GIGABYTE Z170X GAMING G1
Overclocking comprises the cornerstone of performance for any enthusiast-level board, and the E-ATX Z170X Gaming G1 incorporates a whopping 22-phase digital power delivery design to help with overclocking stability. This includes a combination of IR digital power controllers and PowlRstage ICs to detect the current more accurately. According to Gigabyte, this will help to distribute the thermal load more evenly among the individual ICs, which will in turn improve reliability.
The VRM heatsinks themselves are equipped with built-in G1/4 threaded fittings that will work with the majority of water-cooling components.
Gigabyte has gone all out in every aspect of the board’s features. All four PCIe 3.0 x16 slots are reinforced with metal, and there are a further two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots.
But what really helps the board distinguish itself from the pack is its use of a PLX PEX8747 PCIe lane switcher, which allows Gigabyte to direct the PCIe lanes however it wants to the slots and run four-way graphics setups (including fourway NVIDIA SLI) in x8/x8/x8/x8 mode.
The onboard audio solution is a similarly extravagant affair. The Gaming G1 uses a dedicated quad-core Creative Sound Core3D audio processor and features a Burr-Brown 127dB DAC that supports 192kHz/24-bit audio and upgradeable op-
MARCH 2016 amps. The entire configuration is Creative Sound Blaster ZxRi-certified, and you should get good audio quality even if you plug your headphones into the front panel.
Gigabyte’s flagship also has the most comprehensive networking solution out of all the boards. The dual Gigabit Ethernet ports rely on the latest Killer E2400, albeit without support for teaming. But together with the Killer Wireless-AC 1535 network adapter, they do support the Killer DoubleShot-X3 Pro technology, an intelligent control system that optimizes your network connection for the lowest latency by prioritizing network traffic and sending the highest-priority packages over the fastest interface.
Like the other boards reviewed here, the Gigabyte board likewise has a selection of onboard buttons and switches to allow enthusiasts to tweak their systems more easily. The OC button automatically loads an optimized configuration for your hardware, providing a one-click boost to performance. On the other hand, the ECO button saves power by reducing the overall power consumption according to the current system load.
For the proverbial icing on the cake, Gigabyte has thrown in a USB 3.1 front panel with Type-A and Type-C ports. After all, one can never have too many USB 3.1 ports.
BIOS switches at the bottom let you switch between the default and backup BIOS.