This is actually the first Z97 motherboard that I have reviewed from Gigabyte and I am very impressed. Not only does the board look great, but it performs well and has all of the features that gamers would want. Starting off with the gaming-centric features you have Killer E2200 gaming networking, which should provide no-lag gaming. Gigabyte’s AMP-UP audio solution will provide excellent audio for gaming and has extra features like the upgradable OP-AMP and the on board gain boost switches. Of course being a gaming board you want to be able to load this motherboard with video cards and Gigabyte has made sure of this with two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, two PCI-Express 3.0 x8 slots and the PLX PEX8747 chip making it possible to run 4-way SLI and CrossFire setups.
One thing that I was really impressed with was the BIOS on this motherboard. It offers three different modes; the first is home menu that has all of your important settings a few clicks away. Next you have the Smart Tweak HD BIOS. This BIOS is beautiful and makes it very easy for you to change options. Finally you have access to the classic UEFI BIOS as well. All of these options makes it so anyone can go into the BIOS and change settings even if you are a novice.
Another thing that Gigabyte has really improved upon is their companion software. This have included all of their software applications in an easy to use “APP Center”. This makes it easy to access all of the software in one place. The EasyTune software has been improved and is quite easy to use to overclock your system. The software also makes it extremely easy to update not only your software, but your drivers as well.
Talking about overclocking it was extremely easy on the Z97X-Gaming GT. The EasyTune software actually has set overclocks depending on what processor you have installed. Beyond that its auto-tuning feature works great and actually provided us with the same overclock that we achieved by overclocking the system ourselves. Of course you can easily overclock your system in the BIOS as well. I achieved a 4.6 GHz stable overclock on the Intel Core i7-4790K, which puts the Z97X-Gaming GT on par with other Z97 motherboards that we have tested recently. I had no problem getting the system to boot all the way up at 4.9 GHz, but due to heat restrictions and stability I had to bring it down to 4.6 GHz.
New features of the Z97 chipset include M.2 and SATA Express. While this motherboard does have a single SATA Express port the M.2 slot is missing from this motherboard.
While Gigabyte may have ditched the flashy colors their gaming series is still a top contender! Right now the Z97X-Gaming GT is selling for $223.99 at my favorite online retailer. Overall ThinkComputers gives the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming GT a 9 out of 10 score and our Recommended Award!
– Killer E2200 Networking
– AMP-UP Audio solution
– 4-way SLI and Crossfire capable
– SATA Express
– Sleek and easy to use BIOS
– Good software suite
– No M.2 slot
– Some may miss the flashy colors of the Gaming line