GIGABYTE X99-SOC Champion Motherboard Review
Overclocking and Conclusion
To give a feel for the overclocking performance potential of the X99-SOC Champion motherboard, we attempted to push it to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. We were able to get the board stable at a 125MHz base clock with a 4.5GHz CPU speed and a 3340MHz memory speed, using the Corsair Domination Platinum DDR4-3400 kit. The board would not stabilize with CPU set to anything over 3GHz clock speeds when running the memory at the rated 3400MHz speeds (requiring a 127.5MHz base clock). The one wrinkle with running the memory this fast was the need for a System Agent voltage setting of +0.45V (within specs according to both GIGABYTE and Corsair engineers). System stability was tested running the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with EVGA's OC Scanner X graphical benchmark running at 1280x1024 resolution and 8x MSAA in stress test mode. Note that 16GB (4 x 8GB) of Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4-3400 memory modules were used for the overclocking tests.
Note that this is is meant only as a quick preview of the board's performance potential. With more time to tweak the settings to a greater extent, pushing to a higher base clock and ring bus speed may have been achievable, in addition to an overnight stability run without issue.
The GIGABYTE X99-SOC Champion board performed well within expectations at stock and overclock speed settings. The engineering and design effort that GIGABYTE poured into this board shine through, making this board one of the fastest we've had the privilege of testing.
If there's one word I can use to describe the GIGABYTE X99-SOC Champion board, its "Fast". GIGABYTE used their design and engineering prowess, coming up with a board design meant to surpass anything currently on the marker. Corsair was so impressed with the board that they worked with GIGABYTE in developing a Dominator Platinum DDR4-2400 kit specially optimized for use with the X99-SOC Champion in overclocking endeavors. That is not to say that GIGABYTE sacrificed board features or stability for the sake of raw speed. The board maintains the stability expectations we've come to expect from GIGABYTE, but definitely has a cut down feature set (in comparison to other higher priced offerings). The mantra that seems to apply is it has everything you need to run, but nothing you don't. In keeping the feature set to the minimal side, GIGABYTE was able to introduce optimizations into the board's design enabling it to run faster yet maintain stability. This includes their inclusion of only four total DDR4 DIMM slots on the board, placed closer in proximity to the CPU socket. Additionally, GIGABYTE used optimized memory trace paths to further ensure memory performance and stability under the most grueling conditions. As far as aesthetics, the board is a nice looking product (even though orange is not my thing). They even included a nice customizable lighting feature for the audio PCB separator line for that extra level of bling.
The one challenge with this board is in the overclocking. Not that it is hard to overclock by any means, but the sheer amount of integrate board settings and specialized BIOS options can throw you for a loop. This board was most definitely meant for the more advanced enthusiasts, especially when paired with the specialized Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4-3400 memory kit.
- Stock performance
- Overclocking performance
- Board aesthetics
- Audio PCB lighting customization
- Board cooling and heat pipe design / layout
- CPU socket layout and spacing
- UEFI BIOS design and usability
- CMOS battery placement
- Performance of Intel GigE NICs
- Complexities inherent in dialing in extreme overclocking, especially with memory speeds over 3200MHz