Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Test and review: effective motherboard with support for Thunderbolt 3.0

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Test and review: effective motherboard with support for Thunderbolt 3.0

Two months ago we tested the motherboard GA-X99-the Ultra Gaming , is now in our lab received new LGA1151 model from Gigabyte. From Gigabyte range we chose Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 and then held the motherboard through our traditional set of tests. Immediately clear that Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 should be well in its price segment, as well as some competing models.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 7 leaves a positive first impression. Before us is a well-equipped motherboard for modern and future processors Skylake Kaby Lake. The user will receive three mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and a PCIe 3.0 x1, four memory slots DDR4 DIMM and two interfaces M.2. In addition, we note three SATA Express interface and two SATA 6 Gb / s. Also on the motherboard installed nine ports USB 3.1 Gen1, four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.1 Gen2, so that in terms of USB, we also get a lot. Network support is provided by two Gigabit LAN ports, integrated sound card chip is represented by Creative.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7  – the most recent addition to the lineup G1.Gaming. PCB painted black. There are also red and white color accents are nice contrast with the black PCB. Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7  easily fit in most buildings on the market.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Test and review: effective motherboard with support for Thunderbolt 3.0

In addition to the motherboard, you will get the following accessories:

  • The plug I / O
  • motherboard manual, DVD with driver and software
  • Multi-language user’s manual
  • Bridge 2-way SLI
  • Four SATA cables
  • Stickers Gigabyte G1.Gaming
  • G-Connector
  • Dust caps DisplayPort and HDMI
  • Code invitations World of Warships

Buyer Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7  will receive not many accessories. In addition to the standard set of the Taiwanese manufacturer has added four SATA cables, the bridge 2-way SLI, G1.Gaming label, G Connector and three anti-dust plugs for video output. As a small bonus, we note an invitation code to the game “World of Warships”.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7: The functions and layout

Intel Z170 Chipset will be the flagship product for several months, according to rumors, at the beginning of 2017, he will give way to his successor.

In the line of Intel 100 chipsets we have a major change. Among the new features include the connection between the CPU and PCH via Direct Media Interface interface in version 3.0, which provides higher throughput. Without such a step was not enough, since Intel has significantly increased the number of PCIe lanes Z170 chipset.

Instead of eight PCIe 2.0 lanes the chipset Z97, Z170 in the PCH supports up to 20 lines PCIe 3.0, which offers a great opportunity to connect additional controllers. Who would have thought that the switches and PCIe bridges remain in the past.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Test and review: effective motherboard with support for Thunderbolt 3.0

Gigabyte Power Subsystem consists of eleven phases. After removing the radiator can be considered in detail. Gigabyte has set RA12 Low Side PowerPAK and RA18 High Side PowerPAK MOSFET from Vishay. Extra power is supplied to the CPU via the 8-pin EPS12V, power 336 W will be enough to disperse.

As a PWM-controller installed Intersil ISL95856, that this design VRM – a good choice.

Owners Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 can increase the memory up to 64 GB. So much can be installed in four memory banks DDR4. But photos can be seen, and two USB 3.1 Gen1 comb under the memory slots. Four corresponding port is not connected to the chipset Z170, and the hub Renesas uPD720210 USB 3.1 Gen1.

To the right of the 24-pin ATX power socket can be seen a few built-in buttons. In addition to the large power button, reset the CMOS clear buttons and, Gigabyte OC and integrated ECO button. The first allows you to easily perform overclocking. The second charge switch for more efficient operation. Also note the eight points of the direct voltage measurement: VCCIO, VAXG, VDIMM, DDRVTT, PCHIO, VSA, VCORE and VPP_25V. Of course, not without the diagnostic display.

Gigabyte is well thought out layout of expansion slots. There are three mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and three PCIe 3.0 x1. For large slots, the top two are working directly on the CPU LGA1151. But most people are set in a single graphics card, and this step will not lead to the blocking of any slots. Also available are two M.2 interface with the M-Key key.Three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots feature additional metal reinforcement Gigabyte Ultra-Durable PCIe, improving mechanical strength in the event of the installation of large and bulky cards.

Below is the distribution lines for expansion slots.

The range includes storage ports mentioned M.2 interfaces, as well as three SATA Express ports and two SATA 6 Gb / s. Three SATAe interface running directly from the Z170 chipset, two additional SATA 6 Gb / s – from ASMedia ASM1061 controller. The top slot M.2 uses shared resources with a lower mechanical slot PCIe 3.0 x16. If you install in M.2 module, slot PCIe 3.0 x16 can not use.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Test and review: effective motherboard with support for Thunderbolt 3.0

Interfaces from left to right, top to bottom:

  • PS / 2, 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 (USB-DAC-UP, Intel Z170)
  • DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0
  • 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 (Intel Z170)
  • Gigabit LAN (Rivet Networks Killer E2400), USB 3.1 Gen2 Type C (Intel DSL6540)
  • Gigabit LAN (Intel I219-V), USB 3.1 Gen1 (Intel Z170), USB 3.1 Gen2 Type A (Intel DSL6540)
  • Analog 3.5-mm audio jacks, an optical digital output (Toslink)

On the I / O panel has almost everything that a user may wish. Note the five ports USB 3.1 Gen1, one video output DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0, two ports USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type A and Type C). There are two port Gigabit LAN, one of which is fed to the controller Intel I219-V, and the second – to the Controller Killer E2400 from Rivet Networks, which is also very good.

Acoustics can be connected in five 3.5-mm audio jack and digital output Toslink. Gigabyte adds hereditary and PS / 2 interface.

Some readers may have noticed that we have indicates HDMI 2.0 interface. This is not a bug, but a picture box in the LGA1151 processors supports only the HDMI 1.4 standard.About how supports HDMI 2.0 specification will be discussed later.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7: The functions and layout (2)

Interestingly, we did not get the usual audio solutions based on codec Realtek ALC1150. At the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7  is a 4-core audio processor from Creative Core3D Creative, but not only.

Audio chip complement of eight audio Nichicon capacitors. Installed and amplifier OP-AMP, which can be replaced with another model if needed. To gain control audio output to the speakers and headphones with a very high impedance has a corresponding switch. It allows you to switch from mode to 2,5x 6x.

IT8628E chip controller performs the function Super I / O, on the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7  he gathers information about temperatures, voltages and fan speeds. IT8628E can be used to control the connected fans to provide an acceptable level of noise.

We should also note the presence of two BIOS ROM, the main and backup.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Test and review: effective motherboard with support for Thunderbolt 3.0

With regard to the support network, Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 offers two ports, Gigabit LAN. They are connected to different controllers. The Taiwanese manufacturer has chosen controllers Intel I219-V and Rivet Networks Killer E2400. Both controllers provide a bandwidth of up to 1 Gbit / s, but Teaming support is not available.

Support Thunderbolt 3.0 and USB 3.1 Gen2 controller based on Intel DSL6540, which is also known as the “Alpine Ridge”. The bandwidth of 40 Gbit / s is sufficient for two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports that can operate in 3.0 mode Thunderbolt.

HDMI 2.0 support The secret lies in MCDP2800 chip from MegaChips. It provides something that is not capable integrated graphics core. The chip is located between the video output of the graphics core and HDMI.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7: The functions and layout (3)

We have already mentioned hub uPD720210 USB 3.1 Gen1, which provides a two-port USB 3.1 Gen1, ie its ability to fully are utilized.

Controller ASMedia ASM1061 SATA provides two additional SATA 6 Gb / s.

Apart from the two combs USB 2.0 at the pictures you can see the switch with the symbol “SB”. This abbreviation stands for “Single BIOS”. After its activation is necessary to work only the basic’s BIOS, Dual BIOS function is deactivated.

Overall, the layout is performed at a good level. Before all interfaces easily accessible. The cover of the I / O panel can be removed if necessary. Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 offers five fan connectors: two and three CPU FAN System FAN. All they can be controlled individually.

For Beauty on the PCB added some RGB LED. Moreover, they are available not only on the printed circuit board itself, but also on the I / O panel.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Test and review: effective motherboard with support for Thunderbolt 3.0

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7: BIOS and Overclocking

BIOS

Gigabyte has equipped GA-Z170X Gaming 7 BIOS F8 version. The test GA-X99-Ultra Gaming we lamented the fact that the function Instant Flash does not work correctly.Probably, the Gigabyte found the source of the problem, since our sample firmware to work properly.

Below are the changes in the version of the BIOS F8, compared with the first release (F2):

  • Updated CPU microcode (F3)
  • Fixed a bug with Intel processors, which could lead to a start in the game with an error 8016 (F4)
  • Updated CPU microcode (F5)
  • Improved compatibility with drives M.2 (F6)
  • Improved compatibility DDR XMP (F7)
  • Improved DDR (F8) compatibility

Technically, the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 decided to change the BIOS compared to the GA-X99-Ultra Gaming. If the GA-X99-Ultra Gaming attended Easy Mode, then the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, it was decided to abandon it. Available only in Advanced Mode.

Readers familiar with motherboards Gigabyte previous generations, easy to find similarities: Classic / Advanced mode is completely copied from the old motherboard, unless other colors. In the first menu item “MIT”, overclocking settings are available. There are six sub-items with the appropriate settings. On the tab “System” displays information about the model of the motherboard, the current version of BIOS, time and date. You can also change the language. In the BIOS settings section you can find the download process.All information about embedded motherboard components with settings taken out in the “Peripherals” option. But for the chipset settings Gigabyte has decided to allocate a separate tab. The following is a tab “Power” with the power settings. Assign the last tab “Save & Exit” clear title.

Navigating the interface UEFI quite comfortable using a keyboard and mouse. Problems with stability also was not observed.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Test and review: effective motherboard with support for Thunderbolt 3.0

Acceleration

Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 well prepared for overclocking and offers a decent set of features that should satisfy both beginners and advanced users.

In Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 allows you to change the base frequency of 80.00 MHz to 500 MHz in steps of 0.01 MHz. According to CPU voltage can change between the Override and Offset. In the first case, the voltage can be set from 0,600 V to 1,800 V, in the second case – the offset of -0.300 V to 0.600 V. All other settings acceleration shown in the table below.

We were able to overclock the processor Core i5-6600K on the motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 7 to a frequency of 4.5 GHz. To do this, we had to set the VCore voltage in BIOS to 1,295 V. But CPU-Z utility voltage is only showed 1,212 V. His contribution is a function of Load-Line Calibration, but the tension is likely little untrue, because Gigabyte GA-Z170X- Gaming 7 we received incorrect voltage and idle.

We proceed to overclocking memory. We used four DIMM module capacity of 4GB – “G.Skill RipJaws4 DDR4-3000”. In the first test we will check the XMP functionality, and memory overclocking second hand, without using XMP.

With profile Extreme Memory Profile from motherboard Gigabyte any problems. The reason lies in the fact that the motherboard was not able to set the BCLK to 125 MHz, it is necessary to work at DDR4-3000. Once we put this level BCLK manually activated profile correctly.

Gigabyte EasyTune Utility

The Taiwanese manufacturer is still offering its utility “EasyTune”, which allows overclocking directly On Windows:

The automatic overclocking OC processor speed has been increased up to 4.1 GHz, which can be recommended to beginners. Alternatively, there are modes of “ECO” and “AutoTuning”. If you want to make the settings manually, all the options put to page “Advanced CPU OC”. You can adjust the base clock, CPU multipliers and voltages. The next tab is dedicated to overclocking memory, it is possible to adjust the basic delay. Finally, on the tab “Advanced Power” you can configure the subsystem power and voltage. If required, the selected settings can be automatically activated at system startup.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7: Energy consumption

Today, the question is quite relevant PC power consumption, energy consumption and the difference between motherboards is far more common than the difference in performance. On the one hand, it can be associated with BIOS, Intel wherein power saving functions may be implemented or not completely correct. Or simply disabled by default. Or inactive integrated components when they are replaced by additional chips, or simply not used, is not turned on and continue to consume energy. The power supply circuit also contributes to the overall power consumption, since it can provide more energy than is required components. Yes, and efficiency (efficiency) power supply system is also very important. If the efficiency is low, the system consumes more energy from the power supply. We should not underestimate the role of management software, the entire power supply system must be balanced and coordinated in order to ensure an acceptable efficiency.

At Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 are several additional controllers. Namely, two LAN-controller, USB 3.1 Gen2 chip Hub USB 3.1 Gen1 and audio codec. They all contribute to the system power consumption.

We measured the power consumption of the system in idle mode under Windows, as well as a full 2D-load Cinebench 15 and Prime95 (torture test, full load). The following is the power consumption for the entire system.

Test 1: The built-in components are active:

In the first test run, we left the default settings when the motherboard most of the integrated components are active. We used the graphics card Radeon HD 7850,

On the effectiveness of Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 7 showed excellent results. In idle mode, we got quite a low level of power consumption of 41.4 watts for the entire system.What allowed her to take fourth place in the ranking.

Power consumption under load Cinebench was only 99.1 watts, which is below the bar of 100 watts. However, some competitors, as well as GA-Z170X Gaming 3 of its own production, working more efficiently.

Under load Prime95 power meter showed 112 watts. As can be seen in the diagram, the value is not a record, but refers to a decent average level.

Under load, the CPU-Z utility showed the voltage 1.176 V, which can be called realistic.

Since most people are all embedded controllers are not required, we conducted another test run, during which the components of the integrated LAN controller is only activated and sound chip. All additional controllers USB 3.0 and SATA we disconnected. The motherboard is still exhibited voltage levels automatically, but we have to manually set up all power-saving features. We continue to use the video card RADEON HD 7850.

Test 2: The integrated components are disabled (active 1x LAN + sound)

We were able to disable the LAN-port and LED-backlight. But the substantial savings we have not received. In idle mode, the system uses about watts less.

Under load Cinebench energy consumption decreased by 0.7 watts. We got 98.4 watts.

CPU There are no changes from the voltage.

In general, we have fairly low idle power. Under load, the motherboard can not be called “greedy”, power consumption is average.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7: Performance SATA 6G, USB 3.1 Gen1 / Gen2 and M.2

Performance USB 3.1 Gen2

Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 7 offers two interface USB 3.1 Gen2, which are connected to the Intel DSL6540 controller (Alpine Ridge). Namely, two ports Type A and Type C. They provide theoretical bandwidth of 10 Gb / s, so it would be difficult to find a storage device that can load a similar level of bandwidth. The theory is quite fast M.2 solid-state disk, but so far we have confined ourselves to two SSD SATA 6 Gb / s in RAID 0, which will allow to load the new interface.

For testing, we used an external snap RaidSonic ICYBOX-the IB-RD2253-U31 Practice .Inside we found two 2.5-inch the SSD the OCZ the Vector 150 with a capacity of 480 GB.Solid state drives provide a read speed of up to 550 MB / s and write speeds up to 530 MB / s. Both work in the SSD RAID 0 array, so that the interface USB 3.1 Gen2 will be loaded fully.

Unfortunately, we were not able to evaluate the performance of USB 3.1 Gen2, as a “blue screen” after the launch of ATTO test. But the problem is not hardware, as with high-speed USB-Stick USB 3.1 Gen1 test was successful. For the following test motherboards we move to a different USB 3.1 Gen2 outer snap.

Performance USB 3.1 Gen1

Ports USB 3.1 Gen1 from the motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 7 there are nine.On the I / O panel are five ports, the remaining four can be connected via the internal comb. Five ports are connected via Z170 PCH, the other four – a hub Renesas uPD720210.For USB 3.0 test, we used the same tooling as for USB 3.1 test above.

With the Intel controller we got a read speed up to 444 MB / s and write speed of 465 MB / s, which can be called a good level. Renesas uPD720210 hub also showed their best side – we got a read speed of up to 442 MB / s and write speeds up to 466 MB / s.

Performance SATA 6G

Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 7 provides three interfaces SATA Express, two SATA 6 Gb / s.They all work on the Z170 chipset in “native” mode. For our tests, we used a SanDisk Extreme drive 120, which is directly connected to the SATA ports.

SATA Performance was also on quite a decent level. Intel controller shown reading performance up to 557 MB / s and write performance of up to 519 MB / s. Controller ASMedia ASM1061 usually gives lower performance SATA specifications 6Gb / s that we see again in this case. read rate was up to 404 MB / s, write speed – up to 415 MB / s.

Performance M.2

For the tests we took M.2 Samsung SSD XP941 512 GB. Drive 8 cm long provides a read speed of 1170 MB / s and writes of 950 MB / s, at least according to specifications. Solid State Module interface corresponds M.2 16 Gb / s, which is equivalent to four lines PCIe 2.0.

We tested the unit in M.2 M.2 top slot. We got a read speed of 1,076 MB / s and write speed of 986 MB / s, quite a decent level for Z170 chipset.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7: conclusion

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 became 17 in the LGA1151 motherboard in our test lab. Of course, the novelty Gigabyte will have to compete with other very worthy of models in the market. But a well-equipped motherboard showed their best side. In size we get a standard ATX format, but the Taiwanese company tried to add a decent set of features.Near the CPU socket, set the usual four DDR4 DIMM slots, allowing to equip the system of 64 GB of RAM. Gigabyte chose eleven phase CPU power subsystem, which provide not only stable operation of the CPU Skylake-S, but also acceleration when needed.

For graphics cards and expansion cards are three mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and three PCIe 3.0 x1. Thanks to an ingenious layout installing a dual-slot graphics card does not lock any of the motherboard slots. Note that x16 slots are provided with metallic protection Ultra Durable, provides additional mechanical strength. To connect the drives available two slots M.2 with the key M-Key, three SATA Express interface and two SATA ports. As befits a top motherboard lineup Gaming, Gigabyte equipped with a new 4-core audio processor Sound Core3D by Creative, which provides high quality sound in games.Chip capacitors Nichicon complemented by audio and removable OP-AMP amplifier. There is a toggle switch that allows you to activate a more powerful audio enhancement.

On the motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7  are two port Gigabit LAN. One port is implemented through Gigabyte Intel I219-V controller, the second – through the Killer E2400 controller from Rivet Networks. Teaming function is not available, but the user can choose, with the help of the controller to connect to your home network. As for USB, from the GA-Z170X Gaming 7 available nine USB ports 3.1 Gen1, four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.1 Gen2 (one Type A and Type C). Last thanks to Intel Alpine Ridge controller supports not only USB 3.1 Gen2, and Thunderbolt technology 3.0. Feature Thunderbolt 3.0 on the motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7  active.

The motherboard offers a number of features enhance comfort. It is available the power button, reset, OC, ECO and CMOS Clear. In addition to the diagnostic display there are eight points of the direct measurement of the voltage on the motherboard. With the help of a switch you can use the Dual UEFI BIOS. In idle mode, we got a fairly high efficiency.Under load, power consumption can be called average, but this is not surprising, given the equipment. Gigabyte has decided to improve the appearance of using the RGB LED, which can be completely shut down, if the lights you do not need.

Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 cost in retail about 200 euros . The price is quite reasonable, considering the rich equipment compared to other motherboards. In general, we get quite a decent platform for a gaming computer with a good set of features.

Advantages of Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7:

  • Powerful CPU power subsystem, advanced overclocking features
  • Excellent equipment, including two SATA 6 Gb / s, nine ports USB 3.1 Gen1 and three SATA Express interface
  • PCI Express 3.0 support three slots PEG
  • Very good overall performance, good efficiency at idle
  • 2 two slots 32 Gbit / s
  • Good audio subsystem
  • Two interfaces USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type A and Type C)
  • Support Thunderbolt 3.0
  • Support for HDMI 2.0

Disadvantages Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7:

Source: gigabyte

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Test and review: effective motherboard with support for Thunderbolt 3.0 was last modified: December 3rd, 2016 by Casey Rembrandt