Many have said that Intel Z170 motherboards are boring; they say that there is not much variation in features and capabilities. The truth is that even though most boards have the same features in terms of connectivity, they are very different, and manufacturers have made sure of that. In the past, the Intel PCH (platform controller hub) could be complemented by many third-party controllers to provide extra connectivity, but Z170 already packs more punch than all Z97 motherboards without additional controllers. This means that product differentiation must come from things other than connectivity. To evaluate motherboards these days, you must not only look at connectivity and performance, but also at aesthetics, component quality, and unique features.
Like most manufacturers, GIGABYTE has revamped their entire lineup, but they kept their traditional numbering scheme. GIGABYTE's main lineup has traditionally been their Ultra Durable series that offers quality and features at an affordable price tag. The UD5 series has traditionally been an interesting one, and the Z170X-UD5 is no exception. GIGABYTE recently sent over the Z170X-UD5 for us to test and evaluate, and today I will share my experience with this product.
The Z170X-UD5 is a well-rounded motherboard. It uses all of Intel's basic features from the PCH and even adds more. GIGABYTE added two extra SATA ports on top of Intel's six, used seven USB 3.0 connections directly from the PCH, and added a second Intel NIC. The board is PCI-E heavy as well, and while it only supports up to 2-way SLI and 3-way CrossFireX (like the majority of Z170 motherboards), the last full sized 16x slot is a 4x slot that shares its bandwidth with the M2 slot.
There are two M.2 slots, the one that doesn't share its bandwidth with the PCI-E 16x (4x slot) does share with four of the SATA ports. In the end, GIGABYTE offers a wide assortment of possible connectivity options. The specifications of this board are quite good, especially considering the board has all the latest features, including Intel USB 3.1.
The GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 is currently priced at $189.99 on Newegg and Amazon at the time of writing, both with free shipping. That is in the middle of most Z170 motherboards, but at around the $200 mark, I start expecting things like high quality components and OC features, and the Z170X-UD5 has both.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and the Z170X-UD5]
- Page 3 [Z170X-UD5 Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [Z170X-UD5 Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup]
- 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]
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