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GIGABYTE Z170X-SOC Force (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Oct 26, 2015 2:23 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%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 that I then convert into current.

 

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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 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, 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 (Corsair H110i GT) radiator are turned on to high (12v).

 

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Full frontal.

 

gigabyte-z170x-soc-force-intel-z170-motherboard-reviewgigabyte-z170x-soc-force-intel-z170-motherboard-review

 

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 Overclocked 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 (Corsair H110i GT) radiator are turned on to high (12v).

 

gigabyte-z170x-soc-force-intel-z170-motherboard-reviewgigabyte-z170x-soc-force-intel-z170-motherboard-review

 

Full frontal.

 

gigabyte-z170x-soc-force-intel-z170-motherboard-reviewgigabyte-z170x-soc-force-intel-z170-motherboard-review

 

Up-close of the front of the VRM.

 

gigabyte-z170x-soc-force-intel-z170-motherboard-reviewgigabyte-z170x-soc-force-intel-z170-motherboard-review

 

Up-close of the back of the VRM.

 

The VRM on the Z170X-SOC Force is one of the best equipped on the Z170 platform. That being said, it is also total overkill. There isn't a need for 16 VCore phases, but you can see that even at load heat is well distributed so that there are no hot spots.

 

At idle many of the phases are disabled. The PEX8747 does add a significant amount of heat to the VRM heat sink and PCB and the Alpine Ridge controller adds heat to the PCB right behind the VRM. Regardless of these two major ICs, VRM thermals seem to be better here than on the Gaming G1 even though the two boards use the same VCore VRM.

 

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

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