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GIGABYTE Z170X-GAMING 7 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review (Page 3)

By: Steven Bassiri from Jan 8, 2016 @ 14:39 CST
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Circuit Analysis

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I think all motherboards are more interesting when their heat sinks come off; the Z170X-Gaming 7 looks great.

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Z170X-GAMING 7 has an 8+3 phase VRM for the CPU core and iGPU. So you can either count phases by the number of switching nodes (always in marketing and almost always used by everyone) or by the actual number of PWM phases (only really purists like me enjoy doing this). In this case, each PWM phase is controlling two switching nodes (high-side FET, low-side FET(s), and inductor), and this is a very common way of increasing phase counts on Z170 motherboards. It results in more switching components, but also the ability to handle much higher power requirements and run cooler at higher loads. Either way, the VRM is controlled by an Intersil ISL95856 Hybrid Digital PWM with multiple outputs and integrated drivers.

The CPU VR utilizes four phases from the PWM, two of which have driver outputs from the PWM and two ISL6625A ("5AZ") drivers are used to supplement the phase count to four. The iGPU phases get one integrated driver, and two ISL6625A are added for a total of three phases (both true and virtual). Vishay SiRA12 are used for the low-side and Vishay SiRA18 are used on the high side. Each phase for the CPU and iGPU gets one of each. GIGABYTE is using custom inductors with the Power logo on it, and their custom 10K polymer capacitors for the output filter.

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The VCCSA and VCCIO come from a linear regulator like on many other GIGABYTE Z170 motherboards. The memory VRM is a single phase controlled by a Richtek single phase PWM with drivers. There are two low-side MOSFETs and a single high-side for this single phase memory VRM, and they do the job just fine.

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This motherboard also has dual NICs. A single i219v PHY works with the integrated MAC in the PCH for the Intel NIC. A Qualcomm Killer e2400 is also used for the gaming NIC.

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