Here are key points about the GIGABYTE 970-Gaming SLI.
Snazzy Look: At the $100 price point you don't expect a product to look really good and perform well, but the 970-Gaming SLI does both. It has a stylish red and black color theme, and the red silkscreen on the motherboard is a nice addition. GIGABYTE did a nice job with the heat sink design and slot coloring. The red LEDs on either side of the motherboard make the underside of the PCB glow, which results in an aesthetically pleasing effect.
USB 3.1 and M.2: Two things missing from AMD motherboards until recently were USB 3.1 and M.2, and the 970-Gaming SLI carries both. The USB 3.1 is on the rear panel in the form of two type-A ports, which in my opinion are more useful since I don't see many USB type-C devices on the market as of yet. The M.2 slot is wired to x4 PCI-E 2.0 since the chipsets do not provide PCI-E 3.0. The M.2 slot provides up to 20Gb/s of bandwidth, which is more than enough for the majority of M.2 drives.
Intel NIC and NVIDIA SLI on an AMD Motherboard: It's probably less cringe worthy and more utilitarian to have these two features on an AMD motherboard. GIGABYTE decided to listen to their customers and bring together technologies from competing brands and integrated them into their products. Besides, AMD doesn't make NICs and a lot of people use SLI, so why exclude them?
Very Affordable: When it comes to bang for your buck, it's hard to go wrong with AMD. Their CPUs are very affordable, and motherboards for AMD CPUs are equally wallet-friendly. Let me put it in different terms; if this motherboard had an Intel chipset onboard, you would be paying at least 50% more for the same product.
Not Really for Overclocking: While the chipset supports overclocking and the motherboard accepts a wide variety of CPUs that are fully unlocked, the motherboard is built more for gaming than overclocking. Mild overclocks are possible, but don't expect anything crazy, unless you want to hear your fans howl to the moon.
BIOS could use a New Look: I am nitpicking, but I would have expected that by now GIGABYTE would have updated the look of their AMD motherboard BIOS to match that of their Intel motherboards.
The 970-Gaming SLI is an awesome value product. There are four varieties of USB ports on the back panel IO; you get USB 2.0 ports with extra power, normal USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and USB 3.1. You get 20 Gbps M.2, 2-way CrossFireX/SLI support in mechanically reinforced x16 PCI-E slots, and even an Intel NIC all for under $100. GIGABYTE also made sure to include their DualBIOS technology and the same audio solution found on their X99 motherboards. The audio is using Realtek's 115dB codec, a Texas Instruments headphone amplifier, Nichicon audio grade capacitors, and even has a PCB divide to protect the analog audio signal integrity.
The motherboard is not only loaded with features, but it also looks like a high-end gaming motherboard. The red and black aesthetics look great and provide that high-end feeling, and GIGABYTE's use of red LEDs is tasteful rather than "blingy". If this motherboard had a high-end VRM, it would dominate at this price point, but certain things had to be cut to provide for all the features and aesthetics.
Overall, the 970-Gaming SLI offers excellent value in the form of premium features. It is definitely worth a look if you want an AMD system with the latest in computer connectivity and at a reasonable price.
|Quality including Design and Build||89%|
|Bundle and Packaging||89%|
|Value for Money||95%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||90%|
The Bottom Line: GIGABYTE's 970-Gaming SLI is a great looking motherboard designed for gamers with the latest in connectivity technology at a price that is hard to beat.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and 970-Gaming SLI Overview]
- Page 3 [GIGABYTE 970-Gaming SLI Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [GIGABYTE 970-Gaming SLI Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup and Overclocking]
- Page 7 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 8 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption]
- Page 10 [What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]