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GIGABYTE Z170X-Ultra Gaming Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Z170X-Ultra Gaming motherboard is among the latest offerings from GIGABYTE in their G1 Gaming product line, introducing Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1, and LED enhancements to thier Z170 boards. The board features a base black aesthetic with integrated red LEDs spread throughout its surface for a sleek look. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset gives the board support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. The Z170X-Ultra Gaming has a base sellng price of $160, a more than reasonable price for the integrated features and the board's performance.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE integrated the following features into the Z170X-Ultra Gaming mortherboard: two SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one U.2 32Gbps port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; 2x2 802.11ac WiFI adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; Realtek 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated mini-DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

Continue reading our preview of the GIGABYTE Z170X-Ultra Gaming motherboard!

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

For additional gamer appeal, GIGABYTE integrate red LEDs throughout the surface and along the front underside of the motherboard. Their are LEDS integrated into strips in between the DIMM slots, into the clear PCIe X16 slot locks, into the audio PCB separator line, and along the front underside of the board.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

Technical Specifications (taken from the GIGABYTE website)

CPU Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1151 package
L3 cache varies with CPU
(Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.)
Chipset Intel® Z170 Express Chipset
Memory 4 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 64 GB of system memory
* Due to a Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than the size of the physical memory installed.

Dual channel memory architecture
Support for DDR4 3866(O.C.) / 3800(O.C.) / 3733(O.C.) / 3666(O.C.) / 3600(O.C.) / 3466(O.C.) / 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2133 MHz memory modules
Support for ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8 memory modules
(operate in non-ECC mode)
Support for non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules
Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
(Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)

Onboard Graphics Integrated Graphics Processor-Intel® HD Graphics support:
1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160@24 Hz
* Support for HDMI 1.4 version.

1 x Mini-DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2304@60 Hz
* Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version.

Maximum shared memory of 512 MB

Audio Realtek® ALC892 codec
High Definition Audio
2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN Intel® GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
* For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.

1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
* The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot operates at up to x8 mode.

1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
* The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with the SATA3 0/1 connectors. When the PCIEX4 slot is installed with a x4 or above card, the SATA 3 0/1 connectors becomes unavailable.

3 x PCI Express x1 slots
(All of the PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)

Multi-Graphics Technology Support for NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ and 2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ technologies
Support for AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ and 2-Way AMD CrossFire™ technologies
Storage Interface Chipset:
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe x4/x2 SSD support)
1 x U.2 connector
2 x SATA Express connectors
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
* Refer to "1-8 Internal Connectors," for the installation notices for the U.2, M.2, SATA Express, and SATA connectors.
USB Chipset+Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 Controller:
1 x USB Type-C™ port on the back panel, with USB 3.1 support
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red) on the back panel

Chipset:
6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
6 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers

Internal I/O Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x U.2 connector
1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector
2 x SATA Express connectors
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x CPU fan header
1 x water cooling fan/pump header (CPU_OPT_PUMP)
2 x system fan headers
1 x system fan/water cooling pump header (SYS_FAN2_PUMP)
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1 x S/PDIF Out header
1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
1 x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connector
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
Back Panel Connectors 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
1 x USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 support
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red)
1 x Mini-DisplayPort In port
1 x Mini-DisplayPort
1 x HDMI port
4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 x RJ-45 port
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
I/O Controller iTE® I/O Controller Chip
H/W Monitoring System voltage detection
CPU/System/Chipset temperature detection
CPU/CPU OPT/System fan (pump) speed detection
CPU/System/Chipset overheating warning
CPU/CPU OPT/System fan (pump) fail warning
CPU/CPU OPT/System fan (pump) speed control
* Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the fan (pump) you install.
BIOS 2 x 128 Mbit flash
Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
Support for DualBIOS™
PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
Unique Features Support for APP Center
* Available applications in APP Center may vary by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also vary depending on motherboard specifications.
  • 3D OSD
  • @BIOS
  • AutoGreen
  • BIOS Setup
  • Color Temperature
  • Cloud Station
  • EasyTune
  • Easy RAID
  • Fast Boot
  • ON/OFF Charge
  • Platform Power Management
  • Smart TimeLock
  • Smart Keyboard
  • Smart Backup
  • System Information Viewer
  • USB Blocker
  • V-Tuner

Support for Q-Flash
Support for Smart Switch
Support for Xpress Install

Bundle Software Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
Intel® Smart Response Technology
cFosSpeed
Operating System Support for Windows 10 / 8.1 64-bit
Support for Windows 7 32-bit / 64-bit
* Please download the "Windows USB Installation Tool" from GIGABYTE's website and install it before installing Windows 7.
Form Factor ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

Video News


November 18, 2016 | 01:24 PM - Posted by razor512

I wish gigabyte would fix their onboard audio. Their G1 line is overall good with the exception of the audio.
It is not that the audio hardware is bad, but the drivers are really bad.

Currently there is an issue with their realtek drivers where frequencies below 40Hz gets a strange averaging effect which reduces detail in the bass.
This happens on the front outputs, but not on the front outputs if just the realtek drivers are installed. And for the ones that support X-Fi MB3, when the creative software is installed, both the rear and front get the issue regardless of what settings of toggles you mess with.
While the front ports have issues with sub 40Hz sounds, tones within the 41-150Hz range have more detail in the front output.
The real output will do the entire range, but the lower frequencies have less detail,, even though it is the port that is connected to the main audio amp designed to support 600ohm impedance headphones. The other supporting tones for various bass notes have no real presence, and thus you start to get more of the drum sound that you get from midi audio where it sound fake due to it only producing a small set of the frequencies needed to make an instrument sound real., and any attempt to boost those frequencies, results in some slight distortion.

If a generic driver is installed, the issue goes away, but then you lose proper support for 5.1 speaker systems, as well as some of the input functions

I ultimately ended up having to buy a sound blaster Z, because because 3 different boards on their G1 gaming line had the same issue.

I recorded samples of the issue.

Anyway, instead of designing new boards, they need to reallocate some staff to work on the onboard audio.

November 20, 2016 | 05:42 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The funny thing about this is that the Gigabyte boards with audio issues are the higher end ones using the Creative Sound Core chipset as opposed to Realteks.

Maybe a conspiracy theory? After all in your case it net Creative 2 sales!

November 20, 2016 | 04:13 PM - Posted by razor512

It might be, considering that if the on board drivers worked properly, I would not be able to tell the difference between it and the soundblaster Z.

November 18, 2016 | 01:55 PM - Posted by carlosdebernard

I was amaze that these board can do a very solid 4.5 (1.32v) and 4.6 (1.35v) Did use the EasyTune for 3 weeks and is easy to use. stable app. The fan app need to be polish and perfected. I box 2 Asus boards since all the issues with there programs and apps. and 1 with VR spikes These board for 160.00 is perfect Imagine other models like Designare or the new Auris.I am happy with these since I get my problems with voltages and app, and I wanted to discard the cpu. And was not. I also recomend these board to everyone. I am still playing with fans on my case since the PWM OP2 beside the case plugs and system 3 fan only reads the PCH Temps. Is a very smart board also. I just change a fan and the bios automatically see that turns off and turn on again and the changes where done. Sound is ok Not the best, miss my Asus on that area, but since that was my last software that works, since just stop working. A nice detail was the app update screen perfect. no more looking for drivers and apps and updates. Gigabyte has to make it better but works perfect. A note. I use my pump from the deep cool captain 360 on the the CPU fan. I also use it on the OPT1 there is NO difference on performance either speeds. on normal. The 3 fans also. I just select PMW the board see that and on these conditions WORKS on both as same.

I will wait of the new Auris bord.

November 18, 2016 | 02:55 PM - Posted by Mr.Prayer

I like how in their promo material (3rd picture in the article) coolant tubes pass CPU waterblock without entering it. It's a nice way to spend crapload of money to quickly fry high-end CPU. EK would be proud of this promotion, i'm sure of it.

;)

November 21, 2016 | 08:31 AM - Posted by razor512

Well, it does take extra work to actually connect the tubes, thus laziness deems it unnecessary.

November 20, 2016 | 05:48 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I saw this and was excited.

But then they seem to have stripped down the audio compared to other boards in this segment including those from GB.

Realtek 892 instead of 1150. No more Creative X-fi MB3 or equivalent.

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