Overclocking and Conclusion
To give a feel for the overclocking performance potential of the Z170-Ultra Gaming motherboard, we attempted to push it to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. The board did not want to run with a base clock over 100 nor could we get the CPU over 4.6GHz. In either case, the board would either not boot at all or become very unstable very quickly. The CPU speed stabilized at a 4.6GHZ speed with the ring clock at 4.5GHz at the base clock set to its stock 100Mhz speed. Memory speeds ran at a maximum of 3200MHz at that base close speed. The modules used have run up to 3466MHz speeds on other boards, but would not stability on this one at any speeds about 3200MHz. All overclocking sessions remained stable for over 4hrs. 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 16GB (2 x 8GB) of Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 and 16GB (4 x 4GB) of Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 memory modules were used for the overclocking tests.
100MHz Base Clock Stats with 3200MHz Memory
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.
The Z170X-Ultra Gaming motherboard performed within expectations at stock speeds with some performance oddities encountered during the overclocking sessions.
GIGABYTE's Z170X-Ultra Gaming motherboard has quite a bit going for it, including design and aesthetics, stock performance, and price. The board is a solidly designed product with looks and performance that should appeal to any gamer. Its black and red aesthetic would go well with most cases with a layout that gives easy access to all the integrated components. At stock settings, its benchmark performance was equivalent to the other test systems, but did not stand out. Further, its integrated component performance more than proved out the quality of the board's design.
The biggest gotcha with the board seemed to be with the overclocking performance. While the board did manage solid CPU and memory speeds, the accessible overclocking performance seemed to hit a wall. Though mileage in this department could vary with the CPU used and luck of the draw. The only other design point to mention would be the lack of RGB support for the integrated LEDs. This board has a nice set of LEDs, but the limiting the LEDs to a single color may limit the board's appeal.
- Stock performance
- Board aesthetics, layout, and design
- LED placement
- Motherboard manual details and quality
- UEFI BIOS design and usability
- Intel GigE network controller performance
- M.2 port placement
- Lack of RGB LEDs
- Overclocking performance
- Odd surface mounting for SATA ports 4 / 5