Gigabyte took out the better part of a floor of Taipei 101 to show off its motherboards, graphics cards, server hardware, notebooks, and more this year. Since Broadwell-E just broke onto the CPU scene, it's no surprise that the company had a ton of refreshed X99 boards to show off.
The X99-Designare EX is Gigabyte's new flagship X99 board in the Ultra Durable series. This beastly board's most notable feature is a PLX chip that drives its three main PCIe slots. This chip runs a full 16 lanes of PCIe Gen3 connectivity to each of those slots, letting builders who want to team up three graphics cards in SLI be sure that they won't be constrained by bandwidth. I seem to recall that Thunderbolt 3 support is in the works for this board, but it wasn't certified by the time of the show. This board also has twin U.2 connectors for Intel's 750 Series SSDs (or other compatible drives, if you can find them), plus Gigabyte's refreshed Easy Mode firmware UI. Go check out the Designare EX's product page for all the details.
The X99-Phoenix SLI hails from Gigabyte's gaming motherboard lineup, and it offers built-in Wi-Fi, RGB LED lighting over much of its surface (check those fancy DIMM-slot LED diffusers), and LED headers for the increasingly-popular LED strips that all the kids seem to be putting in their cases these days. Like the Designare EX above, this board gets a refreshed firmware UI, and it has one U.2 port for compatible SSDs. Really, though, go check out its product page for all the details.
The X99-Ultra Gaming looks a lot like the Phoenix SLI, but it ditches that board's orange finish and onboard wireless card for a primarily red color scheme, along with a Killer Ethernet controller (and an Intel one, too, for the people who are still wary about Killer hardware for some reason). I won't bore you with its full specs—the product page has far more detail than I can possibly reproduce here.
Gigabyte also had a ton of Thunderbolt 3 accessories on display that it hopes will show off the potential of the port.
These devices range from port replicators all the way up to an external graphics dock from Silverstone.
Gigabyte's Brix division had a new version of the Brix Gaming to show off. This significantly taller mini-PC houses a GTX 950-class graphics chip inside a much larger chassis than the original that we reviewed, so it should be able to deliver desktop-class performance in a package that's still quite compact.
Over in the graphics card section of its booth, the company showed us its Xtreme Gaming GeForce GTX 1080. This monster card takes up more than two slots of space in trade for a shorter PCB. Gigabyte cleverly overlaps the fans on this card's cooler to let it maintain the same cooling capacity without adding undue length. Clock speeds and other specs were still under wraps at the time of the show. We later learned that Gigabyte will offer a VR-ready version of this card with a front-panel display breakout box.
For the less insane, Gigabyte has a G1 Gaming version of the GTX 1080, as well. This card has a refined version of Gigabyte's Windforce cooler and—you guessed it—RGB LED lighting. Folks, if I had a nickel for every RGB LED I saw at this show, I would be plotting my new media empire, or something. In all seriousness, though, gamers should be pleased with this more wallet-friendly GTX 1080.
Gigabyte's notebook division had a third of the floor to itself. We went hands-on with the slim-and-stylish Aero 14, the company's biggest announcement at the show.
These solid-feeling notebooks come in three color schemes: black, orange, and neon green.
Each notebook's lid has a dual-texture finish that Gigabyte seemed especially proud of. The paint jobs look good, and the dual-texture approach feels nice in the hand, too.
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