This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1.
Everything Included: Apart from having one of the highest capacity VRMs for the Intel Z170 chipset, the Z170X-Gaming G1 has to be one of the most feature packed motherboards. While this is kind of expected since the Z170 chipset is the most feature packed, GIGABYTE went above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to adding features. They not only added 4-way SLI/CrossFireX support, but also the latest Intel USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3.0 controller and two extra SATA controllers. The board also comes with 13 possible USB 3.0 ports and two 32Gb/s M.2 slots. GIGABYTE even paid attention to the Wi-Fi/BT antennas providing a retention bracket for the MMCX connections which do not use the screw-in method. If all that wasn't enough, GIGABYTE also provides a USB 3.1 front panel bay so that you can use USB 3.1 devices through the front of your case.
Latest Gaming Features: When it comes to gaming, GIGABYTE has provided the latest in Killer networking technology and really upgraded the on-board audio to rival that of the Creative ZxR sound cards which cost a decent amount of money and take up PCI-E space. The Killer DoubleShot X3 Pro is quite interesting, and while it is only useful in certain situations, it's kind of cool to watch different applications get assigned different NICs through the software. In my opinion, the audio implementation is much more interesting. I spotted six audio amplifiers, and I was impressed with amplifier selection for the back panel DIP sockets. The added DAC is also quite nice, and the fact that GIGABYTE went and got Creative's 120+ dB certification is a plus.
Aesthetics and RGB LEDs: These days aesthetics are as important as fan control, and GIGABYTE has done a great job with red and white. While many people think red is overdone these days, GIGABYTE's addition of a little red to a lot of white looks very nice in person and even in pictures. The RGBs add to this by providing a level of customization that wasn't possible in the past, and GIGABYTE even added the RGBs to every corner of the motherboard, and provides the ability to disable the back-panel IO's LEDs or all of them in case you don't like lights.
Two Flavors of USB 3.1: GIGABYTE's Z170 line is the first with Intel's dual Thunderbolt 3.0 and USB 3.1 controller, and GIGABYTE has provided buyers of the Z170X Gaming G1 with the ASMedia USB 3.1 controller for the front panel USB 3.1. Overall the IO capabilities provided by both the front and rear USB 3.1 ports is immense, as is the fact that GIGABYTE routed 4x PCI-E 3.0 to the Intel controller for 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 3.0 through the Type-C connector. To make matters even better, they implemented the correct hardware in both the rear and front USB Type-C implementations for USB's Power Delivery protocol.
3-Way and 4-way Multi-GPU Capabilities: Only boards with the PEX8747 bridge chip can do 3-way and 4-way SLI on the Z170 platform because of NVIDIA's SLI requirements. The board also offers the ability to do 4-way CrossFireX. If you want to have more than two cards on Z170, the Z170X-Gaming G1 has you covered.
OC Features: GIGABYTE didn't omit the POST code and basic OC features from the Z170X Gaming G1, and I think that was a very wise choice. The POST code and voltage read points are useful to both overclockers and gamers, as well as anyone else who really wants to know what's up. Since CPU-Z is showing a +0.7v VCore offset, when I set 1.3v in the UEFI CPUz reports 1.8v, which would scare some, and the voltage read points are useful in this case, so that users can see that what they set is actually what they get.
BIOS needs GUI fan control: While GIGABYTE implemented seven fan headers with control over all of them, I would have liked to see some type of GUI fan control in the BIOS. GIGABYTE has this feature in Windows, but many people like to have it in the UEFI as well so that the profiles are applied from startup and no extra software is needed. Most of GIGABYTE's competitors have some sort of GUI for fan control, and while GIGABYTE does offer some sort of customized control, I think a GUI would benefit users much more.
Single GPU Performance: Since the Z170X-Gaming G1 has a PLX bridge chip, the PEX8747, the chip adds a bit of latency which is apparent when only a single GPU is used. While this is true about most boards with a PEX8747 (there are some notable exceptions), it is still a downside to using that chip.
This is one crazy packed motherboard. It has all the latest technologies from Intel, Killer, and Creative and they are all implemented well. The Intel USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3.0 controller is implemented with the proper hardware for the USB Power Delivery specification and integrated graphics switching, Killer's latest NICs are implemented so they can work together, and Creative's hardware is implemented like it is on a sound card with the addition of replaceable amplifiers and dedicated DAC. Hardware choice on this motherboard is top notch, the VRM is total overkill and you would expect that from a Z170 motherboard that costs more than most X99 motherboards.
At $500, the Z170X Gaming G1 is without a doubt one of the most expensive and well equipped Z170 motherboards on the market. It's targeting users who want superlative capabilities, not only for now, but also for the future. This kind of product is specifically targeted at people who have the cash to dish out on multiple video cards to compliment the PLX bridge and want the latest technologies and features. That being said, I would like to see improved fan control options in the UEFI, I thought out of everything that was one area where I wanted more. GIGABYTE has brought to market a real flagship motherboard with a flagship price.
|Performance (including Overclocking)||95%|
|Quality including Design and Build||96%|
|Bundle and Packaging||97%|
|Value for Money||90%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||95%|
The Bottom Line: If price is no object and you want the latest technologies, features, and high quality in one package, then you should definitely give GIGABYTE's Z170X-Gaming G1 a look.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and the Z170X-Gaming G1]
- Page 3 [GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup and RGB LEDs]
- Page 7 [Overclocking]
- Page 8 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption]
- Page 11 [What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]