Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 Motherboard Review: Features Galore For Skylake
Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 Layout And Features
The Z170X-Gaming G1 motherboard is an eye-catching solution. It sports vibrant composite armor shielding in a red and white color scheme set on top of a black PCB. At first glance, it reminds us of the ASUS X99-Deluxe and a handful of other more recent board designs, which have adopted a similar white motif. The layout is accommodating and all components are well-labeled for easy identification.
Beginning at the upper middle portion of the board, we have the 1151 socket, which is surrounded by jet-black, solid state capacitors. Suitable room remains around the socket to easily seat our Corsair H110 AIO water cooler over an Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake processor.
Above and to the left of the socket we find the board’s heatsinks, which are designed to support both active and passive water cooling and feature threaded fittings right on the heatsinks. Simply unscrew the plugs and insert your choice of fitted barbs. DIY builders and gamers looking for a specific tube type and thickness to match their custom configurations, are sure to appreciate the versatility. Also further left of the socket and under the G1 Gaming labeled portion of the heatsink are some MOSFETs and the Extreme Intel USB 3.1 Controller.
At the very top of the board, toward the left, we see the 6-pin header, which can provide additional power to the board for overclocking. Right next to this we have a system fan connector and a smaller 4-pin connector. The latter is for the LED lights on the I/O Shield. Colors can be changed using the downloadable desktop utilities.
At the lower right we have the four DDR4 memory slots which support up to 64GB of Dual-Channel memory. Directly to right of these are an onboard power switch, post code debug LED, CMOS switch and reset switch. There are also ECO1 and OC buttons for quickly down-clocking or overclocking the system. One saves power while the other boost performance.
From there we have the typical 24-pin header for power from the PSU and another set of fan pin headers. Below that is a pair of USB 3.0 front panel headers, which gives the board support for four, front mounted USB 3.0 ports.
Moving down the board to the SATA connectors, we see the compliment is broken up into three different SATA Express connector options. When SATA Express is used, 2x ports are sacrificed to the SATA Express connector. Such is the case with our setup as we are using the SATA Express connector for the included USB 3.1 5.25” bay.
A pair of switches are found further to the left. One enables and disables the Dual BIOS feature, while the other toggles between the two BIOS options. Next to these dip switches are two USB 2.0 headers. Then we have TPM (Trusted Platform Module) header for added security. Next to this is the OC peg so you can connect a SATA power connector to grant additional power to the PCIe lanes for increased stability while overclocked.
One of the many highlights of this board is its dedication to audio. Close to the bottom left are a pair of gain switches—one for the front and the other for the back channels. These allow you to switch between 2.5x and 6x gain to support up to 600ohm headphone solutions for enhanced output. We also find high end Nichicon audio capacitors made from “fine gold” under the portion of the composite shield labeled AMP-UP AUDIO. Below this is the quad-core Creative Sound Core3D audio processor. Gigabyte has even included three different OP-AMPs to swap out, to enhance and fine-tune your audio.