Touch buttons include a Power button, CPU Ratio and BCLK +/- buttons, OC Ignition, OC Tag, OC Gear, OC Switch, Restart button, Memory Safe, Direct to BIOS, Single BIOS Mode Switch, Clear CMOS, Onboard voltage measure module or check points, Dual BIOS switch and an 80 port Debug Display. Of course Gigabyte might change some of its buttons during the final product. What I am not sure of is if the X99 SOC Force will feature an LN2 switch since this type of system are geared towards extreme users already. Perhaps there is an LN2 switch and I just overlooked it.
I can’t also see what’s on the rear I/O panel, but I’m pretty sure you’ll see the usual suspects like USB 3.0 ports, LAN ports, Video out ports, and audio ports. On the lower portion of the Gigabyte X99 SOC Force, you’ll see the AMP UP audio processor surrounded by Japanese branded Nichicon audio capacitors, something that is not present in the Z97X SOC Force. There’s also a LED path that separates the audio components from the rest of the motherboards. If this is the same audio core found in the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GT I previously reviewed, expect that audio quality will not disappoint you.
The Gigabyte GA-X99 SOC Force also features 4x PCIE x16 slots supporting AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI multiple graphics card configuration. There are also 3x PCIE x1 slots for expansion cards. You can also see an M.2 PCIE port for NGFF PCIE SSDs, supporting speeds of up to 20Gb/s, between the 2nd and 3rd PCIE X16 slots. The motherboard also supports Intel Gigabyte LAN, DualBIOS and Gigabyte’s UEFI BIOS interface.
On the lower right portion of the motherboard we can see an angled SATA power connector which will provide more power and stability when installing multiple graphics cards. There are 7x SATA III 6Gbps ports and 1 SATA Express port, or 9x SATA III 6Gbps ports when the SATA Express port is not in use. However, I’m not sure if you can use both the M.2 and SATA Express port at the same time. There are motherboards where you can only use either one of them at the same time.
As expected from Gigabyte’s Overclocking motherboards, there’s not much to see on the motherboard itself, unlike with their Gaming series. These GA-X99 SOC Force is designed to do one thing only, (well aside from the fact that you can use it as a regular system), and that’s to test and overclock the other major components like the CPU, Memory and Graphics Processor, and do some world breaking record along the way.
The only thing that Gigabyte hasn’t revealed yet is their Ultra Durable X99 motherboard. Perhaps they will be revealing it next week since they seem to tease us with something new once a week.