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GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Aug 13, 2015 3:21 pm
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption

 

System power usage is measured at the AC/DC PSU (the Corsair AX1200i) which I have connected to another system to measure the test system and as a backup I have a wall meter to verify. The CPU power is measured through the 8-pin connector which is hooked up to a hall effect IC which measures current and puts out a voltage in proportion to the current. That voltage is logged by a National Instruments ADC which logs the DC voltage level, which I then convert into current.

 

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This motherboard does use more power than most, that is due to the PLX bridge chip and all the extra features.

 

Note on Thermal Images: In the temperature section, we use our Seek thermal imaging camera to capture the surface temperatures of major components on the board; I look at the VRM and then all other things that light up the screen. If there is something to worry about then I will state it, otherwise I will just show the hotter running parts of the board for fun. Unless some component is over 80-90C then there really isn't anything to worry about.

 

All systems will act differently, so I will look for commonalities, such as how far from the VRM the heat spreads through the PCB and the difference in temperature between the front side and backside of the PCB. Keep in mind that the majority of the heat from the VRM goes into the PCB as it is a giant soldered on copper heat sink. A larger difference in temperature between the back and front of the PCB points towards a more effective heat sink.

 

Thermal Testing at Stock Speeds:

 

The image on the left is always at idle and the image on the right is at load.

 

During ALL TESTs Fans above the VRM that cool the CPU cooler's (H110i GT) radiator are turned on to high (12v).

 

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Full frontal.

 

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Up-close of the front of the VRM.

 

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Up-close of the back of the VRM.

 

 

Thermal Testing at 4.5GHz (1.3v w/LLC) Overclocked Speeds:

 

gigabyte-z170x-gaming-g1-intel-z170-motherboard-reviewgigabyte-z170x-gaming-g1-intel-z170-motherboard-review

 

Full frontal.

 

gigabyte-z170x-gaming-g1-intel-z170-motherboard-reviewgigabyte-z170x-gaming-g1-intel-z170-motherboard-review

 

Up-close of the front of the VRM.

 

gigabyte-z170x-gaming-g1-intel-z170-motherboard-reviewgigabyte-z170x-gaming-g1-intel-z170-motherboard-review

 

Up-close of the back of the VRM.

 

The VRM is quite good, but the thermals can be misleading. The thing is that GIGABYTE has linked the VRM heat sink to the heat sink cooling the PLX bridge. I think they figured the VRM could handle the extra heat load, so they tossed it in there. The PLX bridge puts out a lot of heat, in fact it puts out much more heat than the VRM and PCH combined. You can even see in the pictures that the heat moves from the PLX area (middle of the board, middle heat sink) towards the rest of the VRM. This doesn't only happen on the heat sink, but you can also see it on the back of the board; the heat spreads through the 2oz copper PCB.

 

The Z170X-Gaming G1 does come with watercooling threads so you can add the heat sink to your loop, and I would think that in this case, if you have no airflow over the motherboard, it might be beneficial to hook it up because that PLX bridge needs to be cooled. The temperatures never got to levels where one should worry.

 

Power consumption is also higher with the Z170X-Gaming G1 compared to other motherboard because of the sheer amount of ICs and hardware on the motherboard. Overall, the VRM is one of the higher quality VRMs, and if it wasn't of such high quality then I would think that the heat from the PLX might impact the VRM, but in this case it does not. Overall temperatures stayed under 50C, and performance was in line with other VRMs which don't have the PLX bridge.

 

Anything under 60C is great, 60-80C is acceptable, and anything above 80C is a bit worrisome (if at stock).

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