Epic Thanksgiving Giveaway: MSI GeForce RTX 3080 GAMING X TRIO!

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

It would be nice if we could all just buy the most expensive motherboard out, but when we can't, we should look at products like GIGABYTE's Z170X-Gaming 6.

@StevenBassiriTT
Published Thu, Feb 18 2016 8:12 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

About a month ago I took a look at one of GIGABYTE's main gaming series motherboards, the Z170X-Gaming 7. Today I have their Z170X-Gaming 6 in the test bench, a more affordable and less equipped version of the popular Z170X-Gaming 7.

Looking purely at the spec sheet doesn't reveal why the Z170X-Gaming 6 costs roughly $20-30 less than the Gaming 7. At first glance, the Z170X-Gaming 7 has totally different aesthetics, but underneath the hood, many differences justify the existence of both models instead of just one.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 01 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 101 IMAGES

It's no secret that motherboard manufacturers are trying to produce as many models to hit as many price points as possible. Differentiating motherboards is harder than ever with the Intel Z170 chipset since most of the basic features are integrated into the PCH. However, motherboard manufacturers have been improving their custom features to levels not seen before to try and provide features that buyers are willing to pay for. Let's see what the Z170X-Gaming 6 has to offer in the sub-$200 range.

Specifications

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 02 | TweakTown.com

The GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 has some high-end features including USB 3.1 (Type-C and Type-A), dual NICs (Intel and Killer), Creative XFI MB3 audio (based on Realtek), dual 32Gb/s M.2 slots, and support for 3-way CrossFireX and 2-way SLI.

Pricing

The Z170X-Gaming 6 is available from many large retailers such as Amazon for roughly $190.

Packaging and Z170X-Gaming 6 Overview

Packaging and Overview

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 03 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 04 | TweakTown.com

The Z170X-Gaming 6's box is quite basic; the "Heroes of the Storm" co-marketing is used like on other GIGABYTE Z170 gaming series motherboards. Packaging is basic but effective; the motherboard is in an anti-static bag with a cardboard protective layer.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 05 | TweakTown.com

Accessories include labeled IO Shield, 4x SATA6Gb/s cables (clear), G-Connector, Do-Not-Disturb door hanger, SLI bridge, G1 gaming case badge, driver DVD, and manuals. The Z170X-Gaming 7 had some upgrades in this area including an RGB LED lit up IO shield and dust covers for video outputs.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 06 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 07 | TweakTown.com

The GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 has five fan headers. The single header circled in green is a 4-pin PWM header and the four blue are voltage mode headers (otherwise known as DC mode). All headers can be controlled through the UEFI or Windows.

The aesthetics of the Z170X-Gaming 6 are much different than that of the Z170X-Gaming 7, the white has been replaced with black, and there is much less shield coverage, so more of the PCB is showing. The Z170X-Gaming 6 will stick out less and blend into the case better than the Z170X-Gaming 7, but I do like the white shield on the Gaming 7. The back of the Z170X-Gaming 6 is bare, which is a good thing. The only thing on the back of the Z170X-Gaming 6 are some red LEDs that illuminate the audio PCB divide.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 08 | TweakTown.com

The IO panel on the Z170X-Gaming 6 carries three USB 3.0 ports, PS/2 keyboard/mouse, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 3.1 Type-C, two 1Gbit NIC ports, four USB 2.0 (two yellow are DAC-UP), and S/PDIF with gold plated TOSLINK for audio output.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 09 | TweakTown.com

The PCI-E layout is identical to that of the Z170X-Gaming 7. The first two PCI-E slots are wired to the CPU and work at 16x/0x or 8x/8x. The last PCI-E 16x slot is a 4x slot that shares bandwidth with one of the M.2 slots. There are two M.2 slots, and they share bandwidth with three of the SATA 6Gb/s ports, but you need to reference the manual to see what will be disabled (sometimes all three SATA ports aren't disabled). The Z170X-Gaming 6 also carries GIGABYTE's AMP-UP audio solution based on a Realtek codec.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 10 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 11 | TweakTown.com

All of the SATA6Gb/s ports on the Z170X-Gaming 6 are from the PCH and can be used as three SATA Express ports if you have those devices. Some are shared with some of the M.2 slots for RAID ability, so you need to check the manual if you are going to use many drives. There are two internal USB 3.0 headers located south of the 24-pin power connector.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 12 | TweakTown.com

I expect a POST code display on motherboards that cost $200, but the Z170X-Gaming 6 has one even though it's a bit less expensive, which is great. There aren't many other overclocking features (the Z170X-Gaming 7 has them), but there are two buttons for built-in profiles (OC and ECO buttons).

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 13 | TweakTown.com

The heat sinks on the Z170X-Gaming 6 made great contact with the motherboard, and everything is held down by screws.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 Circuit Analysis

Circuit Analysis

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 14 | TweakTown.com

I think all motherboards are more interesting when their heat sinks come off.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 15 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 16 | TweakTown.com

The Z170X-Gaming 6 has an 8+3 phase VRM for the CPU core and iGPU, identical to that of the Z170X-Gaming 7. The Intersil ISL95856 hybrid-digital PWM controller provides 4+3 phases with multiple integrated drivers. To provide all 4+3 phases, GIGABYTE added a few Intersil ISL6625A ("5AZ") to supplement the integrated drivers. Each driver controls the equivalent hardware of two separate phases, so GIGABYTE can market it as 8+3 phases.

This type of virtual phase doubling is common, and since Intel Skylake CPUs do not eat power up, it will not impede overclocking. For MOSFETs, GIGABYTE is using Vishay SiRA12 for the low-side and SiRA18 for the high-side MOSFETs. These MOSFETs are in the PowerPAK package, and they work just fine on the Z170X-Gaming 7, so I expect the same on the Z170X-Gaming 6. GIGABYTE is using their custom "Power" inductors and their 10K polymer black capacitors.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 17 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 18 | TweakTown.com

The VCCSA and VCCIO come from a simple linear circuit. The memory is a single phase made up of a Realtek RT8120 single phase PWM with integrated driver and the same Vishay MOSFETs as the CPU VRM, but with two low-side MOSFETs instead of one.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 Circuit Analysis Continued

Z170X-Gaming 6 Circuit Analysis Continued

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 19 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 20 | TweakTown.com

The audio on the Z170X-Gaming 6 isn't as beefy as that on the Z170X-Gaming 7. Instead of a Core3Di controller, GIGABYTE is using a Realtek ALC1150. GIGABYTE does provide the DIP socket with a BurrBrown OPA2134 amplifier. GIGABYTE provides DIP switches for gain control and Nichicon Gold series capacitors for better fidelity. There are 13 red LEDs located along the PCB divide, and they illuminate the PCB divide quite well.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 21 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 22 | TweakTown.com

The Z170X-Gaming 7 has dual NICs; one from Intel (i219v) and the other from Killer (e2201). I was expecting the new e2400 like the Z170X-Gaming 7, but instead, GIGABYTE is providing the e2201 which is the older model. I was expecting an ASMedia USB 3.1 controller; I was surprised to find Intel's USB 3.1 controller labeled DSL6540. There is also a Texas Instruments type-C switch to support the reversible standard.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 23 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 24 | TweakTown.com

An iTE IT8628E is used as the main SuperIO chip that controls the fans and monitors temperatures and voltages. The board has Dual BIOS made up for two 16MB (128Mbit) ROMs. There is also a Genesys Logic USB 2.0 hub under the last PCI-E 16x slot to expand the internal USB 2.0 headers. Three ASMedia ASM1480 PCI-E quick switches switch SATA bandwidth to the M.2 slots.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 25 | TweakTown.com

The straight line of four ASMedia 1480 quick switches moves 8x PCI-E 3.0 from the first 16x slot to the second. The other two switches are used to switch 4x of PCI-E 3.0 from the last 16x slot to one of the M.2 slots.

BIOS and Software

BIOS

GIGABYTE's Z170 UEFI is standardized among all of their models. An advanced mode provides all the settings you need to change, and for the most part, the UEFI is quite stable, and there aren't many bugs. It has been a while since Z170 launched, so I expect the UEFI to be stable. GIGABYTE has added features as time goes on to improve user experience, one of them is the "mouse speed" option below.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 26 | TweakTown.com

The UEFI also has all the overclocking settings you need to overclock Skylake. Overclocking is straightforward, and there are more options than you will need, but it's simple enough so you won't be overwhelmed.

Fan control is quite basic compared to competitors in the UEFI, so if you want more than a few PWM settings, then you should look into GIGABYTE's in-Windows "System Information Viewer" program.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 27 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 28 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 29 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 30 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 31 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 32 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 33 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 34 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 35 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 36 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 37 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 38 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 39 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 40 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 41 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 42 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 43 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 44 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 45 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 46 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 47 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 48 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 49 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 50 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 51 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 52 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 53 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 54 | TweakTown.com
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 55 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 56 | TweakTown.com

Software

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 57 | TweakTown.com

While the Z170X-Gaming 6 doesn't have a Creative chip onboard, GIGABYTE did license the Sound Blaster X-Fi3 MB software for extra features. Killer's Network Manager is also included for the Killer NIC.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 58 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 59 | TweakTown.com

GIGABYTE provides @BIOS, Ambient LED, USB Block, Home Cloud, APP Center (with auto update), Home Cloud, EasyTune, System Information Viewer, Fast Boot, Smart Backup, and Platform power management.

Test System Setup

Steven's Motherboard Test System Specifications

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 60 | TweakTown.com

The Z170X-Gaming 6 blends into the black of the case and the red highlights match the red LEDs.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 61 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 62 | TweakTown.com

RGB LEDs don't light the IO shield, but it is well labeled so you can figure out what each port does. The LEDs that illuminate the audio PCB divide are bright enough and there are different operating modes for the LEDs.

The new test bench is designed to test every aspect of the motherboard and IO. I have designed it so that the motherboard sits in a case and is cooled by fans always-on at a constant rate to keep the conditions similar during all tests. I have cut out part of the case behind the motherboard so I can get thermal images of the back of the PCB where the VRM heat spreads. System and CPU power measurements are now digitally logged.

I am also using a Netgear Nighthawk X4 AC2350 for our network (including wireless AC) tests. The latest M.2, SSD, and USB technologies are also being utilized to test the maximum potential of the motherboards that are tested.

Overclocking

Overclocking Results

CPU Overclocking

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 63 | TweakTown.com

I have decided to reduce the CPU VCore to 1.4v applied (I will measure real VCore at the output capacitors), and see how high I can validate. The Z170X-Gaming 6 does 5GHz just like most other motherboards.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 64 | TweakTown.com

On the Z170X-Gaming 6, I was able to run 4.8GHz core, 4.2GHz cache, and DDR4 2666MHz as a stable overclock.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 65 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 66 | TweakTown.com

I went ahead and indicated where you can read the different voltages for overclocking since there are no voltage read points. I also measured the VCore manually with and without LLC so that you can see how the LLC works in case software VCore readings are off (which they many times are).

Compatible Memory Overclocking Kits

Test 1: 4x8GB (32GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX 2666MHz C16

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 67 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 68 | TweakTown.com

The board was able to boot up on four of these sticks at XMP without issue.

Test 2: 4x4GB (16GB) Corsair Dominator Platinum 3200Mhz C16

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 69 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 70 | TweakTown.com

This kit also worked quite well with the motherboard.

Test 3: 2x4GB (8GB) G.Skill Trident Z 3733MHz C17

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 71 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 72 | TweakTown.com

GIGABYTE officially supports up to DDR4 3466MHz, but I was able to run this 3733Mhz kit without issue. If you run a higher speed kit, check GIGABYTE's memory QVL list for compatibility.

CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks

CINEBENCH 11.5

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 73 | TweakTown.com

wPrime

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 74 | TweakTown.com

AIDA64 AES and HASH

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 75 | TweakTown.com

AIDA64 FPU

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 76 | TweakTown.com

AIDA64 Memory

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 77 | TweakTown.com

PCMark8 Home Test

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 78 | TweakTown.com

3DMark: Cloud Gate

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 79 | TweakTown.com

3DMark: Fire Strike

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 80 | TweakTown.com

3DMark: IceStorm

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 81 | TweakTown.com

GIGABYTE's Z170X-Gaming 6 is not using multi-core enhancement so stock performance will be lower than that of many other motherboards. The motherboard isn't going to be tuned as much as an overclocking motherboard, but overall performance was good when I standardized the CPU, cache, and memory frequencies.

Some motherboard reviews put a lot of weight into motherboard CPU, memory, and GPU benchmarks, but for me CPU, memory, and GPU benchmarks on motherboards should be more about finding anomalies, and I do that at standard settings (4.5G in graphs).

System IO Benchmarks

CrystalDiskMark SATA6G:

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 82 | TweakTown.com

CrystalDiskMark M.2:

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 83 | TweakTown.com

CrystalDiskMark USB 3.0:

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 84 | TweakTown.com

ixChariot Network Throughput:

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 85 | TweakTown.com

The Z170X-GAMING 6 has solid IO performance. Storage is marginally faster than the Z170X-Gaming 7.

Audio RMAA 5.5:

I disable all audio features, set the correct bitrates, and then test the audio with a loopback test.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 86 | TweakTown.com

Sound Judgment by Ear: Very good, but not as good as some other motherboards with beefier circuitry. There are five ratings for audio: 1. Problems, 2. Okay, 3. Acceptable, 4. Very good, 5. Excellent

Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption

System power usage is measured at the AC/DC PSU (the Corsair AX1200i) which I have connected to another system to measure the test system, and as a backup, I have a wall meter to verify. The CPU power is measured through the 8-pin connector, which is hooked up to a hall effect IC, which measures current and puts out a voltage in proportion to the current. That voltage is logged by a National Instruments ADC, which logs the DC voltage level that I then convert into current.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 87 | TweakTown.com

Note on Thermal Images: In the temperature section, we use our Seek thermal imaging camera to capture the surface temperatures of major components on the board. I look at the VRM and then all other things that light up the screen. If there is something to worry about, then I will state it. Otherwise, I will just show the hotter running parts of the board for fun. Unless some component is over 80-90C, then there isn't anything to worry about.

All systems will act differently, so I will look for commonalities, such as how far from the VRM the heat spreads through the PCB and the difference in temperature between the front side and backside of the PCB. Keep in mind, the majority of the heat from the VRM goes into the PCB as it is a giant soldered on copper heat sink. A larger difference in temperature between the back and front of the PCB points towards a more effective heat sink.

Thermal Testing at Stock Speeds:

The image on the left is always at idle, and the image on the right is at load. During ALL TESTS, fans above the VRM that cool the CPU cooler's (Corsair H110i GT) radiator are turned on to high (12v).

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 88 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 89 | TweakTown.com

Full frontal.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 90 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 91 | TweakTown.com

Up-close of the front of the VRM.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 92 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 93 | TweakTown.com

Up-close of the back of the VRM.

Thermal Testing at 4.5GHz Overclocked Speeds:

The image on the left is always at idle, and the image on the right is at load. During ALL TESTS, fans above the VRM that cool the CPU cooler's (Corsair H110i GT) radiator are turned on to high (12v).

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 94 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 95 | TweakTown.com

Full frontal.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 96 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 97 | TweakTown.com

Up-close of the front of the VRM.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 98 | TweakTown.comGIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 99 | TweakTown.com

Up-close of the back of the VRM.

The VRM on the Z170X-Gaming 6 performs very well. Overall temperatures never broke 50C; granted ambient was a bit lower than usual because of the outside weather. Heatsink effectiveness is average; temperatures on the back are only slightly higher than that on the front even though there are no backside MOSFETs. The VRM is very capable and can handle any water/air-cooled overclock with ease.

Anything under 60C is great, 60-80C is acceptable, and anything above 80C is a bit worrisome (if at stock).

What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts

Here are key points about the GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6.

What's Hot

Excellent Feature to Price Ratio: The Z170X-Gaming 6 has an almost identical IO feature set compared to the Gaming 7, minus a few frills and upgrades. At under $200, the Z170X-Gaming 6 competes head to head with the Z170X-Gaming 7 and other more expensive motherboards, which are north of the $200 price point. If you do not care about having a Creative audio controller over a Realtek, you don't care about the lit up IO shield, and you can spare some of the OC buttons and switches, the Z170X-Gaming 6 comes out to be a great value product.

Dual NICs and M.2: Just like the Z170X-Gaming 7, the Z170X-Gaming 6 has dual Ultra M.2 slots (32Gb/s) and dual NICs. Granted, you cannot team an Intel NIC and a Killer NIC, but two is better than one. You can RAID the M.2 slots.

AMP-UP with Creative X-Fi MB Software: People like features and audio is one region where GIGABYTE has focused heavily on even with lower priced boards such as the Z170X-Gaming 6. While the Z170X-Gaming 7 has beefier audio hardware, the Z170X-Gaming 6 is not a slacker. To sweeten the deal a bit more, GIGABYTE licensed Creative's X-Fi audio software to work with the Realtek implementation, offering a little extra dazzle.

Intel USB 3.1: I thought that GIGABYTE was going to use the common ASMedia ASM1142 USB 3.1 controller, since it is much less expensive than the Intel USB 3.1 controller, but I was pleasantly surprised to find Intel's USB 3.1 controller in use.

What's Not

You will need to read the manual if you have multiple SATA drives and want to use both M.2 slots: GIGABYTE uses five ASMedia quick switches to switch SATA, M.2, and PCH PCI-E bandwidth between the slots and ports. While this is the case for all Z170 motherboards that support M.2 RAID and SATA based M.2 modules, it can be confusing as to which ports will be disabled when using SATA and M.2 at the same time. You are going to need to read the manual to find out which SATA ports will be disabled when using different M.2 modules.

Final Thoughts

GIGABYTE's Z170X-Gaming 6 looks much different than the Z170X-Gaming 7, and it is the board which differentiates between GIGABYTE's high-end gaming models and their more mainstream and affordable products. When I first received the Z170X-Gaming 6, I felt as if it was GIGABYTE's replacement for the Gaming 7, but it is just a toned down version with less flash.

GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 6 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review 100 | TweakTown.com

Coming in at around $190, the Z170X-Gaming 6 offers a premium feature set in a very competitive price bracket. Compared to the competition, the Z170X-Gaming 6 offers some features others just don't have in this price range such as Intel USB 3.1 and their AMP-UP technology with a DIP socket amplifier.

While its feature set is not as premium as it could be, GIGABYTE still put in a lot of value into the product. If your budget is roughly $200 for a motherboard, and you would like some gaming features, then you should consider the Z170X-Gaming 6.

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking)90%
Quality including Design and Build90%
General Features92%
Bundle and Packaging90%
Value for Money93%
Overall91%

The Bottom Line: GIGABYTE's Z170X-Gaming 6 motherboard offers premium features at a not-so-premium price point, offering bang for the buck where you might not expect it.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Steven went from a fledgling forum reader in 2003 to one of the internet's brightest tech stars by 2010. Armed with an information systems degree, a deep understanding of circuitry, and a passion for tech, Steven (handle Sin0822) enjoys sharing his deep knowledge with others. Steven details products down to the component level to highlight seldom explained, and often misunderstood architectures. Steven is also a highly decorated overclocker with several world records.

Newsletter Subscription

Similar Content

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription
Latest News
View More News
Latest Reviews
View More Reviews
Latest Articles
View More Articles