Gigabyte Unleashes Arsenal Of Z270 Chipset Aorus Gaming Series Motherboards For Intel Kaby Lake Processors
Gigabyte is splashing the market with more than a half a dozen gaming grade motherboards based on Intel's Z270 chipset and designed for the chipmaker's new desktop Kaby Lake silicon. The new feature-packed boards are all being marketed under Gigabyte's Aorus division, which is its premium gaming brand that up until now has been mostly associated with gaming laptops and a spattering of accessories.
As we embark into 2017, it appears that Gigabyte will leverage its Aorus division to denote hardware aimed at gamers across its full spectrum of products, including laptops, peripherals (keyboard and mice), and now motherboards and graphics cards. Or in marketing speak, Aorus represents the "pinnacle of our hardware excellence," Gigabyte says, adding that "Aorus is a team of gamers in the PC industry, looking to side with gamers in their quest for gaming to challenge the limits, and become legendary."
Now that we're clear on that, the Aorus Gaming Series of motherboards being introduced today consists of six slabs of hardware, plus one more that Gigabyte teased with a blank spot labeled "coming soon." Sitting at the top of the totem pole of Kaby Lake boards is the Aorus Z270X-Gaming 9. This large size E-ATX board is intended for water cooling enthusiasts and includes an ED designed G-Frost hybrid water block.
The water block sports a lightweight aluminum casing and G1/4-inch threaded fittings. Underneath is a "one-of-a-kind" O-Ring that EKWB and Gigabyted apparently developed with one another to ensure a snug fit without any liquid leakage. Finally, there is tubing milled from a copper block.
Though the Z270 is a new chipset, Intel stuck with socket LGA 1151 for Kaby Lake. That means that this and every other Aorus board Gigabyte introduced today supports both 7th Generation (Kaby Lake) and 6th Generation (Skylake) processors. This particular board, the Z270X-Gaming 9, also features a 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 + 2 PCie 3.0 x8 configuration, two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots, four DDR4 DIMM slots, eight SATA 6Gbpos ports, three SATA Express ports, two M.2 ports, two U.2 ports, Killer DoubleShot X3 Pro LAN, HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort output, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (one each Type-C and Type-A), nine USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and four USB 3.0 ports.
That is not the only board for water cooling enthusiasts. Gigabyte also announced the Aorus Z270X-Gaming 8 with a Bitspower G-Chill Hybrid water block instead of an EK-designed one. It's a polygonal water block with a composite casing, rubber seals, G1/4-inch threadings, nickel hexavelent chromium plate combined with a pure copper water channel, and thermal padding.
The board itself is similar to the Gaming 9 except that it has a 1 PCIe 3.0 x16 + 1 PCIe 3.0 x8 + 2 PCIe 3.0 x4 configuration, two SATA Express ports instead of four.
Here is a look at the full lineup:
Whether cooling with liquid or air, users will find plenty of fan headers and high-end components on these new motherboards, including Nichicon fine gold and WMA audio capacitors, extra bits of reinforcement around the PCIe slots (Gigabyte calls this PCIe armor, and light strip pin headers for added bling.