The GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 WIFI/BK is one loaded motherboard. From advanced audio features to multi-GPU capability and overclocking features, the Gaming G1 really embodies basically everything a gamer might want in a high-end gaming motherboard. It even has physical overclocking features from voltage read points to on-board power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons.
In case you like to show off, the red color theme with the LEDs and the complimentary green capacitors really help draw one's attention to the audio section, which is one of the more impressive parts of this board. Performance during audio testing was top notch; in some cases, our testing program wasn't even accurate enough, such as with frequency response. The replaceable amplifier with gain switches for each channel is a nice touch to ensure compatibility with different speakers and headphones.
While the board packs a punch, when it comes to features and performance, it also is a big package in a standard height PCB. While eATX is a bit wider than normal ATX, it isn't much taller, and thus fitting four slots for 4-way SLI/CrossFireX can cramp the first PCI-E 16x slot closest to the CPU area.
In our case, the NH-D15 has a compatibility list and it says it is not compatible with a GPU in the first slot, however, oddly enough, the NH-D14 is fine according to Noctua. I would check in case you are using a very large cooling tower. Auto overclocking is a bit conservative, I would just avoid them altogether and just go manually as it is pretty easy on this system.
The VRM features the latest control technologies and solid components, yet unsurprisingly the power consumption for the system as a whole is higher than the other boards we have tested thus far. This is largely due to the fact that this system is packed to the brim with active ICs, the boards has the infamous PEX8747, which uses a lot of power, and adds many extra controllers and other switches to provide all the features (for instance the voltage booster on the audio section).
The layout and configuration of the hardware is straightforward and the UEFI is also solid, yet stretched across different UEFI modes. I was impressed that BCLK overclocking kept up with our other boards as the Z87 G1 series couldn't because of the PEX8747, however, here that isn't the case. This board impressed me when it took my G.Skill 16GB TridentX double sided Hynix based kit over 3000MHz easily - in fact, it is the highest we have taken that kit to date. This board is definitely tuned towards higher frequency memory and strong CPU overclocks. I was also happy that the auto overclocking tool didn't heavily over-volt the CPU.
We also shouldn't forget that this is the Black Edition of the normal board, meaning that this motherboard went through a rigorous 7-day continuous stress test to ensure longevity. Quality is one thing that this board brings to the table, when you handle the board, you can feel that it's heavy and well crafted, and if you purchase one, it should give you a solid experience for years to come.
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