Gigabyte X99-UD4P Haswell-E Motherboard

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The X99-UD4P is an E-ATX motherboard, which means it's slightly wider than an ATX model, but the layout is very similar. The board is fairly busy though due to the cooling system and all the expansion options available including an impressive number of storage, memory, and PCI-E slots.

The X99-UD4P is equipped with an 8-phase voltage regulation system. It's cooled by a rather small VRM heatsink connected via heatpipe to the chipset heatsink.

Popping off the socket protector, a bent pin was discovered which is very unusual as the sample should have been shipped straight from the factory. In any event, it was carefully straightened to no apparent ill effect. The pins on a second sample we received was immaculate.

The SATA port configuration is somewhat confusing. They're all 6 Gbps connectors but the four black ports pictured on the left are designated as "sSATA" ports meaning they don't support RAID functionality. SATA Express uses the three bottom connectors of the grey block and it shares bandwidth with the M.2 SSD slot so you can use one or the other. Utilizing either leaves eight regular SATA connectors available, only half of which are RAID-capable.

The board uses the Realtek ALC1150 audio codec capable of delivering a 115 dB signal-to-noise ratio. It provides 7.1 sound and a separate simultaneous 2.0 output via the front panel. A built-in amplifier is hooked up to the rear ports and the left and right audio channels are built on different PCB layers to limit crosstalk.

Back panel ports: 2 x PS/2, 4 x USB 2.0, 4 x USB 3.0 (Renasas controller), 2 x USB 3.0 (native Intel controller), RJ45 (Intel gigabit NIC), analog audio, and S/PDIF. The white USB 3.0 port supports Gigabyte's Q-Flash Plus feature which allows the BIOS to be updated automatically using a USB thumb drive even if the system will not boot or the CPU/memory are not installed. At the far end are cutouts for optional wireless antennae.

Lighting is featured heavily on the X99-UD4P. The chipset heatsink glows orange, and a trace near the audio circuitry shines yellow. Using software, the latter can be set to pulse slowly on and off or flash in reaction to the sound output.

The included I/O shield has a small 2-pin cable used to light up another set of LEDs. The symbol for each port is illuminated in purple against a blue back drop. All of the lighting effects can be disabled, both in the BIOS, and via software, for a more low-key experience.

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