Z170X-Gaming G1 Software And Firmware
Gigabyte App Center is a popup menu activated by a tray icon to provide access to all of Gigabyte's other programs. A down arrow within its settings bar opens the APP Center updater menu.
Applications include @BIOS firmware updater, Ambient LED to control various modes for the dozens of multi-color background lights, USB blocker to password-protect USB ports, Smart Backup recovery utility, Smart Timelock internet access scheduling, and various utilities to access the Windows to UEFI interface settings.
Gigabyte Cloud Station Server allows users to turn their PC into a file server for their portable devices, and turn their portable devices into a remote control for their PC. My phone didn't work with the latter function, though file serving was still useful. Another menu even allows users to turn the Wi-Fi controller into a hot-spot, though doing so would prevent it from being used in "Killer Doubleshot" mode.
Gigabyte's efforts to promote its Cloud OC wireless overclocking app have overshadowed a different program that works with my own phone. Rather than act wirelessly, HW OC App uses a USB cable connected in data tethering mode. Overclocking is so quick and easy that most users will likely blow way past their CPU's limits and lock the system before realizing how silly they've been. Gigabyte's HW OC App is available for Android and iOS.
One other thing to note about HW OC App is that it uses the same white I/O-panel port that connects its "Q-Flash Plus" firmware updating controller. When it's not being used to stress CPUs or de-stress technicians, that port becomes an equally-useful USB 3.0 connection.
Gigabyte's familiar EasyTune software continues to provide Windows-level access to a full range of firmware overclocking controls, in addition to an auto-overclocking and validation algorithm that pushed our CPU to 4.60 GHz at 1.38 volts. The software didn't set voltage "droop" compensation however, and the CPU core dropped to 1.33V under load.
Gigabyte System Information Viewer reports, monitors, and records various statistics for the CPU, memory, and motherboard-integrated features. Fan settings are also found here, but on-the-fly reports are most conveniently displayed on its Hardware Monitor pop-out menu.
For gamers, Scout Mode will likely be the most interesting function of Creative's Pro Studio software. It amplifies the noises made by sneaky opponents.
The Z170X-Gaming G1's M.I.T. menu opens to show basic readings at the bottom and a group of submenu links at the top. Clicking on the Advanced Frequency Settings submenu brings us to actual O/C settings, where Gigabyte provides several factory-programmed O/C configurations in addition to manual control.
Programs include 4.40 GHz at 1.31V max (based on automatic voltage control), a "20 percent" boost to a mere 4.30 GHz at 1.36V max, 4.4 through 4.6 GHz at 1.31V max, and a 4.70 GHz setting at 1.32V max. Using manual configuration, this CPU sample reached 4.60 GHz at 1.30 volts.
The Advance Memory Settings submenu brings up redundant (to the frequency menu) XMP and memory multiplier controls, along with memory timing submenus that can be paired (Manual adjustment) or set per-channel (Advanced Manual mode). We can't think of a more-complete memory timing selection than that offered in the Z170X-Gaming G1, though this firmware version only got us to DDR4-3434 using XMP timings. A beta firmware (F5i) allowed this four-DIMM DDR4-3600 kit to reach its rated data rate at a true 1.35V setting, and DDR4-3672 with only two DIMMs installed.
In the image above, we combined the CPU Core Voltage, Chipset Voltage, and DRAM Voltage submenus to show the "Advanced Power Settings" menu. Maintaining a fixed 1.30V test voltage at the core was impossible because there wasn't a "Vcore Loadline Calibration" setting perfect for this CPU, but setting the CPU to 1.285V with "Turbo" loadline calibration allowed the CPU to climb to 1.30V when loaded. A DRAM voltage setting of 1.310V produced an actual 1.35V at the memory slot under firmware version F4, while firmware F5i produced the same voltage using its 1.330V setting.