Packaging and Overview
The 970-Gaming SLI's box informs us that it's indeed part of GIGABYTE's G1 gaming lineup. If the frequency of the word "Gaming" didn't tip you off, this motherboard is for gaming. Packaging is decent; the motherboard is in an anti-static bag and sits inside a cardboard cutout designed to provide a little extra protection from the elements.
Accessories include an IO shield, 4x SATA6Gb/s cables, SLI bridge, G-Connector, case badge, door hanger, driver disc, and manual.
The 970-Gaming SLI has four fan headers. The CPU fan header circled in blue is a PWM mode header, the header circled in orange is a 4-pin voltage mode header, and the two headers circled in green are 3-pin 12v headers with no control mode. The motherboard's PCB has a black and red color theme to match that of the slots and heat sinks. The motherboard looks better in person than in the pictures, and it looks much nicer than its price would lead you to believe. The audio and SATA areas have translucent PCB divides that are illuminated by red LEDs. The back of the motherboard is bare except for the LEDs and two drivers for the VRM.
The IO panel on the 970-Gaming SLI features two USB 2.0 DAC-UP ports (yellow), PS/2 keyboard/mouse, four USB 2.0 (black), two USB 3.1 (red), two USB 3.0 (blue), 1Gbit LAN, and 7.1 audio with TOSLINK.
The 970 Northbridge provides up to 22 PCI-E 2.0 lanes, but only 16 of those can be used for graphics cards. There are two full sized 16x slots reinforced with GIGABYTE's single piece metal slot reinforcement to prevent heavy GPUs from damaging the slot. The motherboard supports 2-way CrossFireX and SLI. The layout is very simple; a single card in the top slot will operate at x16 and the second slot at x0, if both slots are occupied they each will run at x8. There are two PCI-E x1 slots connected to the Northbridge. Two PCI slots are also present and connected to the Southbridge.
According to GIGABYTE, the M.2 slot gets x4 PCI-E 2.0 from the Southbridge. The M.2 slot provides up to 20Gb/s which is roughly 2-2.5GB/s of bandwidth for an M.2 SSD. The Southbridge also provides six SATA6Gb/s ports. SATA port 5 will be disabled if you install a SATA-based M.2 SSD.
The front panel connectors are color-coded, so it's easier to see where to plug in jumpers inside a dark case. The motherboard also has a single USB 3.0 internal header. There is a two pin header labeled LED_DEMO, if you supply it with 5v it will illuminate the LEDs even if the motherboard is off. Three USB 2.0 internal headers are located in this bottom row. I also found a COM port and TPM port to the right of the HD audio header.
The VRM and Southbridge heat sinks use screws while the Northbridge heat sink uses push pins. Contact seems to be quite good on all heat sinks.
PRICING: You can find the GIGABYTE 970-Gaming SLI (AMD 970) Motherboard for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: The GIGABYTE 970-Gaming SLI (AMD 970) Motherboard retails for $99 at Amazon.
United Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon UK's website.
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