Here are key points about the GIGABYTE Z170X-UD3 Ultra.
Loaded with Storage Options: Support for three NVMe x4 PCI-E 3.0 storage devices in RAID using M.2, AIC (PCI-E), and U.2? Don't mind if I do! The U.2, M.2, and last PCI-E x16 slot all have their own x4 PCI-E 3.0 link, so you don't have to disable one device to use another. However, you will lose SATA ports depending on your configuration (that's how Intel's Flexible IO works). GIGABYTE leveraged the PCH to its maximum to allow for support of all these devices and Thunderbolt 3.
Thunderbolt 3: I never thought I would see Thunderbolt 3 on a motherboard of this price, but alas, the Z170X-UD3 Ultra has Thunderbolt 3 certification on the USB type-C port on the rear. To make things never better, GIGABYTE decided to add in 100W USB Power Delivery support, meaning the Z170X-UD3 Ultra is ready to handle the next generation of type-C devices.
Unique Aesthetics: White and blue isn't a common color theme on motherboards these days, but GIGABYTE has brought it back in style. If you love blue, then the blue LEDs all around will make your day since they are everywhere from in-between memory DIMMs to under the VRM heat sink and beneath the PCI-E slots. The white and blue shield that covers the IO panel does a nice job of sprucing things up.
Intel NIC: I didn't expect to find an Intel NIC at this price point, especially not with the Thunderbolt 3 and other features, but GIGABYTE made a point to use the more expensive Intel NIC over competitors.
Audio Isn't the Best: Cuts had to be made somewhere to keep the Z170X-UD3 Ultra under $170, and the audio section is where most of those are. Instead of the common ALC1150, GIGABYTE uses the ALC892. Audio amplifiers are also absent.
VRM Could be Better: You will be able to get away with a stable 4.5GHz overclock on a 6700K, but I wouldn't expect much more above 4.8GHz since you will be pushing the 4+3 phase VRM to its limits. So while this VRM is good for everyday users who might want a mild overclock, you won't be able to go to extremes.
The Z170X-UD3 Ultra is pretty much a high-end UD3 motherboard. Loaded with features, you wouldn't think would sit at this price point, but the Z170X-UD3 Ultra is loaded with value. From the Intel NIC to Thunderbolt 3 and U.2, the Z170X-UD3 Ultra is ready for the next generation of connectivity and storage products.
GIGABYTE also did a nice job of adding in its new UEFI, which offers significantly better fan control through the UEFI and other important features such as adaptive voltage control.
No product is perfect, and the Z170X-UD3 Ultra is not without its pitfalls. Audio is pretty much the minimum of what most would consider good audio, and overclocking is pretty much what you might expect from a sub-$200 motherboard. You will be able to overclock to 4.5-4.7GHz and perhaps 3200MHz on the memory without much issue, but above these limits, you should look for an overclocking motherboard.
Overall, I was impressed by the features and usability of the Z170X-UD3 Ultra. If you are in the market for a sub-$200 motherboard with U.2 and Thunderbolt 3, it's worth a look.
|Performance (including Overclocking)||88%|
|Quality including Design and Build||89%|
|Bundle and Packaging||83%|
|Value for Money||95%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||90%|
The Bottom Line: GIGABYTE's Z170X-UD3 Ultra motherboard offers a myriad of features you might not think could be had at its relatively low price point, and it looks good too.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and Z170X-UD3 Ultra Overview]
- Page 3 [GIGABYTE Z170X-UD3 Ultra Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [GIGABYTE Z170X-UD3 Ultra Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup]
- Page 7 [Overclocking]
- Page 8 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption]
- Page 11 [What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]