Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 ‘Coffee Lake’ Motherboard Review

Software & Firmware

As part of an audio upgrade that includes a high-end ESS DAC, the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 includes Creative’s SoundBlasterX 720° suite. Various audio manipulations include increasing the noise of your opponent’s footsteps, and it even includes a radar app to visually indicate the direction of their approach.

Gigabyte App Center remains the tray-residing menu for its collection of applications.

Some of Gigabyte’s smaller apps include 3D OSD system status overlay feature, @BIOS firmware updating feature with “Face Wizard” custom splash screen tool, Smart Keyboard macro recorder, AutoGreen power saving mode utility, BIOS Setup utility with a few minor firmware settings, Color Temperature display output mixer, DAC-UP 2 voltage tuner for USB ports, Smart Backup system and file backup utility, Smart Timelock scheduler to control when third parties (such as children) can use the PC, USB blocker with password protection for USB ports, V-Tuner graphics card overclocking utility, Cloud Station online storage client, and Cloud Station Server for hosting files and controlling the PC remotely. Some remote functions are designed to use onboard Wi-Fi/Bluetooth controllers of other motherboard models.

Gigabyte RGB Fusion worked perfectly on the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7, providing full color and pattern control for the various lighting groups on board. It can even be programmed to respond to system events rather than follow a fixed routine, if desired.

Gigabyte’s Smart Heads-Up Display provides an overlay of prerecorded videos atop gameplay videos, which could come in handy for following tutorials or previously optimized paths through the game map.

Gigabyte System Information Viewer starts the first time in an automatic fan tuner that’s laggy to cancel out of and will continue to pop up until the you finally let it do its thing. Its “thing” is to modify three of its four fan profiles to match your cooling configuration. The fourth profile, “Full Speed,” needs no tuning.

Gigabyte SIV also lets you set your own fan profiles manually, enable and alter various system event alerts, and record system events. An icon in the upper corner flips the app from console mode to a hardware monitor that consumes the entire right edge of your screen.

In the image above, I split the hardware monitor screen shot so it wouldn’t be as tall as your screen, placing the two halves so that its entirety would fit inside your view window. Hardware Monitor is also available from Gigabyte’s Easy Tune software, but clicking its “back” icon will always take you to its System Information Viewer menu.

Remember the OC button? Gigabyte EasyTune also includes that function using its software interface. And while the OC button cancels out at reboot, the software’s OC mode can be set to enable following a restart. Users are also allowed to program their own overclocking profiles, save them, and choose whether or not these should be automatically applied.

We confirmed Easy Tune’s ability to alter CPU multiplier, base clock, and voltage on the fly, but any changes to the memory configuration cause the program to force a reboot. Unlike DDR data rates, the DDR timings menu bars are greyed-out (non-functional).

The Auto Tuning algorithm of Gigabyte Easy Tune also took us to 4.90 GHz, but detected that our core needed 1.36V to run this frequency. That’s important, as Prime 95 threads 7 and 8 crashed using the default OC profile’s 1.30V CPU core.

Firmware

The Z370 Aorus Gaming 7’s firmware opens by default to the M.I.T. menu of advanced mode, which is a launching point for overclocking sub-menus. Moving the mouse to the right side of the screen also shows current voltage and frequency settings.

Gigabyte_Z370-Aorus-Gaming-7_01.png

The Advanced Frequency Settings menu is primarily for CPU overclocking, though it includes a memory multiplier made redundant by the Advanced Memory Settings menu. We were able to push our Core i7-8700K to 4848 MHz using a 101 MHz BCLK at 1.30V CPU core, whereas the auto-tuned 4.90 GHz at 1.36V caused our system to thermal-throttle after a few minutes of full Prime95 load.

Factory-included overclocking programs for our Core i7-8700K (pasted from a second screen shot so you could see what was behind that menu) included 4.80 GHz at around 1.36V, 4.90 GHz at around 1.38V, and 5.00 GHz at 1.42V. Given our inability to keep our cores consistently below throttle temperature at settings above 1.30V, we had to pass.

The Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 pushed a pair of our DDR4-3866 modules to DDR4-4040, and kept all four modules stable at DDR4-4000. Its Advanced Memory Setting sub-menu dives into combined (Manual mode) and per-channel (Advanced Manual mode) primary, secondary, and tertiary timings.

The M.I.T. “Advanced Voltage Settings” sub-menu is yet another launch point for menus that control various CPU, DRAM, and on-board component voltage levels. Our CPU required a VCore Loadline Calibration setting called “Turbo” to maintain its 1.30V when stressed with 12 threads of AVX-enabled Prime95.

Gigabyte’s decision to use 10mV steps for DRAM regulation is slightly unfortunate, as the 1.350V setting was measured as 1.357V at the slot. Given that certain manufacturers have used enormous amounts of cheat-voltage (aka, unreported overvolting up to 30mV) in past samples, we had to set a hard-and-fast limit of 1.355V (measured) to keep the competition fair. And that meant setting the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 to 1.340V.

I prefer to make my fan settings in firmware, and Gigabyte obliges with a Smart Fan 5 menu that lets me set both the control mode and my own fan profiles to each fan header.

Launched from its “Peripherals” firmware menu, the firmware version of RGB Fusion provides a reduced set of controls for its on-board lighting and LED headers.

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22 comments
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  • karma77police
    The best Z370 motherboard out there is ASRock Extreme 4 for $159.
  • AgentLozen
    But does it have LED lighting?
  • KittenKisses
    Where are the asrock Z370 reviews?
  • AcesB
    >But does it have LED lighting?
    LOL!
    I'm still wondering why there so many people obsessed with LED decoration. Some PC is fancier than a Christmas tree! It's a good time to be an LED manufacturer or just sell it.
  • Lucky_SLS
    Looking at the specs, I feel that the best bang for buck z370 is the Asus tuf plus gaming for 150 bucks.
  • mixacias63
    I need a motherboard that has Thunderbolt 3 within the motherboard. They removed that feature with upgrade. I don’t need the lights. I need Thunderbolt 3
  • hixbot
    I'm waiting Z370 mobo with 10GBE.
  • Mr5oh
    Not to mention the built in LEDs in everything never match each other which is very aggravating... Another thing I find aggravating is when they starting cutting out rear USB ports. My latest motherboard is a high end motherboard and it has multiple spots to hook up front USB ports, but how many cases really have more than 2 front USB ports. Not to mention who wants things plugged into the front of their case? Am I the only want who runs out of rear ports and find's USB hubs unreliable or slow, no matter what brand? D-link, Anker, (all powered hubs) doesn't seem to matter, either they put my devices to sleep and don't wake them when needed, or they don't successfully transfer files during large transfers.

    I haven't had enough USB ports since my Haswell build... (Currently using a GA-270X Gaming 7 Board and 7700K)
  • Crashman
    2571322 said:
    I need a motherboard that has Thunderbolt 3 within the motherboard. They removed that feature with upgrade. I don’t need the lights. I need Thunderbolt 3
    Best comment yet! I don't need Thunderbolt 3 but I can at least understand that as a legitimate need.
    33750 said:
    Not to mention the built in LEDs in everything never match each other which is very aggravating... Another thing I find aggravating is when they starting cutting out rear USB ports. My latest motherboard is a high end motherboard and it has multiple spots to hook up front USB ports, but how many cases really have more than 2 front USB ports. Not to mention who wants things plugged into the front of their case? Am I the only want who runs out of rear ports and find's USB hubs unreliable or slow, no matter what brand? D-link, Anker, (all powered hubs) doesn't seem to matter, either they put my devices to sleep and don't wake them when needed, or they don't successfully transfer files during large transfers. I haven't had enough USB ports since my Haswell build... (Currently using a GA-270X Gaming 7 Board and 7700K)

    We really need to ditch the notion that USB 2.0 should be removed from the I/O panel, since most people are using at least two such devices. Anyone who says "but USB 3.0 supports those devices too" is probably missing the point on resource allocation: USB 2.0 doesn't even require HSIO.
  • James Mason
    8708 said:
    2571322 said:
    I need a motherboard that has Thunderbolt 3 within the motherboard. They removed that feature with upgrade. I don’t need the lights. I need Thunderbolt 3
    Best comment yet! I don't need Thunderbolt 3 but I can at least understand that as a legitimate need.
    33750 said:
    Not to mention the built in LEDs in everything never match each other which is very aggravating... Another thing I find aggravating is when they starting cutting out rear USB ports. My latest motherboard is a high end motherboard and it has multiple spots to hook up front USB ports, but how many cases really have more than 2 front USB ports. Not to mention who wants things plugged into the front of their case? Am I the only want who runs out of rear ports and find's USB hubs unreliable or slow, no matter what brand? D-link, Anker, (all powered hubs) doesn't seem to matter, either they put my devices to sleep and don't wake them when needed, or they don't successfully transfer files during large transfers. I haven't had enough USB ports since my Haswell build... (Currently using a GA-270X Gaming 7 Board and 7700K)
    We really need to ditch the notion that USB 2.0 should be removed from the I/O panel, since most people are using at least two such devices. Anyone who says "but USB 3.0 supports those devices too" is probably missing the point on resource allocation: USB 2.0 doesn't even require HSIO.


    No way anyone needs thunderbolt-3 on a desktop PC.
    Thunderbolt 3 is two things, USB-C and Displayport 1.2 combined, with a 40GBps transfer speed.
    So unless you're plugging your Macbook pro into a dock connected to a 4k monitor or 2, you don't need Thunderbolt 3.
    The motherboard has a DP 1.2 port on it, and a USB C port.
    You DO NOT need both of those combined on a DESKTOP motherboard.
    AND no CPU/APU could provide that amount of graphical power anyways, so there's no reason for anything better to be on the mobo.
  • Crashman
    1536795 said:
    8708 said:
    2571322 said:
    I need a motherboard that has Thunderbolt 3 within the motherboard. They removed that feature with upgrade. I don’t need the lights. I need Thunderbolt 3
    Best comment yet! I don't need Thunderbolt 3 but I can at least understand that as a legitimate need.
    33750 said:
    Not to mention the built in LEDs in everything never match each other which is very aggravating... Another thing I find aggravating is when they starting cutting out rear USB ports. My latest motherboard is a high end motherboard and it has multiple spots to hook up front USB ports, but how many cases really have more than 2 front USB ports. Not to mention who wants things plugged into the front of their case? Am I the only want who runs out of rear ports and find's USB hubs unreliable or slow, no matter what brand? D-link, Anker, (all powered hubs) doesn't seem to matter, either they put my devices to sleep and don't wake them when needed, or they don't successfully transfer files during large transfers. I haven't had enough USB ports since my Haswell build... (Currently using a GA-270X Gaming 7 Board and 7700K)
    We really need to ditch the notion that USB 2.0 should be removed from the I/O panel, since most people are using at least two such devices. Anyone who says "but USB 3.0 supports those devices too" is probably missing the point on resource allocation: USB 2.0 doesn't even require HSIO.
    No way anyone needs thunderbolt-3 on a desktop PC. Thunderbolt 3 is two things, USB-C and Displayport 1.2 combined, with a 40GBps transfer speed. So unless you're plugging your Macbook pro into a dock connected to a 4k monitor or 2, you don't need Thunderbolt 3. The motherboard has a DP 1.2 port on it, and a USB C port. You DO NOT need both of those combined on a DESKTOP motherboard. AND no CPU/APU could provide that amount of graphical power anyways, so there's no reason for anything better to be on the mobo.
    Or maybe you found a Thunderbolt 3 external drive enclosure? Or maybe you want to daisy-chain your monitor and other external devices together. I'm not here to judge, if the man says he needs it his point will be considered valid until he says something that negates it.
  • jn77
    Yep, its 2017, not 1999. there should be 2 10GBE network ports on all motherboards and there should be at least 4 USB Type C connectors also.
  • gasaraki
    Pretty weak review. The Tech Report review was way more detailed on everything, like the VRMs etc. This review just has general info I can look up myself.
  • Crashman
    138134 said:
    Pretty weak review. The Tech Report review was way more detailed on everything, like the VRMs etc. This review just has general info I can look up myself.
    That's because I'd rather not say anything than write stuff that's being fed to me. We all know that different voltage regulator components for example have different capacities, and that having a 60A part and a 45A part in series limits the total ampacity to 45A. The kicker is, I'm the one who's not afraid to say that I can't always find the weakest link in a circuit: Many other "experts" will try to improve their credibility by speaking only about the parts they can see.

    What you'd really like to have is failure mode testing. You might not have thought of that yet, or maybe you have.
  • Darkbreeze
    Thomas, now that enough time has passed for some thorough testing on a variety of Z370 boards, can you comment as to whether you've noticed a trend on Z370 VRM temperatures as evidenced by this recent disclosure on the Aorus Ultra gaming? To your knowledge is this an issue across the entire Gigabyte Z370 family or only on this one board? Have you tested this board yourself yet and can you verify this IS in fact a problem?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjbzTHcaHO0
  • Crashman
    1696453 said:
    Thomas, now that enough time has passed for some thorough testing on a variety of Z370 boards, can you comment as to whether you've noticed a trend on Z370 VRM temperatures as evidenced by this recent disclosure on the Aorus Ultra gaming? To your knowledge is this an issue across the entire Gigabyte Z370 family or only on this one board? Have you tested this board yourself yet and can you verify this IS in fact a problem? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjbzTHcaHO0



    The next Gigabyte review to be published is Mini ITX so its results might not be as useful.
  • Darkbreeze
    So, it seems there IS a marked increase on VRM thermals with the Gigabyte boards than on competing Z370 motherboard brands. And looking at that it sure looks like there is a serious issue with the average temps on Z270 as well, for all brands. I was away for about a year, up in the mountains on a secluded jobsite doing reforestation so I may have missed that entire scenario.

    Was this true? Was there a serious problem with VRM overheating on the entire Z270 lineup? Can you comment (allowed) on your opinion as to whether this is still only an issue on Gigabyte boards, select Gigabyte boards or where does the truth lie on this? Please feel free to PM me if you are limited in what you can say here. Thanks.
  • Crashman
    1696453 said:
    So, it seems there IS a marked increase on VRM thermals with the Gigabyte boards than on competing Z370 motherboard brands. And looking at that it sure looks like there is a serious issue with the average temps on Z270 as well, for all brands. I was away for about a year, up in the mountains on a secluded jobsite doing reforestation so I may have missed that entire scenario. Was this true? Was there a serious problem with VRM overheating on the entire Z270 lineup? Can you comment (allowed) on your opinion as to whether this is still only an issue on Gigabyte boards, select Gigabyte boards or where does the truth lie on this? Please feel free to PM me if you are limited in what you can say here. Thanks.

    Z270 was a different game because we only had four-core CPUs. We're testing Z370 with 6-core. And you know how when you cross over a certain point things just seam to climb endlessly until they don't, like if you added an slice of pie every day to your lunch...

    Thus far it appears they're all running hot. We tested an MSI board that was far cooler, but its power consumption was also down by 40W, so we suspect it was being throttled when running Prime95 small-FFTs.
  • Darkbreeze
    That makes sense, but what doesn't is the fact that on that chart I'm seeing higher average VRM temperatures than even the Gigabyte Z370 board you looked at, despite the fact that it only had four cores instead of six. What's that saying? Was the problem that bad on Z270 and if so how come I'm not seeing that translated into the articles on Z270 I've been reading trying to play catch up on the platform changes I missed out on while I was out of touch so to speak.

    And does this ACTUALLY mean that in reality, even on the Z370 boards that are running 6 core chips, we're actually seeing LOWER overall average VRM temperatures than what was averaged on Z270 with four cores?
  • Crashman
    1696453 said:
    That makes sense, but what doesn't is the fact that on that chart I'm seeing higher average VRM temperatures than even the Gigabyte Z370 board you looked at, despite the fact that it only had four cores instead of six. What's that saying? Was the problem that bad on Z270 and if so how come I'm not seeing that translated into the articles on Z270 I've been reading trying to play catch up on the platform changes I missed out on while I was out of touch so to speak. And does this ACTUALLY mean that in reality, even on the Z370 boards that are running 6 core chips, we're actually seeing LOWER overall average VRM temperatures than what was averaged on Z270 with four cores?


    Voltages regulator temperatures can be impacted by undersized components (including the heatsink). Some boards did better than others. I'm seeing higher temperatures on average with the Z370 because I'm testing similar regulators (not much changed) with a six-core processor.
  • Darkbreeze
    Thank you Thomas for the information.