Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 Ultra Durable Motherboard Review: Affordable, Uncompromising

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Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 Layout And Features

The GA-Z170-UD5 sports a gold-on-black motif throughout, which is subtle and elegant. An ambient LED feature compliments the color scheme even further. This is a snazzy strip of light that runs along the lower left portion of the board around the AMP-UP audio chip. It can be customized via the included software to assume a variety of colors. It also can be set to pulse or even beat in tandem to your music.  The complete board is set atop what the company is calling a "2x Copper PCB" design. What you get is a multi-layer PCB sandwiched between two double-thick layers of copper (.07mm versus .035mm traditionally, to be exact). The layout is mostly forgiving—offering adequate space and room to seat components without a blood sacrifice from builders.

Z170X UD5 layout1

Beginning our tour at the 1151 socket, we find jet-black capacitors surrounding the socket, just like the Gaming G1. Again here we have plenty of room for stock or custom heatsinks like our Corsair H110 water cooler. At the upper section of the board, left of the board's top-most heatsink, is where the 8-pin power connector is located with a single system fan header to its left. To the right of this heatsink, we have a couple of CPU fan headers followed by the four dual-channel DIMM slots for your DDR4 memory kits.

Z170X UD5 layout3

Moving from right to left here, we have more black capacitors dotting the upper-right portion of the board. The large red power button is set furthest right near the Post Coder debugging LED. Use the resulting codes to assess issues which may prevent your system from posting. To the left of this is the overclocking and ECO buttons for single-click boosts to performance or power efficiency. Just above these we find the black Clear CMOS button and a white system Reset button. Completing this sections is the 24-pin header for the PSU, another 4-pin system fan header and a pair of USB 3.0 headers that support four front panel USB 3.0 ports.

Z170X UD5 layout2
The Z170X-UD5 has 11 traditional SATA ports, broken up into two sections. The smaller three ports seen above, are SATA Express. We use these to connect our USB 3.1 ports found on our external 5.25” bay.

Z170X UD5 layout4
Like many motherboards, the bottom right is home to the Front Panel connectors. Moving left, you get another 4-pin system fan header, UEFI DualBios components (Main and Backup) and a DualBIOS disable switch to quickly jump back to a known good or default config after a system failure, bad overclock or similar. Oddly, it doesn't have a toggle to switch to choose which BIOS to boot to specifically. Finally, to the left of the switch we have a pair of USB 2.0 font panel headers.

Z170X UD5 layout5

Moving from the bottom right upward we have the TPM header for extra security. The Z170X-UD5 even features a THB_C header for Thunderbolt add-in card. The two remaining headers are for SPDIF and Front Panel audio headers respectively. Just above are the three PCI-E ports, each decked out in a single piece of stainless steel shielding (16x/8x/4x). These support 2-Way SLI with NVIDIA video cards and 3-Way CrossFire with AMD GPUs. We also have four 1x PCI-e connectors. In between the top two PCI-E ports, Gigabyte has squeezed in a couple of Gen3 x4 M.2 connectors for next gen SSDs. Supported storage solutions like Samsung’s 950 Pro SSD offer incredible speed and performance. Two of these connectors on a sub$-200 motherboard is a generous offering.

Gigabyte has tossed in a high definition audio chip dubbed AMP-Up Audio. It is a Realtek ALC1150 8-channel audio codec that kicks out stellar audio in games, movies and music. Above this we have the Dual Intel GbE LAN component. The included software allows customization of the GbE LAN to favor or restrict traffic for specific applications as needed. The Turbo B-Clock, at the top of this image, allows users to set irregular BCLK frequency ranges. Ever wanted to go below a 100x multiplier. The Turbo B-Clock allows for ranges from 90Mhz to 500Mhz.  

Z170X UD5 layout6
Here is a look at the back I/O panel. From left to right, you see two USB 2.0 ports above your standard PS/2 port and the DVI-Connector above the DisplayPort connector. This is followed by the Dual LAN connectors, which are positioned above the USB Type-C connector, a blue USB 3.0 port and a red USB 3.1 port. To the right you get a couple more blue USB 3.0 ports resting above the HDMI connector. Last but not least, we have the 8-channel audio ports for speakers systems and mic, as well as an optical out port.

The Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 motherboard may not be as flashy as its Gaming-G1 sibling. Still it shows some flare of its own in a more subdued and well-equipped with a host of features that go beyond what its price point might suggest. The layout is clean and stylish with plenty of room to build. Now lets checkout the UEFI BIOS and get this puppy overclocked.

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