Features and Motherboard Layout
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
- Supports 6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor
- Dual Channel DDR4, 4 DIMMs
- Intel® USB 3.1 with USB Type-C™ – the world’s next Universal connector
- 4-Way Graphics Support with Exclusive Ultra Durable Metal Shielding over the PCIe Slots
- Dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 Connectors with up to 32Gb/s Data Transfer (PCIe & SATA SSD support)
- 3 SATA Express Connectors for up to 16Gb/s Data Transfer
- Creative certified Sound Blaster ZxRi 120+dB SNR
- Killer DoubleShot Pro™ X3 for the best networking experience possible
- LED Trace Path with Multi-Color Choice
- Water Cooling Ready Heatsink Design with G1/4 Threaded Fittings
- APP Center Including EasyTune™ and Cloud Station™ Utilities
- GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™ with Q-Flash Plus USB port
The GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 motherboard features a black PCB with red accents on the PCIe and memory slot and white covers over the rear panel, audio components, chipset, and SATA ports. The aesthetics were well thought out for an appealing look. The integrated LEDs can be configured to glow in one of a variety of colors and modes, depending on settings in the UEFI. The board surface is well designed with the component layout not overly crowded.
While the back of the PCB does not have many chips, there are a few small chips to the upper right of the CPU back plate. There are also several capacitors underneath the CPU VRMs above and to the left of the CPU back plate. However, there are no chips or traces in close proximity to the area directly behind the CPU, meaning that there should be no risk to components when mounting the CPU cooler.
The Z170X-Gaming G1 motherboard features the following ports integrated into its rear panel assembly: a PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, two USB 2.0 ports (yellow colored), seven USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1 ports (blue and white colored), two USB 3.1 ports (1 Type-A (red colored) and 1 Type-C), two RJ-45 port tied to the Qualcomm Atheros Killer controller, dual WI-FI antennae ports, an HDMI 2.0 video port, an optical audio port, and five analogue audio ports. The white colored USB 3.0 port can be used with the Q-Flash Plus functionality to flash the board's BIOS.
The Q-Flash Plus functionality can be used automatically to re-flash the BIOS without having to boot the system into the UEFI interface. Simply plug in a USB drive containing the proper BIOS file in the root of the drive into the white colored USB 3.0 port just under the inside RJ-45 port and power on the system. If both the primary and backup BIOSes have been corrupted, the board will begin to flash the BIOS from the connected thumb drive. As the BIOS is updated, the DB_BIOS LED will flash. After a few minuted, the LED will go out and the system will restart to begin flashing the backup BIOS chips. Q-Flash Plus looks for a specific filename and file format when attempting to replace the on-board BIOS. According to the user manual, the BIOS file in the root of the flash drive must be named GIGABYTE.bin for the Q-Flash Plus applet to successfully re-flash the board's BIOSes.
The Z170X-Gaming G1 motherboard has a total of seven PCI-Express device ports – four PCI-Express x16 slots and three PCI-Express x1 slots. For the PCIe x16 slots, the board supports full x16 bandwidth with a single or dual cards. x8 / x16 / x8 bandwidth with cards populating the first three PCIe x16 slots, and x8 bandwidth with cards populating all PCIe x8 slots.
Just below the secondary and tertiary PCIe x1 slots are dual PCIe x4 capable M.2 slots. The board supports M.2 PCIe SSDs up to 80mm in length. Note that the M.2 and the SATA-Express slots share bandwidth with specific SATA/SATA-Express ports disabled when using M.2-based SSDs.
GIGABYTE designed the audio subsystem on a separate PCB to ensure audio clarity and fidelity. The PCB separator line glows along its length with the board powered, making for a nice effect with the board's color scheme. The quad-code SoundBlaster Core3D audio chipset is capped with a black and red-accented heat sink located in the upper left corner of the board for signal shielding purposes. The changeable OP-AMP port is located to the lower left the audio chipset. The OP-AMP port allows for user switching of the board's OP-AMP chip for customized the audio experience. By default, the board comes with a TI Burr Brown® OPA2134 OP-AMP chip installed in the socket. The front panel audio header is located the upper left corner of the audio PCB, to the left of the audio chipset.
In the upper left quadrant of the board (and along the outer edge of the forth PCIe x16 slot) are the front panel audio header, the changeable OP-AMP port, the front panel and rear panel audio gain switches, and the PCIe power port. The audio gain control switches change the audio gain settings for the rear panel speaker/headphone output port (CAP_SW_R) and for the front panel line out port (CAP_SW_F). The gain is set to 2.5x with the switches set to position 1 and 6x with the switches set to position 2. The PCIe power port provides extra power to the PCI-Express bus when multiple video cards are seated in the board. Simply connect it to a SATA power connector from your PSU.
The trusted module port header and USB 2.0 headers are located towards the lower end of the forth PCIe x16 slot.
The Dual BIOS switch (SB), the active BIOS switch (BIOS_SW), the CMOS battery, the front panel header, the CMOS reset jumper (two pin jumper to the lower right of front panel header), and two system fan headers are located in the lower left corner of the board. The unlabeled jumper to the upper right of the CMOS battery is a debug jumper used during validation of the board. The active BIOS switch is used to switch between the primary and backup BIOS. With the switch set to the 1 position (default), the main BIOS is active. In the 2 position, the backup BIOS is activated. The Dual BIOS Switch is set to enabled (the 1 position) by default. Dual BIOS is disabled with the switch in the 2 position.
The Intel Z170 Express chipset is covered by a large low-profile black colored aluminum heat sink with white, chrome, and red acccents and emblazoned with the G1 Gaming series logo.
GIGABYTE designed the Z170X-G1 Gaming board with a total of four SATA 6 Gb/s ports and three SATA-Express 10 Gb/s ports. The ports are enclosed in a white plastic housing with an armored piece covering the back and PCB section just above the ports. All drive ports are located directly under the chipset. All SATA-Express ports house two SATA 6 Gb/s ports each that can be used as stand alone ports as well, adding an additional six SATA 6 Gb/s ports to the board. All three SATA-Express ports are tied to the Intel Z170 chipset with the four standalone SATA ports controlled by ASMedia controllers.
The on-board DDR4 memory slots are located just below the CPU socket in the lower right section of the board. Dual Channel memory mode is enabled by seating memory modules in like colored slots with slots 2 and 4 (the red colored slots) being the primary memory slots. The board supports up to 64GB of memory running at a maximum speed of 3400MHz. Note that memory speeds above 2133MHz are considered overclocked speeds and are outside of the official Intel stock memory speed specifications. Directly below the memory port block are multiple USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1 headers and the 24-pin ATX power connector. The line and logo directly below the DIMM slots glow when the board is actively powered, in line with the LED settings in the UEFI.
To the lower right of the DIMM slots are the power, reset, CMOS clear, OC, and ECO buttons as well as the 2-digit debug LED. The diagnostic LED display can be used in conjunction with the table provided in the user manual to identify and troubleshoot board boot-related issues. The ECO button enables UEFI-controlled power saving features to reduce overall system power consumption. The OC button loads UEFI-controlled overclocking profile settings.
To the mid and upper-right of the DIMM slots are the on-board voltage measurement points and two 4-pin CPU fan headers. The voltage measurement points allow for direct board voltage measurement using a volt meter.
The CPU socket is clear of obstructions with the power circuitry and VRM heat sink surrounding the upper three sides of the socket. The board contains a total of 22 digital power phases to ensure board stability under the most extreme operating conditions.
The heat sinks surrounding the CPU socket cool the CPU VRM circuitry as well as the board's integrated PLX chipset. GIGABYTE used a hybrid cooling design for the VRM sinks, integrating a water channel into the VRM heat sink, allowing the user to water cool the on-board CPU VRM chips. The threaded inlet and outlet ports are G1/4" ports allowing for use of any G1/4" compatible water barbs with the board.
The VRM heat sink and heat pipe cooling the PLX and Intel Z170 chipsets are connected to the VRM sinks via a heat pipe. This means that the water cooling channel will also aid in cooling the interconnected the PLX and Z170 chipset sinks.To the upper left of the heat pipe connecting the VRM and PLX chipset sinks is a 4-pin system fan header.
A single 8-pin ATX12V power connector was provided to power the CPU, located in the upper right corner of the board. Additionally, a 4-pin system fan header and the rear panel power header are located just above that ATX12V power connector. The rear panel shield surface glows when the power cable is connected to the board connector, in-line with the UEFI LED settings.
GIGABYTE integrated user configurable LEDS into the Z170X-G1 Gaming, to the upper left of the board in the audio PCB and to the lower right just under the DIMM slots. The LEDS are configurable to glow in a variety of colors as well as in four operation modes, such as solid and pulsing, via UEFI settings. Samples of the different LED illumination effects with the board integrated LEDs are shown below. The rear panel shield illumination matches that of the board, but will be shown later in the review.
Board with Red LED effect
Board with White LED effect
Board with Blue LED effect
Board with Yellow LED effect