Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 Motherboard Overview
The first thing that you will notice about the Z170X-Gaming G1 is that it is a big board! It is actually an E-ATX motherboard so its dimensions are 30.5cm x 26.4cm. You are going to want to make sure your this board will fit inside your case. Typically Gigabyte has gone with red and black with their G1 Gaming motherboards, now with Z170 they have added white to the mix, which we love. Gigabyte has added their new white “armor” on the board which covers the rear I/O, part of the audio solution, and they have even added it on the SATA ports.
There are a total of four heatsinks on the board, which are all connected via heatpipes. Three of the heatsinks actually have silver, red, and white accents on them that look great! The two heatsinks that cover your power delivery components are actually hybrid cooling heatsinks as they have watercooling channels built in. For those wondering these use G1/4 threaded fittings.
Starting at the CPU socket we of course have Intel’s LGA1151 socket that supports the latest Skylake processors. This board has one of the beefiest (is that a word?!) power delivery systems that we’ve seen on a motherboard, a 22-phase (16+4+2) all digital power design! Gigabyte makes use of 4th gen. IR digital power controllers and 3rd gen. PowIRstage ICs featuring Isense technology, which provides more precise current sensing accuracy. This helps evenly distribute the thermal loading between the PowerIRstage ICs, preventing the overheating of each individual PowerIRstage, resulting in longer lifespan and better reliability. Gigabyte also uses long lifespan durable Black Solid Caps, which were disigned specifically for Gigabyte by Nippon Chemi-Con. These are rated to perform at maximum efficiency for a guaranteed minimum of 10K hours and they provide ultra-low ESR no matter how high the CPU load.
At the top left of the board there are three connectors. There is a 4-pin external headed that is used for the included I/O shield, this gives you the ability to control it via software. There is also a 4-pin fan header and your 8-pin EPS connector. Moving to the right you have a 4-pin CPU fan header (white) and a 4-pin optional fan header (black).
There are a total of four DDR4 DIMM slots that are color-coded (red / black) for dual-channel operation. This board has support for up to 64GB of DDR4-3666 memory. The memory slots also do not have locks on their bottom edges, this means your memory will be easier to remove if you have a longer graphics card installed. At the top corner of the board you have a large power button, post code display, smaller reset and CMOS reset buttons, ECO button, OC button, 24-pin ATX power connector, a 4-pin fan header, and dual USB 3.0 headers. The ECO button will downclock your system to save power and the OC button will overclock your system. This is good for users who are not familiar with overclocking.
Moving down to the storage connections they are white, which we have to say looks awesome! There are three SATA Express connectors and four SATA 6GB/s ports. The bottom two SATA ports are powered by the ASMedia ASM1061 controller, while the rest are controlled by the Z170 chipset. Remember if you don’t plan on using the SATA Express connectors that opens up two SATA 6GB/s ports per connector.
Along the bottom of the board you have the rest of your buttons, headers, and switches. From right to left you have two 4-pin fan headers, your front panel connections, a switch to disable the dual BIOS feature, a switch to toggle between the two BIOS’s on the board, two USB 2.0 headers, a TPM header, SATA power connector for the PCI-Express slots, 2 gain switches; one for the rear audio and one for the front panel audio, and your front panel audio header. The gain switches allow you to toggle between 2.5x and 6x gain.
Moving over to the audio solution on the board this is one of the best audio solutions we’ve ever seen on a motherboard. It is the Creative certified ZxRi 120+dB SNR that makes use of the Creative Sound Core3D Quad-Core Audio Processor with Burr-Brown High End 127 dB DAC. Gigabyte is one of the first to put a quad-core audio chip on a motherboard. They also use a combination of Hi-Fi grade WIMA Capacitors, and Nichicon audio grade Fine Gold capacitors. The Nichicon Fine Gold capacitors and WIMA FKP2 capacitors are used widely in premium-grade Hi-Fi systems. Users will experience a richer bass and clearer high frequencies. There are even three upgradable OP AMPs on the board as well, one each for the left and right channels and one for the front panel audio.
When it comes to expansion slots you have four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots and three PCI-Express x1 slots. The configuration for the x16 slots are as follows: 1 card x16 mode, 2 cards x16/x16 mode, 3 cards x16/x8/x8 mode, 4 cards x8/x8/x8/x8 mode. With this the board supports 4-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CorssFire setups. The PCI-Express x16 slots are colored red and have a metal shielding, which gives them a great look. The PCI-Express metal shielding reinforces the PCI-Express connectors to provide the support required for heavy Graphics cards. As the PCI-Express metal shielding is grounded, it also provides protection from possible interference. Above the top PCI-Express slot is another 4-pin fan header, giving you a total of 5 not including the two CPU fan headers.
In between the PCI-Express slots you will find two M.2 32 Gb/s slots (PCI-Express 3.0 x4). Having two slots means you can actually run two M.2 solid state drives in RAID if you want. You can also use the included M.2 to U.2 connector to use a NVMe solid state drive.
Finally moving on to the rear I/O from left to right you have two USB 2.0 USB DAC-UP ports, a combination PS/2 port, antenna connectors for the wireless, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 connector, USB 3.1 Type-C port, USB 3.1 Type-A port, USB flash port, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, two more USB 3.0 ports and your audio connections. The audio connections as well as the HDMI connector are gold plated. This board features Killer DoubleShot X3 Pro gaming networking which makes use of dual Killer E2400 Ethernet adapters and Killer 1535 802.11ac / Bluetooth 4.1 adapter. All three killer interfaces to work together for the best networking experience by freeing the highest bandwidth to the most important traffic, allowing you to multitask without affecting your performance. The USB DAC-UP ports provide clean, noise-free power delivery to your Digital-to-Analog Converter. DACs can be sensitive to fluctuations in power from the other USB ports, which is why the USB DAC-UP ports take advantage of an isolated power source that minimizes potential fluctuations and ensures the best audio experience possible.