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GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review (Page 3)

By: Steven Bassiri from Sep 3, 2015 @ 11:45 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Circuit Analysis


In my opinion, motherboards look best when they don't have any heat sinks on them, but I know a lot of you like your heat sinks so I will take them off and do the circuit inspection so you don't have to!


If you count the phases, this VRM is an 8+3 phase VRM (VCC + VCCGT). The VCCIO and VCCSA do not come from switching converters, but rather linear regulators, since they are low power rails. There are four major input rails to the CPU for Z170; VCC (VCore), VCCGT (Graphics core), VCCSA (System Agent), and VCCIO (CPU IO). Counting the phases from the top left to the bottom right, the first eight inductors (chokes) are for the CPU VCore and the other three are for the VCCGT (graphics). GIGABYTE is using a 4+3 phase PWM and the phases for the CPU VCore are doubled by doubling the components for each of the four phases, the VCCGT phases are not doubled.


The Intersil ISL95856 is a hybrid digital PWM which has a total of 4+3 phase outputs with three integrated drivers. The CPU VCC (VCore) uses all of the four phases, two drivers are integrated and two ISL6625A labeled (5AZ) are used for the third and fourth drivers. Each driver outputs to two sets of MOSFETs and two inductors. The VCCGT (integrated graphics) uses all of the three phases from the PWM and two ISL6625As are used as the second and third drivers.

The MOSFETs are from Vishay Siliconix, the SiRA12 and SiRA18 TrenchFETs (brand name) are the low-side and high-side PowerPAK MOSFETs for the CPU VCore and CPU Graphics. GIGABYTE is using its 560uF custom made Chemicon 10K Japanese capacitors as well as their power ferrite core chokes. These are the same MOSFETs that GIGABYTE used on their Z97 motherboards. The image on the right shows the linear power regulators for the VCCSA and VCCIO, the capacitor on the left outputs VCCSA and the capacitor on the right outputs the VCCIO.


The memory VRM is a single phase powered by a Richtek RT8120D PWM and the Vishay SiRA12 are used, two for the low-side and one for the high-side. This should be more than enough for most DDR4 overclocking. Intel is using two Intel NICs, the i211AT is the discrete NIC under the EMI shield not shown, and then there is the i219v which is the PHY for the integrated MAC in the PCH. This is the ideal solution for enthusiasts who prefer Intel over Killer or Realtek networking hardware.


GIGABYTE's AMP-UP audio consists of a Realtek ALC1150 under the EMI shield and a single OP1652 amplifier for the front HD audio headers for headphones. There are also 11 Nichicon gold electrolytic audio capacitors for the audio output. There is also a PCB divide, which is illuminated by 14 yellow LEDs, on the backside of the motherboard.

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