Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi
We look at one of the first motherboards to use AMD’s new X470 chipset.
It’s clear from our testing that AMD’s new CPUs offer great performance and value for money, but you’ll need an X470 motherboard to take full advantage of them. We’ve managed to get hold of Gigabyte’s X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi just before we went to press, and it’s a stunning-looking motherboard. Gigabyte has tweaked its colour scheme a little, but it’s still obviously an Aorus-branded board, with splashes of orange, which is also the default colour for the board’s extensive RGB lighting.
As usual, the lighting stretches to every corner of the PCB, including the PCI-E and DIMM slots, PCH heatsink and I/O shroud. Gigabyte is also now following in Asus’ footsteps with a multi-LED lighting strip above the
I/O panel too, which can create rainbow effects by controlling each LED separately.
At £223 inc VAT, it’s relatively pricey for an AMD mainstream board, but it looks set to retail for around £10 less than Asus’ new Crosshair VII Hero, which we’ll be testing next month. Gigabyte has upped the ante with features too, and the board is bristling with buttons, ports and switches. It has a considerable count of eight 4-pin Gigabyte Hybrid Fan Headers, with the ability to switch off system fans at loads, and support for either fans or watercooling pumps, with a maximum output of 24W.
It’s slightly annoyingly that there’s no on-board reset button, but you do get a power button on the rear I/O panel, along with a clear-CMOS button, with the PCB sporting an LED POST code display plus switches for flitting between its two on-board BIOS chips. You get a pair of 2-pin thermal probe headers with a pair of probes included in the box as well, plus a pair of RGB LED connectors. It should be good for overclocking too. It has a 10+2 power phase design and an excellent cooling arrangement, with two large heatsinks connected via a heatpipe, plus there’s an additional 4-pin power connector for the CPU.
Both of the board’s M.2 ports are equipped with large heatsinks too, with the top slot providing both SATA and PCI-E M.2 SSD compatibility. However, you’re likely to be better off placing your PCI-E SSD in the lower slot anyway, as the top slot will sit directly under your graphics card.
That’s because Gigabyte has chosen to place one of the board’s two 1x PCI-E slots above the graphics card, while there’s also a third 16x slot at the base of the board, which is limited to four PCI-E lanes. Meanwhile, the board’s six SATA 6Gbps ports will be enough for most people, with motherboard manufacturers clearly preferring to focus on next-gen storage these days. The box also provides a magnetic aerial for the board’s on-board 802.11ac Wi-Fi adaptor, which supports the 160MHz version of this standard for data speeds up to 1.73Gbps.
AMD’s X470 chipset can also support USB 3.1 Gen 2, and on the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi, you get USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C ports on the rear I/O panel, but there’s a header for USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 case ports as well, which are starting to appear on some models such as Corsair’s Obsidian 500D.
Meanwhile, the rear panel offers the full array of audio outputs plus plenty of USB ports. You get nine Type-A ports in total, with six USB 3 ports, including two dedicated ports for USB DACs that provide isolated adjustable power. It’s also good to see the on-board audio sporting the ALC1220 audio codec, along with an ESS SABRE 9018Q2C DAC.
The lighting stretches to every corner of the PCB
Gigabyte’s EFI still feels quite dated compared with MSI and Asus’ recent efforts, but its Smart Fan 5 section is extremely detailed and fairly easy to use. From here, you can control each fan’s speed curve, plus switch off any fan under certain temperatures. You’re also able to change the temperature
input of the system fans to different points on the motherboard, including the thermal probe header.
It was fairly easy finding the limit of our Ryzen 7 2700X using the EFI, though, which turned out to be 4.25GHz with a vcore of 1.425V. At stock speed, the system managed a system score of 201,613, which rose to 206,878 once overclocked. Ashes of the Singularity didn’t see a boost, though, likely because this all-core frequency is slower than the maximum XFR2 boost frequency.
Meanwhile, power consumption sat at 68W idle at stock and overclocked speeds, rising from load amounts of 220W to 292W at stock and overclocked. Memory compatibility is good too – the board had no problems reaching 3466MHz by overclocking a set of 3200MHz memory. It pushed our Samsung 960 Evo M.2 SSD to its limits too, reaching a 3,382MB/sec read speed and 1,867MB/sec write speed.
Finally, the Gigabyte’s audio performance displayed the typical excellence we expect from the Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, with a noise level of -112.6dBA and dynamic range of 111.8dBA, measured using RightMark’s Audio Analyzer software.
While the extensive RGB LED lighting might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi looks absolutely fantastic when not illuminated too. It has a hefty set of features and will particularly appeal to enthusiasts wanting to kit out their PC with an extensive, tweakable cooling system. Its EFI might still lag behind the competition, but the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi also trumps its predecessor – the AX370-Gaming K7 – in a number of areas. It offers more in the way of next-gen storage support, as well as heatsinks for both its M.2 SSDs, a more elaborate CPU power circuitry cooling system and more CPU power phases too.
We’d only had a quick look at other X470 motherboards when we wrote this review, and we’ll be delving into those boards in depth in next month’s Labs test, but with solid CPU and memory overclocking abilities, a tonne of features and superb aesthetics, the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi is already an excellent foundation for a shiny new 2nd Gen Ryzen CPU.
1 Both of the board’s M.2 ports come equipped with large heatsinks 2 The multi-LED strip above the I/O shroud can create rainbow effects 3 The power circuitry has two large heatsinks, linked with a heatpipe