CPU Cooler Fit and Included Accessories
CPU Cooler Fit
To test the amount of space surrounding the CPU socket, we mounted the Noctua NH-D14 cooler to the CPU socket. This behemoth CPU air cooler sports a dual fan construction and two huge vertical cooling towers.
When running the unit oriented to blow air towards the rear panel, there is ample room along the front, back, and left sides of the board to accommodate the cooler's real estate as well as any installed peripherals.
From the right side view, the back pipes of the cooler come close to the heat side just above the socket, but clear it without contact. Also, there is sufficient clearance along the front to use all four DIMM slots.
The water port integrated into the upper VRM heatsink is blocked by the upper portion of the cooler as shown. This should not be an issue when using a water block for CPU cooler, however.
The Noctua hold down mechanism is large enough to quickly determine exactly how much space is available around the CPU socket. The heat sinks surrounding the CPU cooler appear close in on the mount, but there remains sufficient space so as to not inhibit the mounting mechanism.
The is no risk of board damage using a backplate with this board because of the lack of circuitry directly around the socket.
GIGABYTE bundles in everything you need to get the board up and running, including some nice to have add-in boards and case port enclosures.
GIGABYTE includes a detailed manual with information on all board setup and functionality. Additionally, setup discs are included for the base board functionality as well as for the 802.11ac PCIe add-on card. A signed certificate of authenticity is included verifying that the board has passed the Black Edition series validation criteria. GIGABYTE even includes two case badges, one with the Ultra Durable branding and the other with the Black Edition branding.
The rear panel shield is well marked with a flat black base and white lettering and icons clearly identifying port function.
GIGABYTE included a total of six 6Gb/s rated SATA cables for use with the integrated port. The cables and sleeved with black plastic sleeving and have integrated port locks and a mix of straight and 90 degree connectors. Note that no SATA Express cables are included with the board.
For multi-GPU use, GIGABYTE includes two-way, three-way, and four-way NVIDIA SLI cables as well as a single two-way AMD CrossFire cable.
To take advantage of the on board USB 3.0 headers integrated into the board, GIGABYTE packages in a 3.5 inch front panel bracket with mounting screws containing two additional USB 3.0 ports.
For attaching to wireless and Bluetooth-based networks, GIGABYTE included a PCI-Express x1 card with an Intel-based PCIe module. The add-on card has gold-plated dual antenna ports in its back plate and a 4-pin port for connecting the card to one of the on-board USB 2.0 ports.
For connecting the add-on 802.11ac card to the system, GIGABYTE includes a dual-plug antennae and a USB 2.0 connector cable. The included cable is used to attach to the one of the on board USB 2.0 headers to help power the module and to provide additional monitoring capabilities. The antenna screws directly into the provided ports on the PCIe card and can be swiveled in a 180 degree arc for optimal signal reception.