Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 Review

The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 motherboard has been out for a year now. Suffice to say, it is one of the most feature-packed Z170 mobos out that are out in the market today. However, at roughly $500, it’s not one that can be tagged as pocket-friendly. Needless to say, this board isn’t for the budget-conscious.

The Z170X-Gaming G1 is straight up a price-be-damned motherboard. It’s aimed at people that want the latest flagship, top of the line LGA 1151 boards. But, setting the price aside, should you get one? Read more of our Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 Review to find out.

Specs, Features and Included Software

As mentioned, this Gigabyte mobo is loaded. This E-ATX board comes with 4 DDR4 DIMM slots (color-coded for dual-channel operation), Dual Killer1-gigabit ethernet ports, Killer Wireless-AC 1535, which supports Bluetooth 4.1, Creative Sound Core 3D audio chip, 10 SATA ports, 3 SATA express ports, 11 USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.1 Type-A,  USB 3.1 Type-C, which supports Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 4.0 for 4K at 60Hz, 2 USB DAC-UP ports that delivers clean power for DACs, 4 PCI Express x16 slots (2 running at x16, the other 2 running at x8), support for 4-way, 3-way, 2-way SLI and Crossfire, 2 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots that sports a 32Gbps transfer speed and support for RAID, 3 PCI Express x1 slots and a 22-phase all-digital power design.kkk

As you may have deduced from the listed specs, the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 features DoubleShot-X3 Pro technology, which is useful for multiple connections. It determines the connection with the lowest latency and sends high priority traffic – games and VoIP – through that. Standard and bulk traffic will be routed over to the other two connections.

Just like other recently released premium boards, the Z170X-Gaming G1 features a number of buttons that makes life easier for owners. Aside from the power and reset, Gigabyte equipped this flagship with a CMOS reset button. There’s also the ECO button, which will have the system running at a safe power range, and OC button that overclocks the system for extra performance.

The Z170X-Gaming G1 is bundled with Norton Internet Security and apps from Gigabyte’s App Center, which includes everything from 3D OSD down to USB Blocker.

Aesthetics, Design and Build Quality    

Aesthetically, the Z170X-Gaming G1 is beautiful. Gigabyte made the red, white and black theme work wonderfully. The rear IO, part of the audio system and three of the four heat sinks have composite armors that sport the white and red accents. It gets even better once the RGB lighting gets turned on. Even the IO shield has its own LEDs.

All of the heat sinks are connected with heat pipes, which keeps them cool. The two heat sinks over the power delivery setup have G ¼” fittings and hence, they can be used with water cooling systems.

One side of the RAM slots, which is closer to the PCH heatsink, does not have latches like the other has. This makes it easier to take out the memory modules even with longer graphics cards.

And speaking of GPUs, the PCIe slots, all four of them, are reinforced with metal shielding. This prevents GPU sag, especially for big cards such as the Titan X. And yes, the HDMI port and audio ports are gold-plated.

It’s these little touches that make people appreciate this board.

Overclocking

Most of those who buy the Z170 boards are looking to overclock. And for that, Gigabyte has Easy Tune, which comes as part of its App Center. Easy Tune offers preset overclock values and Auto tune, which, as the name suggests, automatically overclocks the CPU, RAM and power based on the figures it sees fit.

However, Easy Tune’s Auto Tune feature will only overclock an Intel i7-6700K up to 4.4 GHz, which is quite low considering that the Skylake processor’s base clock speed is 4.0 GHz. Higher clock speeds are provided for in the BIOS.

Anandtech’s test shows that at 1.4V, the i7-6700K on the Z170X-Gaming G1 can do 4.7 GHz. TweakTown was able to push the processor up to 5.2 GHz with the VCore/cache set to 1.5V.

As for the memory, Tom’s Hardware notes that the Z170X-Gaming G1 produces adequate bandwidth even with non-standard frequencies. However, without enabling XMP timings, it won’t do anything over 2933 MHz. According to their tests, they were able to push the G.Skills RipJaws V 3600 to 3434 MHz.

CPU and Gaming Performance

There’s really not that much of a difference when it comes to CPU benchmarks. However, it’s worth noting that on most tests, which includes video conversion, compression, 3D movement algorithm test and image manipulation, that Anandtech conducted, the Z170X-Gaming G1 edged other premium motherboards from competing outfits such as Asus, MSI and Asrock.

There’s also minimal differences between boards, be it premium or budget mobos, when it comes to FPS for most games. However, it should be mentioned that out of the five titles that Anandtech used as tests, the Z170X-Gaming G1 remained in the bottom half, in terms of FPS, for four of them and trailed behind the Asus, Asrock and MSI offerings by 1-2 FPS.

Recommendation

If you really don’t care about the price, then Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 is for you. It has plenty of features. Though several users have reported problems with the BIOS, Gigabyte appears to have addressed those problems with updates that it rolled out.

However, if you are looking for a better deal, we suggest going for the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-UD5 TH. It packs plenty of the Z170X-Gaming G1’s features for less than half the price.