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.

Z170X Gaming G1 layout5

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.

 Z170X Gaming G1 layout1

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.

Z170X Gaming G1 layout2

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.

Z170X Gaming G1 layout11

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.

Z170X Gaming G1 layout10

At the bottom we have even more fan connectors, which are a very welcomed inclusion. Positioned to the left of this, is the front panel header for HDD LED, power LED, reset switch and the like. Gigabyte has also provided a “G Connector”. Snap all your case front panel connectors to this and plug the whole unit into the front panel connector on the Z170X-Gaming G1 motherboard for easy insertion and removal.

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.

Z170X Gaming G1 layout8

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.

Z170X Gaming G1 layout3
Migrating up the middle portion of the board are the stainless steel shields which lace the four PCIe slots. These are intended to provide additional support for today’s heavy video cards, but they look pretty cool too. We find the dual Gen3 x4 M.2 slots below the 2nd and 3rd PCIe slots.

Z170X Gaming G1 layout9

Last stop is the back I/O panel. Here we have, from left to right, two USB 2.0 ports with a PS/2 keyboard and mouse port below them. Then we see two snap-on MMCX antennae connectors for the Wi-Fi adapter. There are four blue USB 3.0 ports resting atop a HDMI port. Next to that is the USB Type-C port. Then we have dual Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, powered by the aformentioned killer NICs. The grey and red-colored USB ports are USB 3.0/2.0 and USB 3.1 respectively. The grey USB can also be used to Flash the BIOS in the event of a problem. On the end we have the lines in/out, headphone, mic and speaker jacks plus a single optical-out S/PDIF connector.

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