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GIGABYTE Z170X-GAMING 7 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Jan 8, 2016 8:39 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Z170X-GAMING 7 Circuit Analysis Continued

 

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One of the main selling points of this motherboard is the Creative audio. The Core3Di audio chipset (CA0132) sits under the metal shield and is a quad-core audio processor from Creative. A Texas Instruments DRV632 is used as the line driver for the backpanel output, and an OPA2134 amplifier is used for the front panel and sits in a replaceable socket. A TPS65130 provides +/- 15v for the full range of OAMP support. There are also different sizes od Nichicon Gold Series electrolytic audio capacitors and a PCB divide is illuminated by 11 backside RGB LEDs and 5x topside RGB LEDs.

 

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GIGABYTE is one of few manufacturers that use the Intel "Alpine Ridge" USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3 controller on their motherboards. At Z170 launch, GIGABYTE didn't have TB3 certification, but they had the proper hardware, so they had to wait for certification to occur. GIGABYTE was recently awarded TB3 certification for a lot of their motherboards, so they added TB3 as a specification to the board and have provided firmware updates for the TB3 controller and the HDMI 2.0 chip, both of which are needed for TB3 support. If you buy older stock of the Z170X-Gaming 7, you might need to update the firmware (download programs on GBT's site), but if you buy newer Z170X-Gaming 7s, then they should already have updated the firmware.

 

GIGABYTE is using Intel's DSL6540 and is feeding it 4x PCI-E 3.0. HDMI 2.0 provides the remaining bandwidth from a MegaChips MCDP2800. The Type-C port can be used for Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 and required the proper power delivery chip and switch; the Texas Instruments TPS65982 provides this functionality. This TB3 implementation is using Intel recommend parts.

 

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Three ASMedia ASm1480s switch SATA and PCI-E bandwidth to the top M.2 slot. A Renesas/NEC D720210 is a USB 3.0 hub that powers the internal USB 3.0 headers from a single USB 3.0 port. The iTE IT8628E provides SuperIO functionality, and there are two 128Mbit (16MB) BIOS ROMs used for Dual BIOS.

 

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The ASMedia ASM1061 provides two SATA6Gb/s ports. The four ASM1480s in a straight line switch 8x of PCI-E 3.0 from the first slot to the second for SLI/CrossFireX. There are two ASM1480s hiding under the first PCI-E slot's clip, these switch 4x between the last PCI-E 16x slot and the lower M.2 slot, that bandwidth comes from the PCH.

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