Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 Motherboard Review
Since Intel announced the latest 100-series chipset and 6th Generation Intel Skylake processors last year, we have seen Gigabyte released quite a number of overclocking and gaming motherboards; and one of them is the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 motherboard. We have already tested several PC components with this motherboard since the first day it arrived, and today we are finally going to publish our full review of the motherboard. The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 is not the highest end motherboard from Gigabyte’s Gaming Series. If I am not mistaken, currently there are 10 Gigabyte Z170 motherboards under the gaming series; and the Z170X-Gaming 7 sits somewhere in the upper middle portion of the lineup. It’s one of the company’s motherboards to be Intel Thunderbolt 3 certified and supports the latest USB 3.1 and USB Type-C connectors. It also has a dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 connectors with up to 32Gb/s of data transfer supporting both PCIe NVMe and SATA SSDs. There are more features built into this machine, and most of them are what you expect to see from an overclocking/gaming motherboard. Now the question is, is the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 the right motherboard for your next build or gaming PC? Find out in our review below.
Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 Review
The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 is one of the first Intel-100 series based motherboards that the company released last year. It features a fresh new look using a combination of white shroud, matte black PCB and red highlights. Compared to the previous Z97 Gaming lineup, aesthetically speaking, I think that the new Z170 Gaming series looks better. Notice that Gigabyte isn’t using the eye-like logo anymore, instead they opted for a plain “G1 Gaming” logo.
Aside from being able to support the new DDR4 memory module and 6th Gen Intel “Skylake” Core processors, it’s also Thundelbolt 3 certified delivering up to 40Gb/s connection speed over the single wire connection. You can’t find any physical Thundelbolt 3 port on the motherboard, instead the connection is made possible via the USB Type-C connector on the back I/O portion of the Z170X-Gaming 7.
Speaking of USB Type-C, the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 features Intel USB 3.1 ports, utilizing 4x PCIe Gen3 lanes to deliver transfer speeds of up to 10Gb/s per USB 3.1 port, total of 32Gb/s bandwidth. The Gaming 7 also offers great audio via the onboard Creative Sound Core3D Quad Core audio processor with upgradable OP-AMP and high end Nichicon audio capacitors. There are also two USB DAC-UP ports that provide clean and noise-free power delivery for those who use an external Digital-to-Analog Converter, or commonly known as DAC.
The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 features dual Gigabit LAN, one Killer E2400 and one Intel Gigabit LAN, however teaming is not supported in this motherboard. It supports both 2-way SLI and 3-way CrossFire multi-graphics card setup, and noticeably the PCIe slots are covered with a metal shielding that is supposed to provide extra support for heavy graphics cards.
The Z170X-Gaming 7, despite being a gaming motherboard, features a Turbo B-Clock Tuning IC. This chip enables overclockers to change the BCLK frequency from 90MHz to 500MHz, enabling overclockers not limited to the 5% ranges of traditional straps. The higher-end Z170X Gaming series motherboards features LED trace path with multi-color choices and can be configured via Gigabyte’s App Center, adding eye candy to the motherboard. If you have noticed LEDs are everywhere and it is the current trend. Companies are putting LEDs on almost every PC component; from memory modules, motherboards, graphics cards, etc, and even on SSDs.
The set of features found on the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 motherboard doesn’t end here. Below is the full specifications table of the Gaming 7. I’ll discuss more of its features as we take a closer look at the motherboard on the next page.
Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 Specifications
|Processor||1. Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/ Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/ Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1151 package
2. L3 cache varies with CPU
(Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.)
|Chipset||1. Intel® Z170 Express Chipset|
|Memory||1. 4 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 64 GB of system memory
* Due to a Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than the size of the physical memory installed.
2. Dual channel memory architecture
3. Support for DDR4 3866(O.C)/3733(O.C)/3666(O.C) /3600(O.C.) /3466(O.C.) /3400(O.C.) /3333(O.C.) /3300(O.C.) /3200(O.C.) /3000(O.C.) /2800(O.C.) /2666(O.C.) /2400(O.C.) /2133 MHz memory modules
4. Support for ECC UDIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)
5. Support for non-ECC UDIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules
6. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
(Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)
|Onboard Graphics||Integrated Graphics Processor-Intel® HD Graphics support:
1. 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2304@60 Hz
* Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version.
Integrated Graphics Processor+MegaChips MCDP2800 chip:
1. 1 x HDMI 2.0 port
Requires the latest Intel® Graphic Driver from GIGABYTE website.
Maximum shared memory of 512 MB
|Audio||1. Creative® Sound Core 3D chip
2. Support for Sound Blaster Recon3Di
3. TI Burr Brown® OPA2134 operational amplifier
4. High Definition Audio
6. Support for S/PDIF Out
|LAN||1. 1 x Intel® GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)(LAN1)
2. 1 x Killer E2400 chip (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN2)
* Teaming is not supported.
|Expansion Slots||1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
* For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
2. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
* The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.
3. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
* The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with the M2H_32G connector. The PCIEX4 slot will become unavailable when an SSD is installed in the M2H_32G connector.
4. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
(All of the PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
|Multi-Graphics Technology||1. Support for 3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire™ and 2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology|
1. 2 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA & PCIe x4/x2/x1 SSD support)
2. 3 x SATA Express connectors
3. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5)
4. Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
* Refer to "1-10 Internal Connectors," for the supported configurations with the M.2, SATA Express, and SATA connectors.
ASMedia® ASM1061 chip:
1. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 6~7), supporting AHCI mode only
1. 5 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel
2. 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (available through the internal USB headers)
Chipset+Renesas® USB 3.0 Hub:
1. 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (available through the internal USB headers)
Chipset+Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 Controller:
1. 1 x USB Type-C™ port on the back panel, with USB 3.1 support
2. 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red) on the back panel
|Internal I/O Connectors||1x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
2x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
3x SATA Express connectors
8x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1x I/O shield audio LED power connector
1x CPU fan header
1x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
3x system fan headers
1x front panel header
1x front panel audio header
2x USB 3.0/2.0 headers
2x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
1x serial port header
1x Clear CMOS jumper
1x power button
1x reset button
1x Clear CMOS button
1x ECO button
1x OC button
1x audio gain control switch
1x BIOS switch
Voltage Measurement Points
|Back Panel Connectors||1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI port
1 x USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 support
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red)
5 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
2 x RJ-45 ports
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In/Mic In, Line Out, Headphone)
|I/O Controller||1. iTE® I/O Controller Chip|
|H/W Monitoring||1. System voltage detection
2. CPU/System/Chipset temperature detection
3. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed detection
4. CPU/System/Chipset overheating warning
5. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan fail warning
6. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed control
* Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the cooler you install.
|BIOS||1. 2 x 128 Mbit flash
2. Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
3. Support for DualBIOS™
4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
|Unique Features||1. Support for APP Center
* Available applications in APP Center may vary by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also vary depending on motherboard specifications.
System Information Viewer
2. Support for Q-Flash
3. Support for Smart Switch
4. Support for Xpress Install
|Bundle Software||1. Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
2. Intel® Smart Response Technology
|Operating System||1. Support for Windows 10/8.1 64-bit
2. Support for Windows 7 32-bit/64-bit
* Please download the "Windows USB Installation Tool" from GIGABYTE's website and install it before installing Windows 7.
|Form Factor||1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm|
|Box Contents||1. GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 motherboard
2. Motherboard driver disk
3. User's Manual
4. Quick Installation Guide
5. Four SATA cables
6. I/O Shield
7. One 2-Way SLI bridge connector
8. One G Connector
9. One pack of back I/O dust covers
|Remark||1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website.
2. Most hardware/software vendors may no longer offer drivers to support Win9X/ME/2000/XP. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.
For US visitors, check it at B&H Photo Video here.
For UK visitors, its available at Amazon UK here.