Recently, Intel has officially unveiled a new platform Kaby Lake, we have released a test CPU Core i7-7700K the seventh generation of the Core . But Intel is not limited to the new processors, Intel releasing a new line of 200 Series chipsets. The flagship in the line was the Z270 chip, on which you can expect a large number of new motherboards. Motherboard manufacturers are well prepared. The Gigabyte, for example, introduced Aorus line, belongs Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7, the first motherboard chipset to Z270 in our editorial office.
On the LGA1151 socket except PCB and four bars DDR4 DIMM slots, you can see three PCIe 3.0 x16 (mechanical) and three slots PCIe 3.0 x 1 expansion card. Interfaces connect drives consist of three SATA Express, one port and two U.2 M.2. In addition, the available ports, seven USB 3.1 Gen1, six USB 2.0 ports and two high-speed USB 3.1 Gen2. As a special feature adds support for Thunderbolt 3.0. As for network connectivity, the Taiwanese manufacturer has selected two-port Gigabit LAN. On the motherboard are added numerous buttons for improved comfort and sound chip Creative.
Gigabyte again chose a black PCB, but instead of the red on the motherboard is now present whites. Stay and cover I / O panel.
In addition to the motherboard you get:
Gigabyte put a decent amount of accessories. In addition to I / O plugs, multi-language user’s manual and a DVD with drivers and utilities, the buyer will receive four SATA cables, two cables with thermocouples, cables stickers SATA and two Velcro tightening.
For today’s graphics cards NVIDIA Pascal bridge handy 2-way HB SLI. Finally, note the adapter G-Connector, two anti-dust plugs for video output, extension cable and RGB LED sticker Aorus.
The difference between the chipsets Intel 100 and 200 is not as significant as one might think numbering. In Z170 Intel chipset offers up to 20 Gen3 lines. In the case of Z270 PCH we get four lines Gen3 more, that is, their number increased to 24 Gen3. Additional lines allow you to connect more components. For example, another slot M.2. Along with the new processors also support Intel Optane technology.
Processors Kaby Lake still offer a very limited number of lines – only 16 Gen3, but they can be distributed in at least two slots mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16.
Gigabyte has equipped Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 CPU power subsystem with eleven phases. The photograph clearly shows that for each phase are fed two MOSFET. As used PowerPAK MOSFET models from Vishay, as well as on the motherboard Z170X-Pendant. For additional CPU power provides 8-pin EPS12V.
The board uses PWM-controller ISL95866 from Intersil. But eleven phases, he can not control, so the manufacturer has established an additional four chip Phase Doubler.
For the basic functions of Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 include four DDR4 DIMM slots, allowing to install up to 64 GB of RAM. Gigabyte memory installed between the slats strips LED-backlight. Below, you can see the built-in buttons and two combs USB 3.1 Gen1.
Gigabyte suffered layout of expansion slots 1: 1 from the previous models. That is, the user will receive three mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 and three PCIe 3.0 x1 slot. Three x16 slots are provided with metal reinforcements PCIe Metal Shielding, like the functions of MSI Steel Armor and ASUS Safe Slot. The first two slots are connected directly to the processor LGA1151, others work from Z270 chipset. If the user is interested in multi-GPU feature in Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 available to support 2-way SLI / CrossFireX and 3-way CrossFireX. Two graphics cards get 16 Gen3 lines from the CPU, eight lines Gen3 slots PCIe 3.0 x16 1 and 2. It is possible to install a third graphics card AMD, but it will get only four Gen3 line from the south bridge.
Lower slot PCIe 3.0 x1 uses shared resources of SATA Express 1. If the PCIe slot is occupied, the Express SATA 1 interface can not use. The third interface is PCIe 3.0 x16 Gen3 receive only two lines in the bottom slot if M.2 installed SSD.
The following table shows the layout of the lines on the slots.
As for the connection of drives, the Gigabyte has chosen a different path than the ASUS, installing three SATA Express interface, which provides six SATA 6 Gb / s. On the left you can see U.2 port to which you can bring a maximum of four lines of the Z270 Gen3 chipset. In the background can be seen the two M.2 interface with the M-Key key. They, too, are connected to the PCB. We have already described the limitations of the lower slot. It is possible to install the modules in length from 3 to 8 cm, and a top slot – from 3 to 11 cm.
Interfaces from left to right, top to bottom:
Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 disappoint those users who appreciate a large number of USB interfaces on the I / O panel. There are two ports USB 2.0, three USB 3.1 Gen1 and two USB 3.1 Gen2. For the latest versions installed in Type A and Type C. In addition, there is a PS / 2 port for connecting older peripherals, video outputs DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4b, two Gigabit LAN ports, and five 3.5-mm audio jack. Not without an optical digital audio output.
Audio controller is markedly different from ASUS Maximus IX Formula. Instead, the audio codec Realtek, Gigabyte has continued to use Creative Sound Core3D chip. It is supplemented by eight audio capacitors and Texas Instruments OPA2134 amplifier, thanks to which you can connect headphones with an impedance of 600 ohms. There OP Amp, which can be replaced by another model, if necessary.
As we pointed out above, the motherboard is equipped with two Gigabit LAN ports. The left connected to the Intel I219-V controller, and the right – to the controller Rivet Networks Killer E2500. Last we tested on the MSI Z170A Gaming M6 motherboard . Both LAN controllers provide maximum speeds of up to 1 Gbit / s. If Killer E2500 controller is aimed at a more rapid passage of network packets online gaming, Intel I219 V-PHY interesting professionals, it supports VLAN function and Wake-on-LAN.
Intel JHL6540 controller not only supports the USB 3.1 Gen2 standard, but the Thunderbolt technology 3.0 on the respective ports. On the I / O panel of the motherboard provides two ports, one Type A and Type C.
Gigabyte has also established chip TPS65982 from Texas Instruments specifically for Type C. This interface chip provides power output up to 100 watts through a USB Type C.
Chip ASMedia ASM1442K responsible for converting voltages between iGPU and graphical output HDMI 1.4b.
Let us turn to the chip Realtek RTS5411, which is a hub USB 3.1 Gen1. It provides two combs located nearby.
As promised above, we consider the built-in button Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7. On the motherboard mounted power button, reset, clear the CMOS and OC and Eco button. When you press the button OC BIOS loads the optimal settings for increased performance. Eco button acts in the opposite direction, the system starts to work as efficiently as possible.
Top right on the PCB can be seen in terms of direct voltage measurement with a multimeter. Gigabyte allows you to measure the following voltages: VCCIO, VAXG, VDIMM, DDRVTT, PCHIO, CSA, CPP_25V and VCORE.
Note the three switches. CAP_SW switch allows you to set the gain in 2,5 or 6 times. Gigabyte also set BIOS toggle switch (top) and Dual BIOS switch (bottom). Present and comb to connect the LED-strip.
Of course, on the motherboard a top category could not have done without the diagnostic display, which is located along the bottom edge of the PCB. Above it you can see the four LED status. To the right and above the soldered controller ITE-IT8686E Super I / O, is responsible for monitoring voltage, temperature and fan speed.
In general, we appreciate the layout of the motherboard. All of the connectors are easily accessible. The cover of the I / O panel can be removed if necessary. On the motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 are eight fan connection terminals, two and six CPU FAN System FAN. You can control all of them.
The circuit board is decorated with RGB LED. Interestingly, they are not only equipped with the motherboard itself, but also the I / O panel.
Before starting tests Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 we flashed the latest BIOS F4g version by using Instant Flash. We had no information about changes that have occurred in comparison with the version of the F2, nominally preloaded.
The test GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 we drew attention to the fact that the Taiwanese company has changed the design of UEFI. But, as can be seen on the UEFI interface, the new Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7, the Gigabyte has not come to a definite conclusion. Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 interface resembles GA-X99-the Ultra Gaming .
The UEFI, you can only choose between Easy and Classic mode. In the upper left corner you can see the basic information, including the model of the motherboard and the BIOS version, set the CPU, clock frequency and memory capacity. Displays CPU and system temperature, CPU voltage. So that the user immediately after assembly can determine, for example, whether there are any problems with the cooling system.
In paragraph “EZ OC” you can select the operating mode. In addition to Normal mode, and other options are available, for example, Eco and Performance. Also displays information about the occupied DIMM slots with clock frequencies and occupied SATA ports. If necessary, you can change the boot order of a simple transfer. You can quickly activate / deactivate the Intel Rapid Storage Technology technology. You can see the connected fans and their speed. With the Smart FAN feature can be set curve of the fans manually.
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. The relevant paragraph of BIOS, you can find the settings of the boot 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.
GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 and Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 Similarity motherboards immediately catches the eye. That is confirmed by available overclocking settings, Gigabyte has not brought significant changes.
In Gigabyte GA-Z270X-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.
A new generation CPU is usually characterized by a new overclocking potential. To test Z270 motherboard we chose the new flagship LGA1151, namely the Core i7-7700K. Since the Core i7-7700K running at a fairly high base frequency of 4.2 GHz, and Turbo mode increases the frequency up to 4.5 GHz, miracles can not be expected. But the processor and the motherboard is quite stably at 4.8 GHz. We continued to increase the multiplier, Windows 10 starts successfully, for after the start Prime95 system flew into the “blue screen”. VCore voltage we put on a rather high level of 1.3 V.
Next, we tried to reduce the voltage at a frequency of 4.8 GHz. In the BIOS, we were able to reduce the voltage to the level of 1,265 V. CPU-Z utility displays the incorrect value, so we will use the voltage level in the BIOS.
With platform Kaby Lake, we again performed memory overclocking. We used two 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.
Motherboard Gigabyte has successfully coped with setting profile Extreme Memory. Also we were able to set the frequency of 3.000 MHz memory manually. But it is important that the reference frequency of 100 MHz RAM. Otherwise, despite the exhibition divider DDR4-3000, we got a rate of only 1.400 MHz or DDR4-2800.
The Taiwanese manufacturer is still offering its utility “EasyTune”, which allows overclocking directly On Windows:
The automatic overclocking OC increases processor frequency mode automatically, 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.
We will use our standard test system with the Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 motherboard.
After entering the market of processors on Nehalem microarchitecture and integrate a memory controller on the CPU, the performance difference between motherboards become negligible. This is not surprising, because the manufacturers have disappeared almost all optimization mechanisms. In the past, they could optimize the chipset settings to squeeze one or two percent of the performance of the motherboard, but this possibility has disappeared. We conducted our tests the memory modules in the mode of 2.133 MHz and latency 15-15-15-35 2T, and all motherboards, allows you to adjust memory timings, showed similar performance.
Although comparative performance tests of motherboards and are not able to give such a difference, as before, they are still interesting. The fact that the tests allow you to quickly evaluate how different manufacturers implement support functions such as the Turbo, or rely on background overclocking tricks. In motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 we had to fix a factor of 44, so that the comparison was valid.
But in our tests, we were limited to only four applications, namely 3DMark 2013, SuperPi 8M, Cinebench 11.5 and SiSoft Sandra 2014 Memory Benchmark:
Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 motherboards took 13.25 with load that a little longer than the ASUS Maximus IX Formula. However, the latter loaded with just 0.43 faster.
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.
On the motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 are several additional controllers. Namely, two LAN-controller, the controller USB 3.1 Gen2, Hub USB 3.1 Gen1 and audio codec, they all contribute to the overall power consumption.
Gemessen haben wir im Windows-Idle-Betrieb ohne Last, mit Cinebench 15 unter 2D-Volllast und mit Prime95 (Torture-spanTest, Vollauslastung).
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.
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 R9 380, while in the BIOS, we do not cut off iGPU. As we have noted above, all power-saving features included, we did not make any optimizations manually.
Motherboard ASUS Maximus IX Formula with 41.9 watts level and, above all, ASRock Z270 Killer SLI with a score of 34.7 Watts worked economical Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 idle. Last result showed 42.6 watts, in principle, it can also be called pretty good.
A similar alignment of forces was observed under Cinebench. Motherboard Gigabyte consumed a relatively large number – 144.5 watts. At ASUS Maximus IX Formula we got a better result – 122.2 watts, while the ASRock Z270 Killer SLI – total 117.1 watts.
The same is true of Prime95. There Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 shows the level of 151.3 watts. The other two motherboards 128.1 and 125.1 watts to work more economically.
And here we see the reason. At Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 default BIOS voltage is put up for 1,332 V, which leads to an increase in energy consumption.
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 graphics card Radeon R9 380.
In the BIOS, we were able to disable LAN-controller chip and USB 3.1 Gen2, and LED-backlight. Energy consumption has decreased by 3.1 W or 7.28%.
Under load, power meter Cinebench showed two watts less.
Under load Prime95 managed to save three watts.
We did not get any on the CPU voltage changes.
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 working quite effectively, although competitors have shown even less energy consumption. In particular, the differences were clearly visible under the full and partial loads. The reason is nominally overvalued voltage CPU, which leads to increased power consumption.
Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 includes two interface USB 3.1 Gen2, connected to the Intel JHL6540 controller, which provides also support Thunderbolt 3.0. On the panel I / O ports installed Type A and Type C. They provide a theoretical bandwidth of 10 Gbit / s, so it would be difficult to find a drive that will be able to load this 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 the test we took an external snap Akitio NT2-U3.1, inside of which is set for two 2,5 “SSD OCZ Vector 150 with a capacity of 480 GB each. Worked with the SSD read speeds up to 550 MB / s and write speeds up to 530 MB / s. Both SSD were combined into a RAID 0 array, which made it possible to load the USB 3.1 Gen2 interface.
As Intel DSL6540, JHL6540 controller proved to be a good thing. Our drive RAID 0 worked with reading performance up to 947 MB / s, write to 876 MB / s.
On Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 available seven USB 3.1 Gen1 ports. On the I / O panel are available directly three ports, four ports can be displayed via two internal combs. Three ports on the I / O panel are connected directly to the chipset Z270 PCH, and four combs work by Z270 chipset via a hub Realtek RTS5411. In order to test USB 3.1 Gen1, we used the same solution as for USB 3.1 Gen2.
High-speed devices can be connected through any ports USB 3.1 Gen1, directly from the chipset Z270 PCH or through a hub Realtek RTS5411. In both cases we have the write performance strand of 465 MB / s read performance and 442 MB / s. The rate is consistent with the USB 3.1 Gen1 specification.
On the motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 There are three interface SATA Express, which provides six SATA 6G ports. They all work on the Z270 chipset. For the tests we took SanDisk Extreme 120 drive that is connected directly to the SATA ports.
The performance of SATA 6 Gb / s no complaints. Intel controller shown reading speed up to 560 MB / s and write speeds up to 525 MB / s.
The platform Kaby Lake S, we continue to test M.2 interface. Chipset Intel 200 allows you to squeeze out M.2 modules a high level of performance thanks to four lines PCIe 3.0, the theoretical capacity is 32 Gbit / s. For M.2 slot test, we used a Samsung SSD SM961 capacity of 256 GB and 8 cm long. Indicates the Samsung for its drive read speed of 3,100 MB / s and write speed of 1,400 MB / s. NVMe SSD supports version 1.2 of the protocol, the connection is made to the Z270 chipset Gen3 on four lines.
As can be seen from the test results, the manufacturer’s specifications were exceeded. By reading speed we got up to 3.371 MB / s, write speed – up to 1,529 MB / s. It is quite a good result.
In early January 2017, Intel introduced the new Intel 200 chipset, and new Intel Kaby Lake processors. Motherboard manufacturers are not left behind, entered the market new models from MSI, ASUS, ASRock and Gigabyte. Of course, we will see Motherboard Biostar, EVGA and Supermicro. We are opening a series of tests of motherboard on the new Intel chipsets model Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7. To it was soon joined by the other models for Kaby Lake processors.
As you might guess from the name, the motherboard can be called the successor of GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 , which has previously visited our editorial staff. Between the two models, you can spend a lot of parallels, since the socket and memory banks. Gigabyte used the same layout slots: three mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 and three PCIe 3.0 x1. On the motherboard you can install up to two NVIDIA graphics cards and three AMD graphics cards. The similarity is also observed on interfaces drives. Three SATA Express interface connected to the chipset Z270 PCH in native mode, it also provides six ports SATA 6 Gb / s. In addition to the two slots M.2 with the M key on the key board is present U.2 port. Would that we had to give up to two additional SATA 6 Gb / s.
According to the USB interface at Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 observed diversity. Two standard USB port 3.1 Gen2 (one Type A and Type C) connected to the Intel JHL6540 controller. Type C is compatible with the specification of Thunderbolt 3.0. On board there are seven USB 3.1 Gen1 and six USB 2.0 ports. Gigabyte compared to its predecessor removed two USB 3.1 Gen1 and installed two USB 2.0 ports more. As for graphics, are available at one output DisplayPort and HDMI, there is no change. The same applies to the network controller Intel 219-V Gigabit LAN. The second Gigabit LAN port is connected through a network controller Killer E2500 from Rivet Networks. This network controller debuted together with the motherboard MSI Gaming Z170A M6, we published a benchmark E2500 Killer .
For the convenience of users on the motherboard are set not only the power and reset buttons, but also clear the CMOS, OC and ECO. If the user is interested in the values of the main voltages, you can use the direct measurement of the eight points. Also available switches Audio Cap, BIOS and Single BIOS. Note the presence of diagnostic display and four LED status.
Speaking of LED: the motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 follows modern fashion, so it found a large number of RGB LED. All of them can be controlled via the BIOS, available different effects. Special criticism of the BIOS we did not have. All settings are properly triggered. As for the interface, then the Gigabyte, it seems, has not yet come to the final version. Power consumption at idle was pretty good, but under load we have a high level due to the significant increase in voltage VCore – at least with the tested version of the BIOS F4G. But Gigabyte certainly will present a new version of the BIOS in the future, where the error is corrected.
It remains a question of price. With the price of 230 euros, or by 18.9 thousand rubles in Russia. Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 – the model is not the cheapest, but the price may be reduced with the improvement of the situation of the availability on the market. If you need support Thunderbolt 3.0, it is unlikely to overlook older motherboards Gigabyte. Technically Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 shows convincing results, so that their customers will find it for sure.
Except for high power load motherboard Gigabyte proved well – we see an excellent platform for Kaby Lake processor that provides a good set of features. And the price in the near future likely to fall.