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-UD5.
Lots of Connectivity Options for the Price: GIGABYTE has done a decent job of offering up a lot of ports and slots above what the standard Intel configuration provides. GIGABYTE not only added a second NIC, but also two extra SATA ports. Most people prefer connections directly from the Intel PCH as performance and compatibility are usually much better compared to third-party controllers. GIGABYTE doesn't use any hubs on its motherboard, but it does use a decent amount of switches to allow users to choose whether they want to use an M.2 based devices or one that plugs directly into a PCI-E slot or SATA/SATA Express port.
This might seem a bit tricky, as many users figure that all ports should work at all times, but GIGABYTE has highlighted in the manual and specifications on their site what connections will work with different configurations. For example, many people are looking into NVMe storage, and NVMe comes in different form factors. The Z170X-UD5 lets you decide which you want to use. The last PCI-E slot and bottom most M.2 connector share the same 4x PCI-E 3.0, and you can chose which NVMe form factor you want to use. At this price range, you can't expect more PCI-E connectivity than is allotted by the PCH, but with the switches, at least you can pick the form factor to use. The high number of SATA Express also means you will be able to hook up an aftermarket USB 3.1 front panel bay device if you so choose.
Dual Intel NICs: It isn't very common to see dual Intel NICs on motherboards anymore, but the Z170X-UD5 provides just that. Many people prefer Intel NICs over others because of their low latency and reputation. Nevertheless, the performance of both Intel NICs is quite strong, and in this price range many boards are using Killer's gaming solutions, but the Z170X-UD5 is using more of a workstation implementation.
All Direct Intel USB 3.0 and Intel USB 3.1: All USB 3.0 comes directly from the Intel PCH and doesn't go through any hubs. GIGABYTE is using seven USB 3.0 connections from the PCH, one above the normal amount. All USB 3.1 comes from Intel's "Alpine Ridge" USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3.0 controller. While the Intel "Alpine Ridge" controller on this board is only configured for USB 3.1, it still should offer the performance levels we have come to expect from Intel products.
OC Features: GIGABYTE made sure to include a POST code display and even voltage read points, along with the standard power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons we have come to expect as part of the overclocking package. At this price point, it is very nice to see these features. On top of the standard OC features, there also is an OC button for an automatic overclock and an ECO button for power savings. There is also a dual BIOS disable switch.
Aesthetics: GIGABYTE has shifted from all gold heat sinks to black heat sinks with hints of gold, and I think they are moving in the right direction. People look for motherboards that will match the rest of their system, and to be honest, there aren't many gold accessories, but little hints of gold in this case can be kind of appealing. The LED lighting and Nichicon gold capacitors match the gold hints in the heat sinks, and I am not sure if this was done purposely, but the matching is quite nice.
BIOS could have GUI fan control: While you do have a nice GUI and much better fan control in Windows, the fan control the UEFI hasn't changed for years. While GIGABYTE has expanded fan control to individual control over every header on the motherboard, the "custom" option in the UEFI is limited compared to some competitors.
No BIOS selector switch: While GIGABYTE provides a Dual BIOS disable switch and two BIOS ROMs, they do not provide the dual BIOS selector switch. I applaud the OC features, but I would trade the ECO button for a dual BIOS selector switch or even jumpers.
At $189.99 at the time of writing, the Z170X-UD5's price is very competitive. Dual NICs, good allotment of storage options, Intel USB 3.1, and OC features put it among the better values in the $200 price point. GIGABYTE's attention to quality is also present, and component selection is good. While the VRM on the Z170X-UD5 doesn't come close to the VRM on the Z170X-GAMING G1, it also comes in at less than half the price. Overclocking was pretty easy to accomplish, and memory overclocking should be good enough for the majority of users. The board performed well under the thermal camera as well.
I had two caveats with the board; there is no BIOS selector switch and they could have provided more BIOS based fan control, but other than those two things, I couldn't really nitpick much more. Performance all around was decent; the board is well rounded and should do well in almost all situations. The Z170X-UD5 performs in all types of benchmarks, especially when it comes to IO testing such as USB.
|Performance (including Overclocking)||95%|
|Quality including Design and Build||90%|
|Bundle and Packaging||88%|
|Value for Money||90%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||91%|
The Bottom Line: Overall the GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 provides a very good feature set and great performance at a competitive price. If you are in the market for a well-rounded motherboard, then you should give this board a look.
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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]