Synthetic & Productivity Benchmarks
We put the Gigabyte Brix Gaming GT up against the Digital Storm Vanquish 5, which previously received our Tom's Hardware Approved award. The Acer Predator G1 also makes our charts to see how the Gigabyte Gaming GT holds up against the competition's version of a small form factor PC. We don't expect the Gigabyte Gaming GT to beat these systems in a graphics horsepower showdown (both use the Skylake CPU but have GTX 1080 graphics cards), but it will be interesting to see how it performs against these higher-priced machines. We also included data from our Z170 reference system, which is loaded with an Intel Core i7-6700K (at stock frequencies), 16GB of DDR4-2133, and EVGA Founder's Edition graphics cards (both GTX 1080 and 1070). The full specifications of our test bed are listed below.
Test System Configuration
As previously mentioned, the Intel Core i7-6700K operates at its stock base frequency of 4.0GHz, with a max turbo frequency of 4.2GHz. The Z170 chipset cannot be overclocked, so we'll have to settle for the base CPU speeds. The memory is also standard: a 16GB (2x8GB) kit of DDR4-2133 SODIMM memory with CAS timings of 15-15-15-36.
The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming graphics card features two different modes of operation: Gaming and OC mode. Gaming mode sets the base clock to 1594MHz with a boost frequency of 1784MHz, whereas OC mode features a base and boost clock of 1620MHz and 1822MHz, respectively. We left the GPU at its default Gaming mode to test the Gaming GT desktop.
The Gigabyte Gaming GT starts off with predictable performance in the 3DMark Fire Strike and Time Spy tests, performing better than our reference rig (with a GTX 1070) with its factory-overclocked graphics card. However, the GTX 1080-equipped systems are far ahead thanks to a beefier graphics score. The Gigabyte Gaming GT does manage to beat out the Acer Predator G1's Physics (CPU) performance thanks to a faster-clocked processor (the G1 features a locked Core i7-6700). The Gaming GT's CPU performance keeps up with our reference system (which also runs at stock CPU speeds), but it does lag ever-so-slightly behind. This is because the processor only occasionally peeked to its max turbo frequency of 4.2GHz, and it mostly stayed at its stock base clock of 4.0GHz. Despite this, temperatures were surprisingly solid throughout the test runs.
Taking a closer look at CPU performance with the Cinebench R15 benchmark, we see that the Gigabyte Gaming GT's power phase design (which is the same as its BRIX-branded mini PCs) does indeed affect the Intel Core i7-6700K's performance. Although there isn't a severe gap in the performance between the Gaming GT and our reference system (we left out the GTX 1070 results because the GPU isn't a factor), it does confirm that the CPU isn't maintaining its peak frequency as often as a standard desktop Z170 motherboard. However, it does manage to beat our reference rig in the OpenGL shading test, and it easily overpowers the Acer Predator G1's Core i7-6700.
The Compubench Video Processing and Bitcoin benchmarks rely on both the CPU and GPU, and the Gigabyte Gaming GT is able to edge out our reference rig (with a GTX 1070) in both tests. This is largely because of the factory-overclocked graphics card, which puts out almost 30 MHash/s more than our Founder's Edition (reference clocked) GPU. The Gaming GT also bests the Predator G1 in the Video Processing test, but it gets put back in its place in the Bitcoin test against the G1's GTX 1080.
The Gigabyte Gaming GT's 240G Transcend M.2 SATA SSD isn't the best solid state storage on the market, but it's a good middle-of-the-road MLC SSD that suits the purpose and puts up adequate performance numbers against its competition. The Digital Storm Vanquish uses a 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD; the Acer system contains a 512GB LiteOn CV1-8B512 M.2 SSD.
The drive's sequential read and write performance is rated for up to 560 GB/s and 310 GB/s, respectively, but our tests show it falling behind those ratings (as is usually the case with most SSDs). The IOPs performance is also par for the course (it does manage to outpace the Predator G1 by a small margin), and these results are in line with what you'd expect from a big-box brand gaming PC.
Sandra Memory Bandwidth
We recently added Sandra's memory bandwidth benchmark to our suite, but we didn't run it on any of our previous Z170 review units, so we don't have comparison data to show. The best that can be said about these results is that they are typical of standard DDR4-2133 dual-channel memory kits. You would see dramatically reduced total memory bandwidth with a single stick of memory, and we're thankful that Gigabyte provided a dual-channel kit.
The Gigabyte Gaming GT gets as close to the top of the mountain as its going to reach in the PCMark 8 benchmark tests, besting our Z170 test rig and the Acer Predator G1 (which has a GTX 1080 inside). It isn't able to beat the Vanquish 5 (because the Digital Storm system is overclocked and has better storage performance), but the Gaming GT's storage performance and factory-overclocked GPU give it the edge against the rest of the systems in the field in Adobe Creative and Microsoft Office applications.
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