Now that we’ve seen what the motherboard is like in the flesh and what it can do when it is compared against some fierce competition; just how well did it do, and, is it one that you should be looking at when you’re piecing together an X99 based game annihilator?
From a performance standpoint, I cannot fault the motherboard one bit. It is a sub £225 ($390) motherboard but it performs like almost no other that we have tested. I will grant you a valid point and state that we have not had the chance to test as many as we would have liked, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. It’s unfortunate, but it is the way it worked out. Either way, this motherboard performed at the highest peaks of our charts, for the most part, which coupled with its (in my mind) great black, grey and red theme, makes it a sure fire winner. I’m a big fan of the X99 Champion, but I couldn’t get my grubby mitts on one of those, sadly. I think that would have been a great comparison as they are in similar price points, but one is very clearly orientated towards gamers and the other more so towards (extreme) overclockers.
While the Gaming 5P boasts about its ability to apply up to 3200 MHz from XMP profiles, I had some difficulties getting them to work properly without manually adjusting the vSA (System Agent, or the memory controller in other words) manually. It may just have been a misfortune with the CPU that we borrowed as it may have not been strong enough for our memory profile(s), or it may have been a motherboard/BIOS issue. I wouldn’t like to say it was this or it was that, as there’s no definitive proof that what was to blame for the failure. My personal reckoning is that the motherboard did a splendid job, but the CPU wasn’t up for the task. No big deal, that’s where my overclocking knowledge comes into play.
It seems that anyone and everyone have begun to isolate their sound card region of their motherboards and that they are all using LEDs to light it up in some spectacular fashion. The Gaming 5P is no exception, and in fact, GIGABYTE offers something called Ambient Lighting which means you can adjust various aspects of it to suit your personal preferences. If you want to see what can be done, there’s a great video which was created by GIGABYTE that can demonstrate its abilities. Is it just a gimmick or a faze that PC gaming is going through? Perhaps it is, but for now, you’re probably best off embracing it as it looks like it is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Besides, more customisation can never be a bad thing.
As I mentioned in the introduction and overview of the Gaming 5P, it is a bit of a surprise that the PCI-E M.2 slot isn’t linked to some of the CPU PCI-E lanes as they are up to 3.2x faster than the lanes which are provided by the PCH. The port is sadly limited to 10 Gbps (which means your Samsung SM951 would be severely limited) rather than the potential 20 Gbps or even the full 32 Gbps that could have been attained via the CPU lanes. It’s perhaps due to the way that the graphics cards are wired to the CPUs, but it is something that would have been great to see at full speed rather than a slower slot.
I for one cannot fault the motherboard design from both an aesthetic standpoint as well as a layout perspective. The PCI-E lanes are spaced in such a way that you can fit four dual slot cards in without an issue, whilst still granting you full access to the other features around that area of the motherboard. However, given that slight downfall of the motherboard, it is time to round up my collective thoughts and potentially give this motherboard some awards!
As you most likely know all too well, we grade the motherboard (and any product for that matter) on three key aspects: performance, design and value. At a shade under £224, it is not the cheapest motherboard on the market, but it does provide a lot of bang for buck with the features that it brings to the table. From a design standpoint, it is a great layout and it also sports a nice (to me) blend of colours. Whilst the colour isn’t to everyone’s liking, it is all down to personal preference at the end of the day which makes it difficult to grade, but it is ultimately my choice as the editor; so you may not agree, but there you have it! Compiling everything into a few shiny awards would bring us to our final conclusion, that would grant the GIGABYTE X99 Gaming 5P the Performance and Value awards. Even though it is a clever design which allows you to use your GPUs in a higher bandwidth range than others, the 10 Gbps M.2 port just adds a slight fault to the products design which means it’ll be rated at 4.5/5.