gbt bt4 1 Exclusive: Gigabyte to include Wi Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with X79 motherboards

Gigabyte has already had leaks with regards to some of the features of its upcoming X79 motherboards and today we have an exclusive leak of our own, Gigabyte is going to add Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11n Wi-Fi support to its X79 motherboards. However, the company is taking a different and in our opinion better approach than its competitors when it comes to adding support for wireless connectivity.

Gigabyte has already had leaks with regards to some of the features of its upcoming X79 motherboards and today we have an exclusive leak of our own, Gigabyte is going to add Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11n Wi-Fi support to its X79 motherboards. However, the company is taking a different and in our opinion better approach than its competitors when it comes to adding support for wireless connectivity.

As we've already seen, ECS went for a pair of USB type dongles at the rear of its X79 motherboard, although seemingly the Wi-Fi part relies on a PCB antenna connected by hardwired and rather messy wire to the rear I/O of the motherboard. Asus has added a proprietary raiser card for its P9X79 Deluxe which is a custom designed USB setup as far as we can tell. Both companies are also only offering Bluetooth 3.0, although this is at least less of an issue at the moment.

gbt bt4 1 Exclusive: Gigabyte to include Wi Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with X79 motherboards

Gigabyte decided to go with a slightly more sensible solution and one that has a bit of future proofing thrown in for good measure. What you're looking at is a PCI Express to mini PCI Express adapter which takes a standard half-size mini PCI Express card, in this case a card based on Atheros chips. The unusual thing with this adapter is that it has a USB pin-header that attaches to the USB pin-header on the motherboard. This is for the Bluetooth 4.0 part of the card, while the Wi-Fi part connects over PCI Express. There's also a USB port on the card – a feature we've never seen before – to which you can attach any USB device with a standard USB connector, a neat addition that we're sure plenty of people will find useful.

The Bluetooth part of the card is compatible with Bluetooth 3.0 + HS as well as the low power Bluetooth 4.0 standard. For now very few devices are available that supports Bluetooth 4.0, although the iPhone 4S is one of the first devices out there that officially supports the standard. That said, it's not meant to a standard for syncing files or using Bluetooth headsets, instead it's meant to connect to low power sensors or home automation solutions, but we'll see how things develop.

gbt bt4 2 Exclusive: Gigabyte to include Wi Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with X79 motherboards

We have one minor gripe with the card, as although you can swap out the mini PCI Express card for something faster in the future, the way Gigabyte designed the PCI Express card means that you're stuck using 150Mbps Wi-Fi, as there are only two antennas. This translates to no MIMO support which is needed to hit Wi-Fi speeds of 300Mbps or more, but hopefully this is something we'll see in future revisions. The card will ship with the X79-UD5, X79-UD7 and G1.Assassin 2, but we're hoping that Gigabyte will be selling it on its own as well, as it's an easy way to add Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support to any desktop PC.