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GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Sep 3, 2015 4:45 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Z170X-UD5 Circuit Analysis Continued

 

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Intel is using the Intel "Alpine Ridge" Thunderbolt 3.0/USB 3.1 controller. While this chip supports Thunderbolt 3.0 as well as USB 3.1, it requires more hardware and two more PCI-E lanes than are being allocated here to support it. That is why GIGABYTE only is advertising USB 3.1 support and not Thunderbolt 3.0. Most boards with this controller are only using it for USB 3.1, but a few boards have a much more intricate and integrated solution which uses more resources and PCI-E lanes. While this isn't the Thunderbolt 3.0 implementation of this IC, there is still extra hardware required for proper Type-C connector implementation. GIGABYTE has added the proper Type-C switch from Texas Instruments, the HDS3212.

 

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A single ASMedia ASM1061 provides two SATA 6Gb/s ports from a single PCI-E 3.0 lane. There are six ASMedia ASM1480s PCI-E 3.0 quick switches in the image on the right. Four of them are used to switch 8x PCI-E 3.0 from the first PCI-E 16x slot to the second PCI-E 16x slot for multiple video cards. The other two quick switches are for switching 4x of bandwidth from the lower M.2 slot to the last PCI-E 16x port (4x electrical).

 

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There are three more ASM1480s used to switch SATA bandwidth to the upper M.2 slot if it is in use. You can use both the M.2 slot and most of the SATA ports. For the right allocation of SATA bandwidth, refer to the manual for the bandwidth allocation table. The VRM in the image with the RT8120 is for the DDR VPP 2.5v rail. In the image on the right, we have both 128Mbit BIOS ROMs and the SuperIO, an iTE IT8628E.

 

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An NXP level shifter is used to convert the digital video output from the CPU into HDMI/DVI for the connectors on the back panel IO.

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