Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 ‘Coffee Lake’ Motherboard Review

Benchmark Results & Final Analysis

The MSI Z370 Godlike Gaming sets the initial comparison data set for Z370 platforms using the Core i7-8700K. Data from the 8700K’s predecessors is an average of all previous tests from this lab, which includes every Z270 and our initial batch of X299 motherboards (later X299s were tested exclusively using the higher-model 7900X).

Synthetic Benchmarks

Synthetic benchmarks are great diagnostic tools, and show a small lead for the competing MSI board, which is appropriate for its 0.5 MHz BCLK overclock. Since we’re always looking for apples-to-apples comparisons, we’re looking at a wash.

One tiny change in the results from our Z370 Godlike Gaming review is that Gigabyte’s aggregate memory bandwidth score drops from 25.6 GB/s to 25.3. That’s because of a previous transcription error of the actual 25.26 GB/s result, which was too small an error to warrant a review revision.

3D Games

The Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 has a couple gaming losses that exceed its competitor’s 0.5% overclock, yet even the largest differences are too small to notice in actual game play.

Differences in Talos are all about the game’s Nahimic Audio Solution compatibility, as the competing Z370 Godlike Gaming includes that software and its use imparts a framerate hit. A look back at that board’s review reveals higher frame rates with the software disabled.

Timed Applications

Lower is better in timed applications, and a few of the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7’s losses again exceed the 0.5% overclock of the competing Z370 Godlike Gaming. Combined performance differences remain within 2%, however.

Power, Heat, & Efficiency

The Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 has appeared adequate through all of the tests so far, but we did find a small problem upon further examination: Its default CPU core voltage is 1.200V, slightly exceeding default settings. The impact this has on power consumption and heat production is far more relevant to our analysis:

In spite of its reasonable performance, the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 is less efficient (by more than 13%) than the fully-loaded Z370 Godlike Gaming. This probably won’t matter to overclockers who use fixed voltage anyway, but it would have been a huge problem in a non-performance-enthusiast application.

Overclocking

The Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 does a good job overclocking within the thermal limits of our CPU, matching the ultra-expensive Z370 Godlike Gaming.

The Z370 Aorus Gaming is even able to take a small lead in overclocked memory bandwidth, proving the worth of its O/C in at least one respect compared to its rival.

Value

Determining value this early in the review process is complicated by the lack of a definitive answer for the difference in pricing between Z370 boards and the Z270 ones they potentially replace. Right now that difference appears to range from $0 to $30. If that difference were $30 consistently, the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 would be on the precipice of average value. And if we compare performance, it looks like a winner mostly because we haven’t tested any of the $0-price-premium Z370 motherboards yet.

Add in the price of the CPU, and the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 even looks like an average (or on par) value compared to our entire Z270 class.

We have an award for products that meet or slightly exceed our expectations without being priced into negative value territory, yet the only way the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 can get that is if we consider the worth of its lighting. Other features such as the premium audio DAC and software suite are easily offset by the added on-board components of certain competitors. While I’m loath to use lighting as a justification for an award, I’m sure readers who build show systems will be put off if I don’t. It’s my job to represent them too, and so the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 gets our stamp of approval.

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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.