On Board Peripherals

The Intel X99 chipset is a single-chip solution, which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip supports ten SATA-600 ports (there are no SATA-300 ports), supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5).

The Gigabyte X99-UD3 offers those ten SATA-600 ports (two of them shared with one of the M.2 slots). All SATA ports are located at the motherboard’s edge and rotated 90 degrees, so that video cards will not block them. Two SATA-600 ports may be used as one SATA Express connector.

Gigabyte X99-UD3Figure 5: SATA-600 ports

The Intel X99 chipset supports eight USB 2.0 ports and six USB 3.0 ports, and the Gigabyte X99-UD3 offers all of them. Of the eight USB 2.0 ports, four are soldered on the rear panel and four are available through two headers located on the motherboard. There are eight USB 3.0 ports, six soldered on the motherboard rear panel and two available through a header on the motherboard. Four of them (two on the rear panel, and two available through a header) are connected directly to the chipset, while the other four (located on the rear panel) are connected to two USB 3.0 ports from the chipset by way of one Renesas μPD720210 hub chip.

The Gigabyte X99-UD3 does not support FireWire or Thunderbolt ports. (There is a header labeled “TB_HEADER” to route digital audio to an optional Thunderbolt expansion card from Gigabyte.)

This motherboard supports 7.1+2 audio format, i.e., eight channels plus two independent channels for audio streaming. On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using the Realtek ALC1150 codec, which is an excellent audio codec, providing 115 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, with 24-bit resolution. These specifications are good even for the user who wants to work professionally capturing and editing analog audio (e.g., converting LPs to CDs or MP3, converting VHS to DVDs or any other digital format, etc.).

The analog audio outputs are independent and the motherboard also comes with an on-board optical SPDIF output. It also has a header labeled “SPDIF_O”, where you can install an adapter to have a coaxial SPDIF output or to connect a cable to older video cards that required a physical connection to have audio on their HDMI outputs.

The analog audio outputs are independent only if you use a 5.1 analog speaker set. If you install a 7.1 analog speaker set, you will need to use the “line in” jack. The audio codec is protected from interference with a metallic shield.

The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by an Intel i218V chip.

In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel, with PS/2 connectors for keyboard and mouse, four USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports (the white one supports the Q-Flash feature, which allows a BIOS update from a flash drive even without memory or CPU installed), a Gigabit Ethernet port, one optical SPDIF output, the analog audio jacks, and a metallic frame for installing two Wi-Fi antennas.

Gigabyte X99-UD3Figure 6: motherboard rear panel

Figure 7 shows the accessories that come with the X99-UD3.

Gigabyte X99-UD3Figure 7: accessories


Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master’s degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.