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GIGABYTE Z170X-Designare Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Aug 18, 2016 4:49 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Packaging and Overview

 

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The Z170X-Designare's box has a rainbow colored racecar plastered on the box to represent the RGB LEDs and high-performance aspect of the product. Packaging is typical of that from GIGABYTE. The motherboard is in a secondary box and accessories are individually packaged.

 

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Accessories include 4x SATA6Gb/s cables, IO shield, SLI connector, RGB Cable extension, Velcro cable ties, G-Connector, storage device stickers, G1 case badge, door hanger, driver DVD, and manuals.

 

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The GIGABYTE Z170X-Designare has a total of five 4-pin fan headers. The header circled in red is the CPU fan and supports PWM only operation. The two blue headers are voltage mode 4-pin headers, capable of controlling PWM and voltage mode fans through voltage mode. The two headers circled in green will support PWM or voltage mode fans, and you can select the control mode in the UEFI.

 

The motherboard has RGB LEDs all over, and you can change the color theme of the motherboard through the UEFI or Windows software. While the motherboard can change its color to your choosing, it goes well with blue since the heat sinks highlights are blue. The back of the motherboard is bare of components.

 

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The IO panel on the Z170X-Designare carries four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, mini DisplayPort, mini DisplayPort in (for ThunderBolt), PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse, USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3 Type-C connector, DisplayPort, HDMI, 2x RJ-45 Intel LAN, and 7.1 gold plated audio outputs with S/PDIF.

 

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The PCI-E layout is very simple. The first and second reinforced x16 PCI-E slots are wired to the CPU and operate at x16/x0 or x8/x8 and support SLI/CrossFireX. The last full-sized x16 slot is electrically x4 and is connected to the PCH; it is also where your third Intel 750 drive would go in case you wanted to RAID three drives. The two PCI-E x1 slots are wired to the PCH.

 

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A x4 PCI-E 3.0 M.2 slot provides up to 32Gbps of throughput. A single USB 3.0 internal header sits below the 24-pin motherboard power connector.

 

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The U.2 connector that provides 32Gbps sits adjacent to the two SATA Express connectors that double as four SATA6Gb/s ports. Two other SATA6Gb/s ports sit straight up in the lower right-hand corner of the motherboard.

 

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The Z170X-Designare even has overclocking features. A very useful POST code display is located at the top right-hand corner of the motherboard. There is also an easy OC button for a pre-programed overclock, power button, reset button, and clear CMOS button. At the bottom row of the motherboard, there is a TPM header, two USB 2.0 headers, and an RGB LED header.

 

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The heat sinks are all solid aluminum, as are the shields. They are all screwed down and make great contact with the motherboard.

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