04 Aug, 2016   Rakesh Sharma    Reviews .  GIGABYTE Z170X-Designare Motherboard Review

Today we are reviewing a new / next generation of motherboard from Gigabyte, one of the latest “DISIGNARE” series of motherboard, the Gigabyte Z170X DESIGNARE motherboard. Carrying all the latest features such as U.2 support, USB 3.1, dual Intel G- LAN, and can support triple NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 configuration, giving ultra fast data read/write speeds. Gigabyte Z170X DESIGNARE motherboard also have separate 100W Power support for the USB Type-C and above all this board also features RGB LEDs and external LED support.

Now let’s see what this new Gigabyte board have for us.

Package

Looking at the front of the box, we see Gigabyte logo with motherboard model no. At the rear of the box, we find that Gigabyte goes into great detail on the specifications of the motherboard.

Inside the box

Looks

Board features steel-reinforced DDR4 slots as well as PCI-e slots looking very neat on a full matte black PCB with a slight touch of blue on heatsinks.

Features

  • Supports 6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor
  • Dual Channel, Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs
  • Intel® USB 3.1 with 2 USB Type-C™ & PD 2.0 100W Support
  • 2-Way SLI™ & CrossFire™ Multi-Graphics Support
  • NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 22110 M.2 Interface & U.2 Interface for Intel® SSD 750
  • Best Support for 3 Intel® SSD 750 Devices in RAID 0
  • 2 SATA Express Connectors for Up to 16Gb/s Data Transfer
  • Dual Intel® GbE LAN with cFosSpeed Internet Accelerator Software
  • 115dB SNR HD Audio with Built-in Rear Audio Amplifier
  • Ambient Surround LED with RGB Multi-Color Choices
  • Ultra Durable Metal Shielding over PCIe and DDR Slots
  • Ultra Durable Anti-Sulfur Resistors for Longer Lifespan
  • Ultra Durable Anti-Rust Rear I/O Connectors
  • Dual Hybrid Fan Headers with Precise PWM / Voltage Control for Water Pump & Fan
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™ Technology
  • APP Center Including EasyTune™ and Cloud Station™ Utilities
  • Rear Panel Mini DisplayPort-In for Future Feature Upgrade

Specifications

Layout

Detailed layout of board.

1. Intel LGA 1151 socket, supporting current 6th generation CPU.

5x (15μ) Gold Plated CPU Socket Design. GIGABYTE motherboards come equipped with a 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 and bad contacts.

2. 4 Stainless Steel shielded DIMM Dual channel DDR4 memory slots supporting max. 64GB at 2133MHz in normal and up to 4000MHz when OC. Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) is also supported.

3. ATX Power connector (24-pin EATXPWR)

4. ATX CPU Power Connector (8-pin ATX12V).

5. Back Panel Connectors : 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, 1 x Mini-DisplayPort In, 2 x USB Type-C™ ports, with USB 3.1 support, 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports, 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports, 1 x HDMI port, 1 x DisplayPort, 2 x RJ-45 ports, 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)

6. 11. 13. 19 1 x CPU fan header, 1 x water cooling fan/pump header (CPU_OPT_PUMP), 2 x system fan headers, 1 x system fan/water cooling pump header (SYS_FAN2_PUMP)

7, Oc section on Motherboard featuring a D-bug Code post, a power button, OC button, Reset button and Clear CMOS switch.

8. Front USB 3 Port.

9.2 x SATA Express connectors, 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors and U.2 Connector

10. System Front panel Connector

12. 2 x USB 2.0 Connectors

14. TPM Connector

15. Front panel Audio connector and SPDIF out port.

16. M.2 Socket 3 connector

17. RGB LED strip extension cable header

18. Expansion Slots.

1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16) * For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8) * The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot operates at up to x8 mode. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4) * The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with the SATA 3 0/1 and PCI Express x1 connectors. When the PCIEX4 slot is installed with a x4 or above card, the SATA 3 0/1 and PCI Express x1 connectors become unavailable. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots (All of the PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)

Removing Heat-sinks

Gigabyte used dense aluminum heatsink for VRM and Chipset Cooling, whereas back I/O ports and Audio section is shielded with metal cover preventing all in-circuit crosstalk or interference. Heatsinks base is having thermal pad installed.

Component Layout

Let’s now see what all components Gigabyte have planned for this board.

1. 2. 10 Phase CPU voltage regulator circuit has Vishay SiRA12DP / RA18 MOSFETS each package limited to 25A controlled by Intersil ISL95895 Hybrid Digital Four Phase PWM Controller.

3. 2-Phase digital memory power supply section using Vishay SiRA12DP MOSFETS and Richtek RT8120F controller chip.

4. Intel's DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3.0/USB 3.1 controller. With two Texas Instruments TPS65982 USB Type-C & USB PD Controller Power Switch and High Speed Multiplexer chips.

5. The NXP Semiconductors PTN3360D HDMI / DVI level shifter.

6. 7. Dual Intel G-LAN onboard solution with Intel WGI211AT and WGI219V chips.

8. Gigabyte High Definition Audio solution for the board is powered by Realtek ALC1150, which is a high-performance multi-channel High Definition Audio Codec that delivers an exceptional audio listening experience with up to 115dB SNR, ensuring users get the best possible audio quality from their PC.

The ALC1150 provides ten DAC channels that simultaneously support 7.1-channel sound playback, plus 2 channels of independent stereo sound output (multiple streaming) through the front panel stereo outputs. Two stereo ADCs are integrated and can support a microphone array with Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), Beam Forming (BF), and Noise Suppression (NS) technologies. The ALC1150 incorporates Realtek proprietary converter technology to achieve Front differential output 115dB Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) playback (DAC) quality and 104dB SNR recording (ADC) quality.

A semi-transparent line on motherboard separates the whole audio section from the rest of the board in order to minimize interference. In addition Gigabyte used High quality audio capacitors. So listening under Stereo mode produces high audio quality with excellent dynamic range.

RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) suite is used for testing Gigabyte High Definition 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 High Definition audio.

RMAA Asus Xonar DX

RMAA Gigabyte Audio

9. eight ASMedia ASM1480 PCI-E quick switches to provides all bandwidth to the PCI-E 16x slots.

10. Intel Z170 Express Chipset.

11. Gigabyte uses two SPI chip labeled MXIC MX 2SL12873F a capacity of 128 Mb for storing UEFI BIOS.

12. ITE IT8628e is SuperIO chip monitors temperatures, voltages, fan ports and control the PS/2 on the back panel

13. ITE IT8792e is an embedded controller responsible for handling Dual BIOS, USB BIOS recovery functionality and other key metrics for normal operation and overclocking.

Testing

CPUIntel Core i7 6700K
Board GIGABYTE Z170X-DESIGNARE
RAM4 X 4GB Corsair DDR4
SSDKingston SV300 120GB
CoolerCM Nepton 240M
GFXAsus STRIX GTX950 / Zotac GTX1080
PSUCM GX II 650
DisplayAcer S220HQL
OS Windows 10

Bundled Softwares

Overclocking

Benchmarks

Power Consumption

Wattage reading as per displayed by APC Pro 1000VA (Model no. BR1000G-IN) UPS.

Pros

  • Good and easy OC
  • Dual Intel GbE LAN
  • Multi GFX support
  • Support upto 3 Intel 750 SSDs in RAID 0
  • RGB LED Lighting

Cons

  • Idle power consumption a bit high

Conclusion

Gigabyte GA-Z170X DESIGNARE is a mid level Z170 Chipset based motherboard, loaded with lot of features including RGB LED lighting. VRM Section is solid build with quality components helping great in overclocking the CPU, we were able to push our i7-6700K on AIO cooler up to 4.6GHz stable and max 4.8 GHz. Gigabyte Z170X-DESIGNARE seems to give neck-to neck OC performance of few top of the line motherboards. Idle power consumption of Gigabyte Z170X-DESIGNARE motherboard is bit higher than other mid-level Z170 motherboards, that seems to me because of added LAN and USB3.1 Type-C support.

At the conclusion I found Gigabyte Z170X-DESIGNARE motherboard a nice overclocking motherboard, with superb build quality and added features like DUAL LAN and a second USB 3.1 Type-C connector, is great for future compatibility and worthy of our PC TeK REVIEWS Value Award.

Manufacturers Info

Site Link

Thanks.

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