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GIGABYTE Z97X Gaming G1 Black Edition - Circuit and Overclocking Guide

By: Steven Bassiri | Guides | Posted: Sep 10, 2014 1:15 am
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Motherboard Circuit Analysis

 

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The Gaming G1 features one really crazy looking audio section; it features everything from high-end Nichicon audio specific capacitors in varying capacities to a DIP socket for operational amplifiers, which you can change out. The gold plated cover hides a CA0132, which is a Core3Di quad-core audio processor and codec. The Core3Di is the same chipset that is on the SoundBlaster Z series and it requires a PCI-E 1x lane and doesn't use the built-in Intel HDA audio that Realtek codecs use.

 

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A Texas Instruments OPA2134 is the operational amplifier GIGABYTE provides with this board, you can switch it out with a wide variety of different amps, but this one is commonly found in many enthusiast audio products. Motherboards typically utilize a 12v input from the PSU for powering high voltage components, however, GIGABYTE opted to use a Texas Instruments TPS65130 to power the amp. This little chip sits outside the isolated section of the PCB so its switching noise won't affect the audio outputs, and it provides +/- 15v to the amplifier, which is well above average for motherboards.

 

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I haven't been able to conclusively identify these two little chips, but they keep showing up on GIGABYTE boards where they have the LEDs on the backside of the PCB showing the PCB isolation. I also noticed on the new X99 Gaming G1 WIFI (guide incoming soon!), they are absent and two new ICs are added (so is new LED functionality such as pulsing constantly and to music), I deduce that they are LED controllers, which control the 18 red LEDs on the backside.

 

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This is the section of the PCB with a ton of switching chips for the PCI-E. Eight ASM1480 (ASMedia 2 lane PCI-E 3.0 switch chips) switch bandwidth coming out of the PEX8747 to the four 16x slots for GPUs and any other high bandwidth PCI-E devices.

 

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The PEX8605 is a 4 lane PCI-E 2.0 switch chip. This chip takes in one PCI-E lane and outputs 3. These three lanes each are each routed to one 1x PCI-E 2.0 slot so their bandwidth is all shared, however they can all be utilized at the same time. An ISC9DB633 provides reference clock input for the expanded PCI-E.

 

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A nice diagram of the chips and their bandwidth is provided in the manual for those who might be curious.

 

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This is the Z97 Platform Controller Hub (PCH), it doesn't provide all the SATA 6Gb/s used on the board, so to supplement the SATA 6Gb/s, GIGABYTE is using two Marvell SE9172s for four extra ports. The Flexible IO solution here is 5-7-6 (USB 3.0/PCI-E 2.0/SATA). The PCH also can't provide all of that USB 3.0, thus a 1:4 USB 3.0 hub is utilized for the four topmost USB 3.0 ports on the IO panel. The Renesas D720210 takes in 1 USB 3.0 port and outputs 4.

 

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These are the dual NICs. The Intel i217v caters to enthusiasts while the Qualcomm Killer e2201 caters to gamers.

 

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An iTE8620E is the main SuperIO on the motherboard; it controls all the tasks such as temperature and voltage monitoring, as well as provides limited fan control for the CPU fan header. The iTE8790E and its BIOS provide secondary EC (embedded controller) functions, mostly in the UEFI. There are numerous NCT3941 ICs from Nuvoton which provide fan control over individual headers on this board; they are located near the fan headers in the picture on the left.

 

This board features dual 128Mbit (16MB) BIOS ROMs, only SuperMicro and GIGABYTE feature 128Mbit BIOS ROMs on their Z97 boards, while most everyone does on their X99 motherboards.

 

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Dual level shifters provide HDMI and DVI outputs from the digital video output of the CPU's iGPU.

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