21 Aug, 2015 Rakesh Sharma
With the launch of the Intel’s new Skylake platform, many high end motherboards started appearing in the market with promising features and great performance. And today we have the opportunity to review one such board from GIGABYTE and my first Z170 board the GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 Motherboard.
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 Motherboard is the top of the line motherboard from GIGABYTE based on the new LGA1151 socket supporting the Intel 6th Generation Skylake processors with great feature like dual channel DDR4 support, Intel USB 3.1 with USB Type-C, Dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 Connectors with up to 32Gb/s Data Transfer, Creative certified Sound Blaster ZxRi 120+dB sound, Killer DoubleShot Pro™ X3 networking and many more.
Now let’s see what GIGABYTE Z170X-GAMING G1 board have for us.
- Extreme Intel® USB 3.1 Controller - The Intel® USB 3.1 controller utilizes 4 PCIe Gen3 lanes, offering 32 Gb/s of total bandwidth, for uncompromised transfer speeds of up to 10 Gb/s per USB 3.1. With twice the bandwidth compared to its previous generation, and backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 and 3.0, the much improved USB 3.1 protocol is available over the new reversible USB Type-C™ and the traditional USB Standard-A connector for better compatibility over a wider range of devices.
- Connecting the Future - USB Type-C™ - The World's Next Universal Connector. Reversible USB Type-C™ with USB 3.1. The USB Type-C™ is a new reversible connector that is loaded with useful features such as USB 3.1 support for 10 Gb/s transfer speed and DisplayPort 1.2 support to connect 4K monitors. Powered by the Intel® controller, this little port is the better USB Type-C™.
- GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio™ Technology - GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 motherboard is equipped with Creative Sound Blaster Certified ZxRi 120dB+ Audio and the GIGABYTE exclusive AMP-UP Audio Technology, which provides the industry's highest level of onboard audio features and technologies. With GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio, gamers and audiophiles are able to experience crisp, ultra-realistic sound effects while gaming, and the richest possible sound experience when listening to their favorite music and movies.
- USB DAC-UP -Clean, low-noise power for your Digital-to-Analog Audio converter -GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP provides clean, noise-free power delivery to your Digital-to-Analog Converter. DACs can be sensitive to fluctuations in power from the other USB ports, which is why GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP takes advantage of an isolated power source that minimizes potential fluctuations and ensures the best audio experience possible.
- Killer DoubleShot-X3™ Pro – Automatically prioritize your game network needs over the fastest available connection for high quality, lag-less and uninterrupted gaming connectivity.
2 Killer GbE + 1 Killer WiFi - The Killer DoubleShot Pro™ X3 allows three killer interfaces to work together for the best networking by freeing the highest bandwidth to the most important traffic, allowing you to multitask without affecting your performance.
- Dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 – With two PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 connectors onboard, GIGABYTE brings to the user PCI-Express connectivity for SSD devices. Delivering up to 32 Gb/s data transfer speed per connector, the dual M.2 provides an ideal storage solution as it also supports RAID modes.
- Fast Intel® 750 Series 2.5" SSD Support via M.2 to U.2 Add-in-Card – GIGABYTE motherboards support the latest consumer NVMe SSD for truly amazing performance. Experience the future of storage performance for desktop client and workstation users with the Intel® SSD 750 Series. The Intel® SSD 750 Series delivers uncompromised performance by utilizing NVM Express over four lanes of PCIe 3.0.
- Turbo B-Clock –Built-in Advanced Performance Tuning IC. Thanks to the onboard TURBO B-Clock Tuning IC, GIGABYTE Motherboards enable Overclockers to have the ability to change their BCLK Frequency to a desired value of their choice. With the new linear range adjustment option of the Tuning IC, ranges from 90MHz to 200MHz are now possible, so that overclockers are not limited to the 5% ranges of traditional straps.
- Water Block Thermal Design with G1/4 Threaded Fittings - Tube connectors at each end of the heatsink provide easy integration with any water cooled system. These technologies help combat high temperatures by effectively removing heat from critical areas of the motherboard such as the CPU VRM zone, allowing it to remain cool, even when the battle heats up.
- GC-USB3.1 BAY GIGABYTE USB3.1 5.25" Front Bay Expansion Port
- 15 Gold Plated CPU Socket Design -GIGABYTE motherboards come equipped with a 15 micron thick gold plated CPU socket*, which means that enthusiasts can enjoy absolute reliability and longevity for the CPU socket overtime, without having any concerns about corroded pins or bad contacts.
Board comes in a nice black cardboard box with model number, image of the board and details about supporting technology and features.
Inside the box
GIGABYTE Z170X-GAMING G1 comes with very nice set of accessories
Intel® 750 Series 2.5" SSD Support via M.2 to U.2 Add-in-Card
Next Generation SATA Express Cable
GIGABYTE USB3.1 5.25" Front Bay Expansion Port
- USB Type-C™ supports USB Power Delivery 2.0 (Profile 5) delivering 100 watts power
- x1 future-proof reversible Type-C™ connector
- x1 popular Type-A connector
- Supports USB 3.1, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
- High-quality steel construction
- Fits in standard 5.25" drive bay
- Uses SATA-Express interface to provide USB3.1 support for up to 10Gb/s data-transfer speed
Board made with a black PCB of size ATX (30.5 X 24.4 cm). A white colour plastic shield covers the back I/O connectors, SATA Ports and audio section. Same While / Red colour metal sheets covers the heatsinks giving whole board a rich White and Red theme.
Detailed layout of board.
1. Intel New LGA 1151 socket. Heatsink mounting holes layout is same as earlier LGA1150 socket, so your old cpu cooler will fit perfect with the new socket.
2. GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming-G1 is equipped with 4 DIMM Dual channel DDR4 memory slots supporting max. 64GB at 2133MHz in normal and up to 3666MHz when OC. Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) is also supported.
3. ATX Power connector (24-pin EATXPWR)
4. ATX CPU Power Connector 8-pin ATX12V_2x4.
5. Back I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, 1 x HDMI port , 1 x USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 support, 1 x USB 3.1 port, 7 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports, 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports, 2 x RJ-45 ports, 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector, 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In/Mic In, Line Out, Headphone),2 x MMCX antenna connectors (2T2R)
6. 7. 8. 10. 16.1 x CPU Fan connector, 1 x CPU OPT Fan/ Water cooler pump connector, 5 x System Fan connectors and Back I/O Plate LED connector
9. Top right of the board locates an OC button which provides automatic overclocking and an ECO button which provides power savings alongside a POST code display, power, reset ,clear CMOS buttons and voltage read points.
11. 2 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)
12. 3x SATA Express connector, 10 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
13. Expansion Slots 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2) * For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16_1 slot; if you are installing two PCI Express graphics cards, it is recommended that you install them in the PCIEX16_1 and PCIEX16_2 slots , 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1, PCIEX8_2) * The PCIEX8_1 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16_1 slot and the PCIEX8_2 slot with PCIEX16_2. The PCIEX16_1/PCIEX16_2 slot will operate at up to x8 mode when the PCIEX8_1/PCIEX8_2 is populated, 3 x PCI Express x1 slots(All of the PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
14. 15. 2 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
17. System Front panel
18. 2 x BIOS Control button(s). One switches between the main and backup BIOS and the other disables dual BIOS .
19. USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
20. Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
21. 2 x Audio gain control switches, one for front port and other for rear audio port.
22. Front panel Audio connector port
Heatsinks are made up of dense aluminum and heat pipes with thermal pad installed, giving great passive cooling to VRM MOSFETs and Z170 chipset.
Let’s now see what all components GIGABYTE have planned for this board.
1. 3. 22 phase CPU Power VRM Section design equipped with two International Rectifiers IR35201 PMWs and few IR3599 phase doubler ICs to control two output IR3553 MOSFET with up to 60A of output current capability each, 60A Ferrite Chokes, and few long lifespan Durable Black Solid Caps.
2. Two separate DRAM Power section using pair of IR 3553M MOSFETs and PWM controller is IR3570
4. 11. Renesas Electronics YET-D720210-0004 Usb 3.0 4-Port Hub Chip.
5. MegaChips MCDP2800 a Bridge DisplayPort with HDMI2.0a in a Single Chip solution
6. The TPS65982 is a stand-alone USB Type-C & Power Delivery (PD) controller providing cable plug and orientation detection at the USB Type-C connector.
7. Intel's DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3.0/USB 3.1 controller.
8. 9. 21.Killer DoubleShot-X3™ Pro with 2 Killer e2400 GbE + 1 Killer 1535 WiFi.
10. The PLX PEX8747 chip is a PCI-e 3.0 48 lane /5 port PCI-E switch chip supporting 3-Way SLI and 4-Way SLI/CrossFireX along with eight ASMedia ASM1480 PCI-E quick switches to provides all bandwidth to the PCI-E 16x slots.
12. 15. Two ASMedia ASM1061 chips for SATA ports.
13. Intel Z170 Chipset.
14. ITE IT8628e is SuperIO chip monitors temperatures, voltages and other key metrics for normal operation and overclocking.
16. Fan control and monitoring is performed via ITE IT8792E the system controller.
17. The ITE IT8951e is used to provide the USB BIOS recovery functionality.
18. Gigabyte uses two SPI chip labeled MXIC MX 2SL12873F a capacity of 128 Mb for storing UEFI BIOS.
19. The AsMedia ASM1184e chip which is a PCI express packet switch, 1 PCIe x1 Gen2 upstream port to 7 PCIe x 1 Gen2 downstream ports using Asmedia ASM1480 PCIe bus switch chips.
20. GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 motherboard is equipped with Creative Sound Blaster Certified ZxRi 120dB+ Audio. The main Audio Code is Creative CA0132 Core 3Di chip, but along with this Gigabyte has added the Cirrus Logic 8416 digital audio receiver and a dedicated top of the line BurrBrown PCM1794 DAC.
A semi-transparent line on motherboard separates the whole audio section from the rest of the board in order to minimize interference. Audio section is having premium Nichicon Fine Gold Capacitors and four WIMA audio-grade film capacitors for audio filtration.
Gigabyte also included some very good audio grade swappable OP-AMPs for best user audio experience. Front panel Audio output has a BurrBrown OPA2134PA OP-AMP which is a superior sound quality , ultra low distortion ( 0.00008% ) and High Performance audio operational amplifiers.
And for rear audio output Gigabyte used two swappable and dedicated Japan Radio Company JRC2114D OP-AMPs for left and right channels, and remaining rear output used Texas Instruments L49710 OP-AMPs.
RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) suite is used for testing test GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 audio against ASUS Xonar DX Sound card. You can see clearly the difference between Noise level, dynamic rang and Total harmonic distortion percentage produced by GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 on-board audio. Resulting one of the best on-board audio solution.
RMAA ASUS Xonar DX
RMAA GIGABYTE Audio
Test system configuration - LGA socket 1151
|CPU||Intel Core i7 6700K |
|Board||Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 |
|RAM||4 X 4GB G.SKILL Ripjaws4 DDR4 3000Mhz|
|SSD||Kingston SV300 120GB|
|Cooler||Corsair H100i |
|Display||Acer S220HQL |
|OS||Win 8.1 Pro / Windows 10 |
Tested the board with Windows 8.1 as well as Windows 10. Following are the screen shot of software under Windows 10 OS.
Few boards Ambient LED colour pics.
" Anybody can Overclock with Z170X-Gaming G1 ". Overclocking is now much easy with Gigabyte EasyTune. Just change the multiplier and apply.. If CPU is not stable at given multiplier, Motherboard will restart and automatically restore earlier system settings. I manage to OC i7-6700K at stable 4.6GHz.
XMP Profile 1 enabled.
Wattage reading as per displayed by APC Pro 1000VA (Model no. BR1000G-IN) UPS.
- RGB LED
- USB 3.1 Port and Front Bay Expansion
- Dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2
- WLAN and Dual LAN
- Very Good Audio
- WC Fitting support
- M.2 to U.2 Add-in-Card
- High Power VRM with 22 phases
- Great OC capability
- Bundled Software
- Warranty ONLY 3 years, Personally expected a 5 years warranty for a top of the line product.
First we like to thanks GIGABYTE for providing Z170X-Gaming G1 board and Intel 6th generation I7-6700K CPU for review. Z170X-Gaming G1 is the GIGABYTE’s top of the line gaming motherboard packed with power, beauty and performance. GIGABYTE has tried many new things with its next generation gaming motherboards. At first the board is having a great design with white/black theme and little touch of red colour. Second, the addition of user controllable RGB LEDs is a great welcome from modders.
As a next generation board we have all the latest technologies available, like USB 3.1, Killer Networking, High fidelity on-board audio with upgradable OP-AMPs, Dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 connectors with RAID mode for crazy data transfer speed, and many more. Overall this a must to have board for users looking for a great Gaming / Overclocking build with all the latest technologies onboard.
Finally, GIGABYTE really managed to make a top line motherboard that is able to catch the attention in the enthusiasts and in Gaming community, worthy of our PC TeK REVIEWS CHOICE Award.