Gigabyte Z170X-Designare Motherboard Review: Affordable, High-Tech, Great Performance

Gigabyte's Z170X-Designare Motherboard: Straight-Forward, Loaded With Features

Today we are going to take a look at Gigabyte’s Z170X-Designare motherboard, one of the company's more recent Socket 1151-based boards for Intel's 6th Generation Skylake-based processors.

At first glance this is an unassuming board, at least in terms of its appearance. It features a dark and subdued black PCB with chrome highlights and nothing overly dramatic or gaudy. Yet for the sub-$250 price tag, this motherboard is loaded up with a strong array of cutting edge technologies. Among them is support for Intel Thunderbolt 3 across the board’s USB Type-c connection on the back I/O. This same port supports USB 3.1 and Mini-DisplayPort connections as well, offering a wealth of connectivity options for high performance storage devices, displays, and more.

Gigabyte Z170X Designare 1

Other top-end features include support for DDR4 memory up to 4000MHz, support for NVMe storage solutions (M.2, U.2 and PCIe connections), dual Intel Gigabit LAN and customizable RGB LEDs underneath and across the top of the motherboard to add a bit of flare and liven up that dark PCB.

Gigabyte Z170X-Designare Motherboard
Specifications & Features
CPU: Intel Core i7 processors - LGA1151
Chipset: Intel Z170 Chipset
Multi GPU: Supports NVIDIA 2-Way GPU SLI Technology 
Supports AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology
Memory: 4 x DIMM, Dual-Channel DDR4 up to 4000MHZ OC
Audio: 8-Channel 115dB SNR HD w/ Built-in Rear Audio Amp
Connectivity: LAN: Dual Intel GbE LAN
Slots: 3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 (x16/x8/x4) 
3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 Slots
Storage: 1 x NVMe U.2, 1 x M.2 x4 supports both SATA & PCIE mode (bandwidth shared w/ SATA Express)
6 x SATA3 6Gb/s port(s), 2 x SATA Express ports
USB 3.1: 2 x USB 3.1 w/ USB Type-C support + 6 x USB 3.0 
USB 2.0: 6 x USB 2.0 ports (4x via internal header)
Form Factor: ATX 13.8" x 10.6"
Price: $223.23 Currently At Amazon

We tested the Gigabyte Z170X-Designare with an Intel Core i7-6700K processor coupled to a 16GB kit of Corsair Vengeance 2666MHz DDR4 memory.

Within Gigabyte's rainbow colored box, we found a relatively straightforward accessory bundle. The bundle includes the customary x4 6Gb/s SATA cables, 2-Way SLI connector, a user's manual, Quick Install guide, driver DVD, case badge, storage device stickers, an x1 G-Connector, a single Velcro cable tie, and an RGB LED strip extension for after-market LED strips.

Gigabyte Z170X Designare bundle
It’s a solid package for a Skylake build, which remains an affordable, potent CPU platform for a multitude of user needs. With desktop Kaby Lake right around the corner, it’s good to see continued support and upgrades added to Z170 motherboard solutions.

Next we will take a walk around the board, get a good look at the UEFI BIOS environment and then checkout the benchmarks before buttoning things up. Let’s get going.

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