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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

Circuit Analysis

 

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In my opinion, most motherboards look best when they don't have any heat sinks on them and the Z170X-Gaming G1 is one of those boards. There are countless ICs to provide all the connectivity and features, and now I will go over them.

 

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There are four major input rails to the CPU for Z170; VCC (VCore), VCCGT (Graphics core), VCCSA (System Agent), and VCCIO (CPU IO). The main CPU VRM is 16 phases, the VCCGT is 4 phases, and the VCCSA and VCCIO each have their own phase. GIGABYTE is still using their 10K black solid capacitors from Chemi-Con, but I am unsure of the rating on the inductors.

 

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GIGABYTE is using two International Rectifier IR35201 (6+2 mode or 8+0 mode) PWMs; the first is for the VCore and is in an 8+0 phase mode and each of those 8 phases provides its output to an IR3599 phase doubler which in turn outputs two phases to two IR3553 which are 40A integrated power stages. For the VCCGT, GIGABYTE uses four phases from an IR35201 and directly routes them to four IR3553.

 

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The VCCSA and VCCIO are controlled by an IR3570 (3+2 max), which provides one phase directly routed to each IR3553 (1+1). If you count up the phases, there are 22 total IR3553. This is perhaps one of the most robust VRMs I have seen for the Z170 chipset, and it is pretty much total overkill, but at this price point, overkill is welcomed. Another IR3570 (3+2 phase max) is used for the DRAM power; it outputs two phases to two IR3553 and one phase for the DDR VPP which also uses IR3553.

 

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The audio on the Z170X-Gaming G1 is very high quality. GIGABYTE has used the Core3Di chip before, the CA0132, but this time they have added a digital audio receiver, the Cirrus Logic 8416 to decode the Intel HD Audio signal and a dedicated DAC the BurrBrown PCM1794 (127dB). GIGABYTE's normal single AMP-UP socket has been expanded into three. Each channel of the back-panel IO output has its own dedicated New Japan Radio Company JRC2114D amplifier and the front panel audio output has its own BurrBrown OPA2134PA. There are 10x Nichicon Gold Series electrolytic audio capacitors and four WIMA audio-grade film capacitors. I also spotted three Texas Instruments L49710 audio amplifiers for the other audio outputs on the back panel. This is basically the Creative ZxR audio integrated into the motherboard's PCB, so they call it ZxRi (like Core3Di).

 

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Now that I covered the audio, I will also cover the NICs. GIGABYTE is using Qualcomm's Killer DoubleShot X3-Pro which requires three Killer NICs to work together. The first two are Killer's brand new e2400 1GBit gaming NICs and the third is a Killer 1535 2x2 Wireless AC/BT 4.0 card. Together all three NICs can be used to route different traffic through different dedicated NICs. I will cover this more in the software section.

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