Overclocking and Conclusion

Overclocking

To give a feel for the Z97X-Gaming G1-WiFi-BK motherboard's overclocking performance potential, we attempted to push the board to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. I was able to get the board running stable for over 4hrs at a 4.67GHz CPU speed, a 1780MHz memory speed, and a 4.0GHz ring bus speed with a 167MHz base clock. System stability was tested running the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with EVGA's OC Scanner X graphical benchmark running at 1280×1024 resolution and 8x MSAA in stress test mode.

Note that this is is meant only as a quick preview of the board's performance potential. With more time to tweak the settings to a greater extent, pushing to a higher base clock and ring bus speed may have been achievable, in addition to an overnight stability run without issue.

Performance

The Z97X-Gaming G1-WiFi-BK Black Edition motherboard lives up to its elite moniker, performing well no matter what was thrown at it.

Pricing

As of May 07, the GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1-WiFi-BK Black Edition motherboard was available pre-order at Newegg.com for $349.99.

Conclusion

Before continuing with our final thoughts on the Z97X-Gaming G1-WiFi-BK Black Edition motherboard, we would like to take this opportunity to give our friends at GIGABYTE a hearty “Thank You” for giving us the opportunity and pleasure to review this next generation product. The Z97X-Gaming G1-WiFi-BK represents an evolutionary product for GIGABYTE as part of their Black Edition line. As a member of the Black Edition line, GIGABYTE ensures board stability and reliability using their 168 hour validation process. In addition, the Z97X-Gaming G1-WiFi-BK includes upgraded cooling and an integrated PLX chip for up to quad GPU support with 8x bandwidth across all four PCI-Express x16 slots. The board is well designed masterpiece combining function and aesthetics for a superior design.

The board performed well in both stock and overclocked conditions, rolling with anything we threw at it. The hybrid cooling solution for the CPU VRMs are another nice addition, especially with the configurability offered through the use of G1/4" threaded ports for the water ports. To complete the board, GIGABYTE integrated a quad core Creative-sourced audio chipset producing some of the best sound that I've encountered from an integrated sound solution. The addition of configurable gain and OP-AMP did not hurt with its performance. GIGABYTE even updated the UEFI BIOS with noticeable performance and visual enhancements making it more responsive and easier to use.

There were only a few minor issues with the board, the most obvious being with the design of the on-board coolers. The CPU VRM cooler and PLX/Chipset cooler are physically separated, meaning that water cooling the VRM block would have not impact on cooling the PLX and Z97 chipset. However, the separation between the coolers did not appear to impact board functioning under stock or overclocked conditions.

Strengths

  • Stock performance
  • Overclocking performance
  • Board layout and design
  • Board aesthetics
  • Integrity sound system quality and fidelity
  • UEFI BIOS design and usability
  • Motherboard manual information
  • Hybrid cooling for CPU VRM cooler with G1/4" threaded ports
  • CMOS battery placement
  • Configurable OP-AMP

Weaknesses

  • Lack of M.2 SATA Express-based device port
  • Separation between CPU VRM and PLX/Chipset coolers
  • Lack of accessible PCI-Express x1 slot three PCI-Express x16 slots populated

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