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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

Circuit Analysis

 

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The Z170X-SOC Force is looking nice without the heat sinks, and you can see how much silicon you get for the money.

 

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This motherboard carries a 16+4+1+1 phase (VCore, VCCGT, VCCSA, VCCIO) VRM. It is rare that we find such high phase count VRMs on the Z170 platform, and it is overkill even in this case. What is impressive is that GIGABYTE maintains high-quality power stages even with high phase count and extends them not only to the iGPU but also to the VCCIO and VCCSA. CPU power is controlled by three separate digital PWMs and GIGABYTE's custom 10K black capacitors from ChemiCon are used.

 

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There are two International Rectifier IR35201 6+2 (or 8+0 mode) digital PWMs. The IR35201 is the preferred PWM for extreme overclocking. The first one is providing 8 phases, each to an IR3599 phase doubler, which outputs two phases. Each of those two phases goes to an International Rectifier IR3553 40A integrated power stage, for a total of 16 phases. The second IR3201 provides 4 phases directly to four IR3553 for the iGPU (VCCGT).

 

An International Rectifier IR3570A (3+2 phase digital PWM) provides two phases to two IR3553, one for the VCCSA and one for VCCIO. The PEX8747 is an 8W monster bridge chip that takes in 16x and outputs 32x of PCI-E 3.0, and it gets its own single phase VRM powered by a Richtek RT8120D and some Vishay Siliconix SiRA12 and SiRA18 PowerPAK MOSFETs.

 

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The DDR4 gets its own IR3570 that provides 2+1 phases for the DDR main rail and the DDR VPP. Both the DDR4 main rail and the DDR4 VPP rail get IR3553 40A integrated power stages, two for the main rail and one for the VPP. This is overkill for DDR4, and should facilitate any DDR4 power requirements.

 

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Intel's Alpine Ridge controller is used here. It supports ThunderBolt 3.0 when the chip is properly configured, but, in this case, it is configured for USB 3.1 only. The Intel chip is labeled DSL6540, and a Texas Instruments HDS3212 is used for the Type-C port and provides USB Power Delivery support.

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