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GIGABYTE Z170X-Ultra Gaming Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Aug 11, 2016 4:46 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Here are key points about the GIGABYTE Z170X-Ultra Gaming.

 

What's Hot

 

NVMe Storage Delight: The Z170X-Ultra Gaming carries U.2 and M.2 ports, each can operate at 32Gb/s and support the latest in NVMe storage. You can even RAID the U.2, M.2, and last PCI-E x16 slot because of the way GIGABYTE has set up the storage subsystem of the motherboard. The motherboard fully supports the latest in connectivity; it's even written on the PCB. What I like about the design is that there is little switching (other than disabled SATA ports), so you can use U.2 without affecting the M.2 port.

 

 

Thunderbolt 3 and 100W USB PD2: GIGABYTE originally launched the Z170X-Ultra Gaming with the correct hardware for Thunderbolt 3, but without the certification. They weren't able to advertise it, but since its initial release, GIGABYTE has received certification, and instructions on how to update your Z170X-Ultra Gaming to provide Thunderbolt 3 are on GIGABYTE's product page.

 

While Thunderbolt 3 on such an inexpensive motherboard is quite awesome, 100W USB Power Delivery 2.0 support is even more impressive. GIGABYTE has implemented a step up converter, allowing a maximum output of 20v at 5A, which is part of USB specifications. The Z170X-Ultra Gaming is ready for the future of USB.

 

Color Neutral: The matte black PCB matched with the black heat sinks and shield produces a very color neutral motherboard. With the red LEDs turned off, the Z170X-Ultra Gaming could match almost any color scheme your heart desires.

 

BIOS and Fan Control: GIGABYTE's new UEFI was easy to navigate and feature rich. They have added in GUI based fan control which makes installing fan control software in Windows redundant, so you don't need to bloat your OS. The new UEFI has good LED control too, making Windows software unnecessary. While I understand that some people are hesitant to enter the UEFI at all, it's better to have the option to change things in the UEFI instead of in Windows, since a lot of the software can cause issues. GIGABYTE's latest generation of UEFI BIOS provides users much more flexibility than before.

 

What's Not

 

Onboard Audio: Many people don't care that much about onboard audio, but some do. GIGABYTE used an ALC892 instead of the common ALC1150 with amplifiers, and because of this audio, performance is slightly poorer compared to other motherboards.

 

No RGB LEDs: If GIGABYTE had put on RGB LEDs on this motherboard rather than red LEDs, they would have had one killer product on their hands. The motherboard's color neutral black would have gone great with RGBs allowing users to change the color theme to whatever they choose, but alas we only get red.

 

VRM not Over-Built: The Z170X-Ultra Gaming's VRM is what I would consider the minimum for overclocking a 6700K. You will be able to pull off a 4.5-4.8GHz 24/7 OC, but anything over that might be pushing it.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

GIGABYTE's Z170X-Ultra Gaming is a feature-loaded product at a very fair price. At $170, it offers Thunderbolt 3 with 100W USB Power Delivery 2 support, U.2, M.2, Intel NIC, and a sleek heat sinks/shield design. My biggest gripe with the product is that it uses red LEDs instead of RGBs. If you want a red color theme, and many of you do, then this product hits the nail on the head when it comes to aesthetics, but for some of us who would prefer to choose our color, it could be a bit on the duller side of things. Apart from aesthetics, motherboard performance was top notch.

 

gigabyte-z170x-ultra-gaming-motherboard-review_99

 

The Z170X-Ultra Gaming is what I would consider a Z170 refresh model. It has much of what was missing from earlier GIGABYTE Z170 motherboards, including better UEFI fan control, U.2, and Thunderbolt 3. Since the product costs only $170 and offers so many premium features, you are going to take a hit in some feature aspects. I have to say that giving up higher quality onboard audio for other features is a good trade. The Z170X-Ultra Gaming is an excellent value for any gamer who wants to run the latest connectivity, have excellent support for future Type-C peripherals, and wants something that looks great in red.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking)91%
Quality including Design and Build89%
General Features92%
Bundle and Packaging86%
Value for Money95%
Overall TweakTown Rating91%

The Bottom Line: GIGABYTE's Z170X-Ultra Gaming is loaded with all the latest in premium features, including Thunderbolt 3, U.2, and 100W USB PD2 support at a price that is very hard to beat.

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