Gigabyte G1 Gaming X99 Ultra Gaming Review
It's surprising how fast things change in the global market. Motherboards have been alternating between incredibly expensive and ridiculously cheap as generations evolve. No sooner had we got used to the idea of a great motherboard costing around £200 instead of £400, out come the latest generation of X99 offerings where even the middle of the range models are the thick end of three hundred notes.
Gigabyte have bucked the trend by releasing the G1.Gaming X99 Ultra Gaming at £250. Yet, despite this affordable price tag, we're struggling to spot where they are saving the money.
Obviously the X99 chipset has plenty of features built in, and the UG makes great use of all of them. Whether it's the bevy of USB ports, including 3.1 of course, or the U.2 and M.2 sockets for those 2GB/s SSDs, there is plenty of bandwidth to go around even the most demanding of storage solutions. There isn't a compromise in network connectivity either. The G1.Gaming X99 Ultra Gaming is supplied with two Gigabit LAN ports as well as dual-antenna WiFi. The multiple PCI Express 3.0 slots ensure those of you who want to stuff your system full of graphics cards will be able to run them at full speed too.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the looks of the Ultra Gaming. It wasn't that long ago that most whites on motherboards tended to the grey or even yellow end of the spectrum, but the Ultra Gaming is such a bright white that you would be forgiven for thinking someone had washed some snow in Persil. It stands out beautifully against the black PCB and really draws in your eye. The addition of a crisp font in red only emphasises the clarity of the white and leaves the G1.Gaming X99 looking spectacular. If we had any issue at all it is that the RGB lighting, de rigueur on modern motherboards, is somewhat unnecessary. This is a motherboard just aching to have the white and red colours utilised as the main theme of your system, and any other colours would only spoil the effect.
Performance is damn good too. We've handled so many X99 motherboards of late that had huge problems with various RAM kits we had available that we must praise the Ultra Gaming for working perfectly with every single DDR4 kit that we put our hands on. In fact we spent ages digging around for older kits just because of the glee we had that the Gigabyte just shrugged its shoulders and ran them all and most at rated speeds. Wonderful, and rarer than it ought to be. Beyond that the newly minted Gigabyte BIOS looks very nice and is a big improvement upon their older design. Everything is clearly laid out and well labelled, so you can get your overclock up and running with the minimum of fuss. Once you do the X99 Ultra Gaming really comes alive. Although neither at stock nor overclocked was it topping many of our graphs, equally the actual performance numbers weren't far behind some much pricier offerings.
With fantastic looks, wonderfully easy to use BIOS with excellent memory compatibility, good overclocking performance and plentiful features at a very affordable price the Gigabyte G1.Gaming X99 Ultra Gaming wins our OC3D Execption Aesthetics Award. It's great to see Gigabyte back in the mix after a slightly dodgy patch.