As I said in the introduction of this review the Z170X-Gaming G1 has been on my radar since it was revealed at Computex. Now that I’ve got my hands on it and have been able to test it am I still excited about it? You bet I am! Gigabyte has really put together an amazing flagship board for their Z170 series, name a feature and this board has it!
Let’s start with the gaming specific features. First and foremost this board has 3-way and 4-way multi-GPU capabilities. This is thanks to the PEX8747 bridge chip. Most Z170 motherboards you will see will support 1-2 graphics cards, if you are doing more cards than that this is the right board for that! We have seen a few Z170 motherboards with Killer networking but Gigabyte took it to the next level with the Killer DoubleShot X3 Pro gaming networking which makes use of dual Killer E2400 Ethernet adapters and Killer 1535 802.11ac / Bluetooth 4.1 adapter. Finally we come to audio, and this board just blows it out of the water here. The audio solution on the board is more or less like having a discrete sound card. From the Core3D Quad-Core Audio Processor, Burr-Brown High End 127 dB DAC, three upgradable OP AMPs, and two gain switches you really have a high-end audio solution.
Gaming motherboards are all about look and Gigabyte really did a great job with the Z170 line. To be honest I was not a huge fan of the color design on the Gigabyte Z97 and X99 gaming motherboards. Toning down the red and added a lot of white really gives this motherboard its own unique look. Add in all of the LEDs and you have a board that is unlike any other. On top of that you can control the LEDs on the board and even turn them off if you want.
As I mentioned in my other Z170 motherboard reviews with Z170 we are going to see a lot more I/O connections and Gigabyte also has great implementation of this. Gigabyte makes use of Intel’s dual Thunderbolt and USB 3.1 controller. This means you have four PCI-Express 3.0 lanes routed to the Intel controller so you can use 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt 3.0 from the rear USB 3.1 port. Gigabyte also includes the USB 3.1 bay so you can use USB 3.1 devices on the front of your tower. When it comes to M.2 slots you have dual 32 Gb/s M.2 slots which means you can run two M.2 solid state drives in a RAID setup. Gigabyte includes a M.2 to U.2 adapter for NVMe solid state drives too!
When it came to performance you might have noticed that this board did not score as well in many of the tests. This is actually because with the PEX8747 bridge chip you actually add a little latency. So if you are using a single GPU you will see this, but who is going to use a single GPU with this board?! The board was very solid and has a massive power phase design. This enabled us to reach an overclock of 4.7 GHz on our Core i7-6700K at only 1.38V.
Gigabyte decided to move away from their 3-option BIOS and now you just have a single advanced BIOS option. While this is great for enthusiasts, I still would have liked to have seen an easy mode screen for beginners to change their XMP profile, set boot device priority, etc. Gigabyte also bundles their APP Center which is full of great software, much of it for gaming. The Easy Tune software allows you to easily change many of the motherboard options without going into the BIOS.
Being a flagship motherboard the Z170X-Gaming G1 does have a hefty price tag of $500. But you have to consider Gigabyte really threw everything that was possible at this motherboard and executed it perfectly. If you want great audio, networking and are planning on a multi-GPU setup this is the board to get!
Overall ThinkComputers gives the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 Motherboard a 9 out of 10 score and our Editor’s Choice Award!
– 3-way and 4-way multi-GPU support
– Killer DoubleShot X3 Pro gaming networking
– Some of the best audio we have seen on a motherboard
– Illumination and sleek color design
– 22-phase power design
– Intel’s dual Thunderbolt and USB 3.1 controller
– Dual 32 Gb/s M.2 slots
– USB 3.1 bay included
– Would have liked to see an easy mode in the BIOS
– PEX8747 adds latency in single-GPU setups
– Price puts it out of the reach of most people