Packaging & Accessories: 4 out of 5
For a value orientated motherboard Gigabyte has gone all out on the included accessories and the only way they could have made it even better is if they had included a PCIe wireless Ethernet card…or a USB 3.1 daughter card. Given the fact either of these would have increased the asking price we can understand why Gigabyte has opted for neither with this board.
Layout & Aesthetics: 14 out of 15
This board is extremely well laid out and extremely easy to work with. Quite honestly we have used many E-ATX motherboards that were not as good as the X99-SLI in this department. The aesthetics on the other hand are not terrible, but rather are classic Gigabyte. This means it is a touch too busy for our tastes. You may disagree (as taste & style are extremely subjective) and as such we have only deducted one point.
Build Quality & Warranty: 17 out of 20
This motherboard may only come with a three year warranty – which is a touch short compared to some in this X99 class – but this board is robust and well thought out. To us the latter is just as important as the former. After all having a great board that simply can’t be used to its fullest potential is not how you make an enthusiast grade mobo.
BIOS & Software: 18 out of 20
The combination of easy and advanced modes to the BIOS is a winning one, and so too is the included software both easy to use and advanced.
Special Features: 18 out of 20
Excellent onboard sound, extremely good NIC, excellent PCIe layout. These are all features that help make this board special. The only missing feature is a USB 3.1 and as such we have to deduct two points for its absence.
Value: 18 out of 20
This motherboard is a great value and that truly is a breath of fresh air as this section of the marketplace is almost bereft of good value options.
Final Score: 89 out of 100
On the surface, using the phrase ‘great value’ and ‘$250’ in the same sentence may seem counter-intuitive; however LGA-2011 v3 motherboards and CPUs are usually bloody expensive! To step up to this class consumers are usually looking at a $350 to $400 investment just for the board and yet for $100 less this enthusiasts can get one heck of a board. Great overclocking potential, great included features, great layout – this board has it all. The only thing that is missing is USB 3.1 support and that is not that big a deal considering you get quad SLI abilities.
Gigabyte has been designing and making ‘Ultra Durable’ (and Champion) motherboards for many, many years now. In that time they have tweaked, fine-tuned and generally perfected their formula. This formula boils down to knowing what a given consumer base needs, wants, and<desires…and giving it to them at a price that is very enticing. In the case of the X99-SLI that means offering a motherboard that is so full of features at such a good price that even hardcore fanbois of other brands have to sit up and take notice.
We personally have been building 2011-v3 based systems since before Intel officially launched them and the X99-SLI easily stacks up there in the top 10% overall and easily top 2% in value. No matter where you look this board is rather impressive. Its combination of easy to navigate – and sensibly laid out- BIOS, backstopped by a robust power delivery subsystem makes for a very enjoyable overclocking experience for consumers on a budget. Equally impressive is for consumers not interested in manual overclocking the included software will also scratch that itch nicely.
For gaming enthusiasts who are interested in multi-video card configurations…the name says it all. Thanks to a very, very sensible layout to the PCIe slots gaming enthusiasts can not only do the typical SLI configurations but easily get tri-SLI going without any problems. More impressive still is you can actually go QUAD-SLI with this ATX motherboard. Usually to get that level of overkill consumers need to go E-ATX, but this board has it – and it works nicely. Of course the same applies to AMD users and this board is just as friendly towards Team Red as it is Team Green. The only downside is that triple (or even 2.5x) slot video cards will not fit as the four PCIe x16 slots are only separated by one PCIe x1 slot ‘spacer’. In the grand scheme of things this is not that big a deal as is a direct limitation of the ATX form-factor that Gigabyte wisely went for.
If all this was not enough the GA-X99-SLI also comes with a very, very good integrated sound solution. Gigabyte has not only electronically separated the ‘sound card’ portion of the motherboard from the rest, but also used an EMI shield cap for the Realtek ALC1150 codec. This in conjunction with high quality Japanese caps makes for a very potent combination.
Honestly the only thing not included is USB 3.1 support but considering USB 3.1 is a good year or three away from being truly useful this ‘oversight’ is not that large of a concern. In the end the GA-X99-SLI easily justifies its asking price of $250, and certainly will provide years and years of enjoyment for enthusiasts and mainstream consumers alike.