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GIGABYTE Z97X GAMING G1 WIFI-BK Black Edition (Intel Z97) Review

By: Shawn Baker | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Jun 30, 2014 2:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 96%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Close up with the GIGABYTE Z97X GAMING G1 WIFI-BK Black Edition




Taking our first look at the motherboard, we can see we have a really nice setup going on. The looks include a matte black PCB alongside some really nice red highlights on the heat sink. I love the simplicity behind the overall design; it really goes perfectly with the Black Edition labeling the board has. Let's move in a bit closer, though, and see just what exactly we're dealing with here.




Moving in a bit closer to the board, you can see what's going on with the expansion slot side of things. We have three PCIe x1 slots alongside four PCIe x16 slots, which is up on the standard three that we normally see.


GIGABYTE has increased the number of lanes offered on the board, meaning that if you opt to use two video cards, they will both run at x16 speeds. Throwing a third or fourth card into the mix keeps those two cards running at x16, and the other two run at x8. This is all made possible thanks to the inclusion of the PLX chip. While it's known to bring latency into the mix, previous testing has never shown anything that would really affect you.




Heading across the bottom of the board, you can see a pretty standard setup. The standard USB headers are across the bottom along with our audio and front panel headers, which sit alongside a number of fan headers.




Turning the corner, you can see we have a total of 10 SATA III ports alongside a single SATA Express connector. The six BLACK SATA III ports and the single SATA Express port all run off of the Intel Z97 chipset, while the final four SATA III ports run off of the Marvell 88SE9172 chip.




Making our way to the top of the motherboard, we can see our standard four DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR3, ranging in speed from 1333MHz to 3200MHz via overclocking. Also around here, you can see our main 24-Pin ATX power connector, with a SATA connector on the left helping to provide more power to the board, along with a USB 3.0 header above that. On the right side, you can see we have an LED Debug reader along with a power, reset, and clear CMOS set of buttons.






Heading over to the CPU area, you can see our 8-Pin CPU Power connector in the top left corner. Moving out to the actual CPU area itself, you can see a really clean setup, as usual, and a really awesome looking heat sink design that actually supports water cooling with the appropriate barbs installed.




Finishing up with a look at the I/O side of things, you can see we have a combo PS/2 port and two USB 2.0 ports. Next to that, we have three gold plated video out connections, including DVI-I, DisplayPort, and HDMI. Six USB 3.0 ports are offered, with two running off of the Z97 chipset and four running off of the Renesas uPD720210 chip.


Dual Gigabit networking is offered via the Intel GbE LAN phy chip and the Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 chip. Finally, we finish up with six gold plated auxiliary plugs and an optical out port running off of the Creative Sound Core 3D chip with TI Burr Brown OPA2134 operational amplifier thanks to the OP AMP technology that GIGABYTE has implemented on the motherboard.

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