Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 Motherboard Review

Test Results, Overclocking And Conclusion

To assure accurate comparisons, we repeat the benchmark configuration from our initial Z170 roundup in every Z170 motherboard review.

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Synthetic Benchmarks

Gigabyte's Z170X-Gaming G1 gets sixteen lanes to its top slot through its PEX8747 Switch, while EVGA's Z170 Classified bypasses the switch in single-card mode but is limited to only eight lanes. Added latency from that switch puts the Z170X-Gaming G1 slightly behind in 3DMark, a test which isn't bandwidth-intensive enough to pull down the Z170 Classified.

Apart from that tiny deficit in 3DMark, the Z170X-Gaming G1 performs on-par with the top two boards in synthetic benchmarks.

3D Games

The Z170X-Gaming G1 finishes less than 1 percent behind the gaming performance leader, in spite of the small latency penalty of its PEX8747 switch. That switch is required to run three or four cards in SLI, so that sounds like a solid trade-off.

Timed Applications

The Z170X-Gaming G1 shows average performance in every timed benchmark, which is great since any significant deviation from average would have indicated a problem. We like problem-free products.

Power, Heat And Efficiency

It probably makes sense that the board with the greatest number of onboard controllers consumes the greatest amount of energy, yet power misers will still be shocked to see differences of up to 20W. If these results offend you, you're welcome to disable things you're not using. The Wi-Fi controller, perhaps?

Heat also reduced the efficiency of voltage regulators, and lower-efficiency voltage-regulators likewise produce more heat, so the 20W at load is starting to make sense. We could have aimed a fan directly at the voltage regulator, or connected its water line to a liquid cooler, but those changes would have skewed this comparison. We'll reluctantly settle for a 15.5 percent below-average efficiency rating.

Overclocking

Gigabyte produced a special F5i beta firmware to overcome mediocre memory overclocking, but we're not able to use it in overall evaluation simply because it hasn't been verified yet. At least that firmware was public when we started testing, and it even produced record-high four-DIMM data rates.

Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 BIOS Frequency and Voltage Settings
BIOSF4 (09/08/2015)
Base Clock80-500 MHz (10 kHz)
CPU Multiplier8x-127x (1x)
DRAM Data Rates800-4133 (100/133.3 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.50-1.80 V (5 mV)
System Agent0.80-1.30 V (5 mV)
CPU I/O0.80-1.30 V (5 mV)
PCH Voltage0.80-1.30 V (20 mV)
DRAM Voltage1.00-2.00 V (10 mV)
CAS Latency5-31 Cycles
tRCD1-63 Cycles
tRP1-63 Cycles
tRAS1-127 Cycles

Switching back to validated F4 firmware, the Z170X-Gaming G1 is still no slouch in the clock comparison.

The Z170X-Gaming G1 also produced adequate bandwidth at nonstandard frequency, indicating that Gigabyte hasn't used performance-impairing timings to produce higher clocks. However, it wouldn't reach DDR4-2933 without enabling XMP timings.

Want more? We've been collecting additional memory data since the outset of Z170 motherboard testing, including DDR4-3200 bandwidth data on boards that would support it. All of the top models are DDR4-3200 capable, but Gigabyte's Z170X-Gaming G1 takes the prize in bandwidth.

Oh, and in case you were thinking of using that beta firmware to reach DDR4-3600 (four DIMMS) or DDR4-3672 (two DIMMS) but are now afraid that its data-rate-boosting settings might have resulted from performance-penalizing timings, we tested it at both DDR4-2933 and DDR4-3200. Bandwidth remained virtually unchanged.

Gigabyte did a great job of boosting the feature set of its Z170X-Gaming G1, but who would pay $473 for a mainstream-platform motherboard? Perhaps it would be better to question buyers of the competing EVGA Z170 Classified, since that board has far fewer features yet still costs $400. Gigabyte's biggest feature advantages are its Thunderbolt 3 and 802.11ac MIMO Wi-Fi controller, though a bunch of smaller things such as its front-panel USB 3.1 bay adapter, bundle of SLI bridges and integrated liquid-cooling provisions are probably worth as much as those two "big" features. In total, it appears the Z170X-Gaming G1 is worth at least twice its price difference over the Z170 Classified, and that makes it the board we'd choose for a cost-be-damned overclocked Core i7-6700K gaming rig.

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Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware, covering CasesCoolingMemory and Motherboards. Follow him on Twitter.

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  • spentshells
    That was a great article, thanks.
    1
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    That was a great article, thanks.
    Lesson to manufacturers, give me more to write about and I'll write a bigger article?
    5
  • red77star
    It is not LGA 2011 V3...there is nothing good about it.
    -6
  • red77star
    6 Core i5820 is cheaper than quad core top of the line Skylake. The thing is that LGA 2011 V3 is going to support future CPU where this board is pretty much stack at Skylake.
    -2
  • Rookie_MIB
    Why is nobody actually testing the best features of the board? Quad SLI? Raid M.2? This is a top of the line board and not a single result of the biggest questions.
    3
  • James Mason
    Anonymous said:
    6 Core i5820 is cheaper than quad core top of the line Skylake. The thing is that LGA 2011 V3 is going to support future CPU where this board is pretty much stack at Skylake.


    Proof?

    Also the top of the line skylake i7-6700k is currently being price gouged a bit. You can get it at microcenter for only 359. The i7-5820k is quite a lot more power hungry than the skylake.
    0
  • Math Geek
    this is the 3rd article i have read on this mobo from 3 different sites and yet no one has bothered to see what the 3 m.2 slots can do in raid set-up. that was the first thing that stood out to me when i saw the board and no one has even tested it yet.

    in my opinion if you are going to review a top of the line "cost-be-damned overclocked Core i7-6700K gaming rig", the fill that sucker up with what it can handle and let's see what it can do. try out some m.2 raid and at least 3 way sli. someone paying this kind of money for a mobo is gonna go all out and i'd love for the review to go all out as well :)

    otherwise the rest of the info is nice and complete as usual. just need the last couple chapters and it would have been perfect
    1
  • rolli59
    Very nice board that appeals to the <1% market since most people do not use the added expensive features.
    0
  • g-unit1111
    That is a sweet board but that price... :ouch:

    A bit too rich for my blood! :lol:
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Why is nobody actually testing the best features of the board? Quad SLI? Raid M.2? This is a top of the line board and not a single result of the biggest questions.
    None of us has three or more matching cards to put at one lab. But I'm thinking about doing another PCIe Scaling in SLI article like I did a few years ago with the P67.

    What do you think? I might be able to get someone to pitch in some cards for that :)

    Anonymous said:
    this is the 3rd article i have read on this mobo from 3 different sites and yet no one has bothered to see what the 3 m.2 slots can do in raid set-up. that was the first thing that stood out to me when i saw the board and no one has even tested it yet.

    in my opinion if you are going to review a top of the line "cost-be-damned overclocked Core i7-6700K gaming rig", the fill that sucker up with what it can handle and let's see what it can do. try out some m.2 raid and at least 3 way sli. someone paying this kind of money for a mobo is gonna go all out and i'd love for the review to go all out as well :)

    otherwise the rest of the info is nice and complete as usual. just need the last couple chapters and it would have been perfect
    The entire PCH has only the bandwidth of a single M.2 slot, and that's also shared with the Thunderbolt 3 controller. As the article state it's pointless to try to load up more than 32GB/s in devices at the same time.
    2
  • xenol
    Quote:
    The entire PCH has only the bandwidth of a single M.2 slot, and that's also shared with the Thunderbolt 3 controller. As the article state it's pointless to try to load up more than 32GB/s in devices at the same time.

    What about testing the other factors, like IOPS and stuff?

    I actually don't care about memory bandwidth. Community tests I've found suggested there's no point in going beyond SATA 6Gbps for most applications because load times don't improve appreciably for the cost of the media after that.
    0
  • voodoochicken
    I have the cutdown Gaming 7 version of this board, and I've been trying to pick a mid tower case with a similar white/red/black scheme. Haven't really found one that I liked, something similar to BixFenix Outlaw white is similar to the direction I'd like to go. Ideas?
    0
  • jaber2
    Niche market motherboard
    0
  • shrapnel_indie
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    6 Core i5820 is cheaper than quad core top of the line Skylake. The thing is that LGA 2011 V3 is going to support future CPU where this board is pretty much stack at Skylake.


    Proof?

    Also the top of the line skylake i7-6700k is currently being price gouged a bit. You can get it at microcenter for only 359. The i7-5820k is quite a lot more power hungry than the skylake.


    When Amazon and NewEgg are sold out, and there is no MicroCenter even close enough to consider, you are stuck with OutletPC and their price of $698.89 ea. for an i7-6700k. For that price, a 6-core i7-5820k, or i7-5930k for that matter, is cheaper.

    https://pcpartpicker.com/part/intel-cpu-bx80662i76700k
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    6 Core i5820 is cheaper than quad core top of the line Skylake. The thing is that LGA 2011 V3 is going to support future CPU where this board is pretty much stack at Skylake.


    Proof?

    Also the top of the line skylake i7-6700k is currently being price gouged a bit. You can get it at microcenter for only 359. The i7-5820k is quite a lot more power hungry than the skylake.


    When Amazon and NewEgg are sold out, and there is no MicroCenter even close enough to consider, you are stuck with OutletPC and their price of $698.89 ea. for an i7-6700k. For that price, a 6-core i7-5820k, or i7-5930k for that matter, is cheaper.

    https://pcpartpicker.com/part/intel-cpu-bx80662i76700k


    This article was written before the price spike and will remain relevant after the spike goes away :)
    0
  • chechak
    looking for gigabyte-z170x-gaming 7 setup
    0
  • Take_Out
    Where is Z 270 at? Supposed to be like half again more powerful. Prob 4 mo away.
    0
  • Mac266
    I must say I love the look. Nice to see a departure from the regular Red/Black, the white really works it for me.
    1
  • DrakeFS
    Quote:
    What about testing the other factors, like IOPS and stuff?


    Not really much of a point, SSDs at low queue depths are pretty much all the same. Since most of us when gaming are operating below a QD of 4, you will not see much of a distinction between different boards (current SSDs are not capable of pushing the interface at a low QD). Maybe if 3D Xpoint is what Intel and Micron claim it is, we will see some new life breathed into NVME M.2 Slots on the consumer side.
    0
  • turkey3_scratch
    It'd be cool to see 4 Crossfire R7 370 cards.
    1