Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Review

 

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Review, Best Z170 Motherboard

If you’re a hard core gamer, you probably looking for the perfect board for the latest Skylake processor. The Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 is a perfect match that will surely meet your gaming needs. The board is driven by Z170 chipset in a full size ATX form factor.

The Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 is packed with gaming friendly features that maximizes your gaming potential. The board pricing is comfortably sitting in the middle for a high end gaming board.

The Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Review has so much to offer that supports the Intel’s 6th generation Core processor. From the latest USB 3.1 Type-C, 3-way graphics support, Dual PCIe Gen3 X4 M.2 connectors with 32Gb/s Data Transfer, 3 SATA Express connectors, Creative SoundCore 3D Gaming audio, DualBIOS technology and many more.

“The motherboard for my first build was almost a no brainer, Heard Gigabyte for almost all my life, having some good quality in their products. I was considering an Asus or MSI for my first build, but with the discount I got of this one just made my decision more simple.” By Michael Zelaya

>>Click Here to check the price and discover what people are saying about this amazing motherboard.

The Looks And Connectivity

The Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 continues its previous G1 design in red and black color scheme that looks awesome. However, Gigabyte put some white color in it for a touch of modern design. The Voltage regulator circuitry comes with a white plastic covering with red trim with the G1 logo that blends beautifully. The chipset is nicely combined with black, gray and white with red strip on top of the G1 logo.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Review, Best Z170 Motherboard

The board itself is presented in all black color in the company of the Gigabyte exclusive “Durablack” trademark with Nippon Chemi-Con capacitors that also contributes to its good façade. The plastic covering is covers the voltage regulator heatsink and the port cluster while it extends its smaller part to the audio section. The audio section is beautifully illuminated by LED trace path on the board. The good thing about it is that it gives you option to remove if you don’t want those fancy looks.

The Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 features a 12-phase power system below the VRM heatsinks to further push the Skylake’s processor. This is what you expect from an enthusiasts grade motherboard. It is firmly secured with screws and they are linked with the heatpipe that cools them.

Looking at the LGA1151, you can notice a nicely spaced CPU socket so that you can put an extra large heatsink if you decide to upgrade for overclocking purposes.

The DIMM socket is color coded in red and black for proper memory paring. If you decided to use only two sticks you can populate the red slot first that gives freely space for the processor heatsink. It can accommodate up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM that can be populated in four slots. It uses only one locking mechanism for fast installation and replacing DIMM sticks.

Turning on the expansion slots, you can notice a three Gen3 PCIe x16. Using one graphic card with the rightmost part you have all the 16 lanes. While dual graphics you can have 8-lanes on both card. There are two PCIe x1 between the PCIe x16 that gives space between slots.

If you think that the stainless steel shielding is just for decoration, it isn’t. Those metal shields provide 1.7 times stronger reinforcements for stress and 3.2 times retention tests. It will definitely prevent damage to the slots even if you’re putting huge video card.

Looking at the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 storage connectors you’ll find three SATAe connectors that includes eight more standard SATA ports. All three SATAe ports and six SATA 6GB/s are coming from the Z170 chipset while the two regular SATA is provided by ASMedia ASM1061. For fast and convenient cable connection all these ports are in right angled. For ultra fast storage interface the two M.2 port are also present in the board. This port offers a blistering speed of 32GB/s for your SSD solutions.

Finally, the back I/O panel is noticeably multi colored for fast and easy to identify itself. On the left upper part you have the PS/2 keyboard mouse port followed by 2x USB 3.0 in yellow color that features an isolated power. Gigabyte claims a lesser noise interference compare to other standard USB ports. The other three regular USB ports in blue color.

The ultra fast USB 3.1 is available in both type-A in red and type-C reversible socket below the LAN port. The audio jacks are presented in gold plated for excellent connection. The Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 motherboard features a Killer E2400 and an Intel I219-V Dual LAN that gives you freedom to choose between a Killer NIC and an Intel GigE.

For enthusiasts who want to take advantage of the Skylakes integrated GPU, the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 provides the DisplayPort 1.2 output and an HDMI port.

More Features Ahead

The Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 comes with tons of features that makes it a truly enthusiast’s board. The DualBIOS is present for many years as Gigabyte’s firmware. By introducing another BIOS chip it provides total backup for your settings. It includes the Q-Flash Plus that automatically updates its firmware using a Thumb drive.

Playing games and watching HD movies is boring without quality sound, right? That’s why the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 is beefed with state of the art Audio features. The Creative CA0132 Quad core audio chip is included on the board having an audio codec and 4 independent DSPs that runs by Creative SBX studio software for various voice and audio effects. In addition to that is the high quality capacitor MUSE MW Nichicon. As a result, you can never hear any interference, hissing and pops even at idle conditions.

If you think connecting the front panel wiring could be painful, not anymore. Thankfully the “G-Connector” feature totally eliminates the pain for fast and simple panel wiring.

The Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 provides many buttons on board which is very handy and fast troubleshooting. The big power red button lights up that indicates power, the black is the CMOS-clear button and reset button. There’s another button that enables the OC mode and the ECO mode. On the right side of it is the two digit Diagnostic display that indicates the debug codes during boot procedures.

If you want some lights on your system, the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 features an RGB LEDs on its I/O shield. You can set your own personal LED color according to your taste with its 7 color choices that makes your system unique.

The Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 includes TURBO B-Clock Tuning IC so that you can go further from 90MHz to 500MHz. It removes your limitation to only 5-percent traditional straps, this is good news for overclockers though it may vary depending on the processor’s capability.

Overclocking The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7

The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 motherboard is tested to overclock using the Intel’s Core i7-6700K CPU with Master’s Nepton 240M. The board was tested with 4.3GHz, 4.4GHz and 45GHz with multiplier set to x43, x44 and x45 respectively while keeping the same voltage at 1.32v. Testing with the Prime95 that shows absolute stability and the CPU temperature is perfectly manageable at only 81-degrees Celsius.

After using the board’s auto overclocking features we now use the manual tuning in firmware. By setting the voltage to auto we push the multiplier at x46 with the standard base clock at 100MHz. The result is at 4.6GHz with the voltage at 1.32v provided by the firmware. Luckily, it runs in full stability with slight increased in temperature at 85-degrees.

Pushing a bit harder using manual voltage adjustments up to 1.38v and the multiplier to x47 we arrived at 4.7GHz. The Prime95 shows absolute stability though, the CPU temperature rises up to 97-Degrees. However, trying to reach the 4.8GHz failed us and shows errors. Finally, we’re happy at 4.7GHz surpassing most the mainstream and average motherboard.

Conclusion

The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 is no doubt an excellent performer. Feature wise, it is fully packed with enthusiasts grade. It offers many of next generation storage connectivity, Dual Gigabit LAN from Killer and Intel. The well known Creative onboard Audio chip delivers unparalleled sound quality. The three PCIe 3.0 slots are metal reinforced that makes it tough to withstand stress and the LED contributes to the board’s good looks. New feature such as the G-Connector block completely eases the panel wiring.

Overclocking the Gigabyte’s Z170X-Gaming 7 is simple and reaches great heights of 4.7GHz while other Z170 board is limited to 4.5GHz. Though, some cons I see in here like the Gigabyte’s older firmware’s version that may be change in the near future. The price it offers is lower now than its first introduction making it a valuable build with Intel’s Skylake base processor. >>Click Here to get it at its Lowest Price!