Gigabyte announced that it has seven new workstation motherboards coming to market with Intel’s C232 and C236 chipsets. Although these boards are technically designed as workstation products, they carry a number of features that we would expect to see on enthusiast motherboards. Gigabyte also announced a new Z170 chipset motherboard.
Before we examine the features on each motherboard, it’s important to note a naming convention that Gigabyte is using. According to a Gigabyte representative, the features and connectivity options of the workstation C236 chipset are identical to the consumer H170 chipset, and the C232 chipset is the same as the B150 chipset. Realizing this, Gigabyte opted to place “X170” in a motherboard’s name to signify the use of a C236 chipset, and “X150” to indicate a C232 chipset.
At the high end, Gigabyte released two motherboards that are essentially the same, the GA-X170-Gaming 7 WS and the Gigabyte-GA-X170-Extreme ECC. In terms of their physical design and makeup, when we were shown these motherboards at CES they were exactly the same, except one had a sticker that said “Extreme ECC” placed over the “Gaming 7 WS” printed on the board. The Extreme ECC version does, as the name suggests, feature support for ECC DDR4, and it is targeted more as a workstation product, but otherwise there isn’t anything different about these boards.
Gigabyte hasn’t released all of the specs yet, but both motherboards will have three SATA Express ports, two M.2 Key M slots, and two additional SATA-III (6 Gbps) connections not configured to be used as SATA Express, giving users plenty of storage options. They will also have a Creative SoundCore 3D audio chip and use two NICs, one produced by Intel and the other a Killer E2400. Both boards have USB Type-C connectors on the rear I/O panel, but Gigabyte didn’t state what protocol they use.
As a slightly lower-end option, Gigabyte will offer the GA-X170-Gaming 3 WS. This board has significantly reduced VRM cooling hardware compared to the other X170 boards, and it has considerably fewer power phases, but it still has enough that users shouldn’t need to be concerned about what processor they use.
Connectivity options on this board are fairly similar to the GA-X170 Gaming 7 WS board. It still has three SATA Express and two M.2 Key M slots, but it has two fewer SATA-III ports than the more expensive boards. It also has only a single Killer E2200 NIC, and Gigabyte didn’t dish out the remaining board specs.
|Gigabyte’s New Motherboards|
|Model||Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 6||GA-X150M-Plus WS||GA-X150-Plus WS||GA-X150M-Pro ECC||GA-X150-Pro ECC||GA-X170-Gaming 3 WS||GA-X170-Gaming 7 WS||GA-X170-Extreme ECC|
|Memory Support||4 x DDR4||2 x DDR4||4 x DDR4||4 x DDR4 ECC||4 x DDR4 ECC||4 x DDR4||4 x DDR4||4 x DDR4 ECC|
|PCI Ports||(3) x16(4) x1||(1) x16(2) x1||(2) x16(1) x1(2) PCI||(2) x16(2) PCI||N/A||(3) x16(3) x1||(3) x16(3) x1||(3) x16(3) x1|
|M.2 Ports||2 x Key M||0||1 x Key M||1 x Key M||N/A||2 x Key M||2 x Key M||2 x Key M|
|SATA||N/A||6 x SATA-III||N/A||8 x SATA-III||N/A||6 x SATA-III||8 x SATA III||8 x SATA III|
|Audio||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Creative SoundCore 3D||Creative SoundCore 3D|
|Networking||N/A||1 x Realtek Gigabit||1 x Intel Gigabit||1 x Intel Gigabit||N/A||1 x Killer E2200||1 x Killer E24001 x Intel Gigabit||1 x Killer E24001 x Intel Gigabit|
There is no word on pricing or availability.