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GIGABYTE X170-Extreme ECC (Intel C236) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Jun 10, 2016 4:11 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Packaging and Overview

 

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The X170-Extreme ECC's box is sleek and shows off its new camouflage look. There is no mention of Thunderbolt 3 on the box because GIGABYTE had not yet received Thunderbolt 3 certification at launch, but now that they have the board can now officially support it. Packaging is well done, but not the most fancy I have seen.

 

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Accessories include 4x SATA6Gb/s cables, G-connector, IO shield, SLI cable, port covers, door hanger, cable ties, cable stickers, driver DVD, and manual.

 

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The GIGABYTE X170-Extreme ECC has five fan headers. The single CPU fan header circled in red is the CPU fan header and operates as a 4-pin PWM fan. The four other headers circled in blue are 4-pin voltage mode headers that are compatible with PWM and voltage mode fans. What is blatantly obvious is the new color scheme; even the silkscreen on the motherboard has been painted to match the camouflage color scheme on the shield and heat sinks. In my opinion, it looks somewhat cool; someone could make a nice military themed workstation build with this. The rear of the motherboard is clear of ICs except for some RGB LEDs that illuminate the audio PCB divide.

 

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The IO panel on the X170-Extreme ECC carries five USB 3.0 ports (two yellow are DAC-UP), PS/2 keyboard/mouse, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, two 1Gbit NIC ports, and S/PDIF with gold plated ports for audio output.

 

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The PCI-E layout is pretty straightforward. The first and second full sized PCI-E 16x slots are hard wired to the CPU and 8x of bandwidth will switch from the top slot to the middle slot if a GPU is installed. The bottommost 16x slot is wired to the PCH and shares bandwidth with the bottommost M.2 slot. The PCI-E slots have metal shielding that is designed to support the weight of a heavy GPU.

 

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The X170-Extreme ECC has two M.2 slots, and they can be used in RAID at 32Gb/s of bandwidth each. There are also eight SATA6Gb/s ports, six of which are routed to the PCH. If you decide to RAID the M.2 slots then you will lose a total of three SATA ports, the exact ports are mentioned in the manual.

 

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There are two USB 3.0 internal headers located right below the 24-pin power connector. There are also a healthy amount of overclocking features, including power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons along with a POST Code display. Voltage read points are also present, which is a great thing since they are useful for reading the real voltage of the CPU.

 

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There is a single BIOS mode switch used to disable the Dual BIOS link for debugging and quicker recovery during overclocking (especially BLCK overclocking, like with non-K SKUs, even though that isn't officially supported).

 

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The motherboard also has two USB 2.0 ports, a trusted platform module port, and a COM port. GIGABYTE has kicked the audio section up a notch. I looked at the Z170X-Gaming G1 many months ago, and its audio was top notch.

 

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The heat sinks and shield are all screwed into the motherboard, and we can see that the audio shield has LED diffusers.

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