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Gigabyte Z97X-Game Plus Motherboard Unleashed – Gigabyte Makes Green-Themed Motherboard Again
by Peter Paul
Gigabyte recently released a new mainstream motherboard based on the Intel Z97 Express Chipset – the Gigabyte Z97X-Game Plus motherboard (GA-Z97X-Game Plus), featuring a black motherboard with green accent. It’s been a while since we last saw Gigabyte made a Black/Green-themed motherboard, I think the last was with their Sniper series. Giagbyte’s 9 series motherboards are filled with Black/Red color which is the most popular color theme specially amongst enthusiasts and gamers. They also released Black/Orange for their OC series, and Black/Gold (Yellow) for their Ultra Durable series. The new GA-Z97X-Game Plus isn’t really a top of the line motherboard, but is loaded with the essential features that is geared towards gamers and enthusiasts a like who are on a budget. The new motherboard supports both 4th Generation Intel Haswell and Haswell Refresh processors and the latest 5th Generation Intel Broadwell processors. More details after the jump below.
Gigabyte Z97X-Game Plus Features
Aside from support for 4th Gen and 5th Gen Intel Core processors, the Gigabyte Z97X-Game Plus features an 8-phase VRM, and four DDR4 DIMMS slots with alternating Black/Green memory slots. It also has 3x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots which is capable of the following GPU configuration: x16/NC/NC, x8/x8/NC or /x8/x4/x4. It also features Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi MB3 gaming audio suite, and high quality audio capacitors with audio noise guard and LED path lighting. The cool thing about this is that the LED path lighting is also green. It also has a Realtek ALC1150 115dB SNR HD audio with built-in rear audio amplifier.
The Gigabyte Z97X-Game Plus also features Killer E2200 gaming networking, SATA Express ports and M.2 port for the latest SSD form factor. It doesn’t have any fancy heatsink design, even for the chipset heatsink. The audio section has a patterned design which looks very familiar, and similar to the design of a competing motherboard. Judging from its set of features and specifications, I’m guessing that it’s going to compete with other budget friendly Z97 motherboards from Asus and MSI.
More details from the specifications table below.
Price and Availability
Gigabyte hasn’t disclosed the manufacturer’s suggested retail price at the time this article was published. But it will probably have a retail price of around $150 USD, more or less. Expect that the Gigabyte Z97X-Game Plus motherboard will hit store shelves in the following days or weeks to come.
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Game Plus Specifications
Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/ Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1150 package
L3 cache varies with CPU
(Please refer “CPU Support List” for more information.)
Intel® Z97 Express Chipset
4 x DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 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.
Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
(Please refer “Memory Support List” for more information.)
Integrated Graphics Processor – Intel® HD Graphics support:
1 x D-Sub port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60Hz
1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60Hz
* The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connection by adapter.
1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@24Hz or 2560×1600@60Hz
* Support for HDMI 1.4a version.
Support for up to 3 displays at the same time
Maximum shared memory of 512MB
Realtek® ALC1150 codec
Support for Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3
High Definition Audio
Support for S/PDIF Out
Qualcomm® Atheros Killer E2201 LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
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.
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. (The PCIEX16 and PCIEX8 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
* The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with all PCI Express x1 slots. All PCI Express x1 slots will become unavailable when a PCIe x4 expansion card is installed.
* When installing a x8 or above card in the PCIEX4 slot, make sure to set PCIE Slot Configuration (PCH) in BIOS Setup to x4. (Refer to Chapter 2, “BIOS Setup,” “Peripherals,” for more information.)
3 x PCI Express x1 slots
(The PCIEX4 and PCI Express x1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
1 x PCI slot
Support for 3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire™and 2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology
1 x M.2 PCIe connector
(Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA & PCIe SSD support)
1 x SATA Express connector
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5)
(M.2, SATA Express, and SATA3 4/5 connectors can only be used one at a time. The SATA3 4/5 connectors will become unavailable when an M.2 SSD is installed.)
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)
Internal I/O Connectors
1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x M.2 PCIe connector
1 x SATA Express connector
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x CPU fan header
1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
3 x system fan headers
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x S/PDIF Out header
1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1 x serial port header
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
Back Panel Connectors
1 x PS/2 keyboard port
1 x PS/2 mouse port
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
1 x D-Sub port
1 x DVI-D port
1 x HDMI port
4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 x RJ-45 port
5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
iTE® I/O Controller Chip
System voltage detection
CPU/System/Chipset temperature detection
CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed detection
CPU/System overheating warning
CPU/CPU OPT/System fan fail warning
CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed control
* Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the cooler you install.
2 x 64 Mbit flash
Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
Support for DualBIOS™
PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
Support for APP Center
* Available applications in APP Center may differ by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also differ depending on motherboard specifications.
Smart Recovery 2
System Information Viewer
Support for Q-Flash
Support for Smart Switch
Support for Xpress Install
Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
Intel® Rapid Start Technology
Intel® Smart Connect Technology
Intel® Smart Response Technology
Support for Windows 8.1/8/7
ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 22.5cm
Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors’ website or 3rd party website.
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.