Motherboard Reviews

Gigabyte Z170X-Designare Review: A Playful Practicality

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Test System and Testing Procedures

Item Name
Processor Intel Core i7-6700K (ES)
CPU Cooler
Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240
Power Supply
Corsair HX850W 80 Plus Gold PSU
Memory Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2x8GB @ 2666MHz 15-17-17-35 2T (XMP)
Storage Silicon Power S80 240GB SSD (OS), OCZ Vertex 4 256GB SSD (Test)
Graphics Integrated CPU Graphics, Gigabyte GTx 960 Windforce 3x OC
Drivers Intel 10.1.1.7 (Z170), Intel 10.0.2.1 (Z97), NVIDIA 353.62 WHQL (Discrete)
Router Cisco E3200 stock firmware with 2x 6ft Cat5E cables for network testing
Motherboard(s) Gigabyte Z170X-Designare (BIOS F2), Gigabyte Z170X-Ultra Gaming (BIOS F4)Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 (BIOS F4), EVGA Z170 FTW (BIOS v1.03), Gigabyte Z170-Gaming 7 (BIOS F2)
Operating System Windows 10 Enterprise*

Latest working BIOS, updates and drivers were used at the time of the review. Each test was conducted at least three times for accuracy with the exception of PCMark 8 which already does three sets per benchmark run. *All performance benchmarks in this review and all reviews going forward will be using the Windows 10 operating system.

System Benchmarks

  1. Aida64 Engineer 5.30
  2. SiSoft Sandra Lite 2015 SP2b
  3. CineBench R15
  4. PCMark 8 v2.4.304
  5. WinRAR 5.01
  6. x.264 FHD 1.0.1
  7. x.265 0.1.4

Subsystem Testing

  1. CrystalDiskMark 5.0.3 for Storage tests
  2. LatencyMon for DPC monitoring
  3. Rightmark Audio Analyzer 6.4.1
  4. Passmark Performance Test 8.0 – Network Speed Graph

Gaming Benchmarks

  1. 3DMark Firestrike (Default)
  2. Unigine Heaven 4.0 (Max Settings, 1920 x 1080)
  3. Bioshock Infinite (Lowest Settings @ 640 x 480, Max Settings @ 1920 x 1080)

Motherboard Specifications:

CPU
  1. Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1151 package
  2. L3 cache varies with CPU

(Please refer “CPU Support List” for more information.)

Chipset
  1. Intel® Z170 Express Chipset
Memory
  1. 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.
  2. Dual channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR4 4000(O.C.) / 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
  4. Support for ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)
  5. Support for non-ECC Un-buffered 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules
  6. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules

(Please refer “Memory Support List” for more information.)

Onboard Graphics Integrated Graphics Processor+Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 Controller:

  1. 2 x Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 connectors, supporting DisplayPort and Thunderbolt™ video outputs and a maximum resolution of 4096×2304@60 Hz
    * Because of the limited I/O resources of the PC architecture, the number of Thunderbolt™ devices that can be used is dependent on the number of the PCI Express devices being installed. (Refer to Chapter 1-7, “Back Panel Connectors,” for more information.)
    * Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version.

Integrated Graphics Processor-Intel® HD Graphics support:

  1. 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@24 Hz
    * Support for HDMI 1.4 version.
  2. 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2304@60 Hz
    * Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version.

ŠŠMaximum shared memory of 512 MB

Audio
  1. Realtek® ALC1150 codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN
  1. 2 x Intel® GbE LAN chips (10/100/1000 Mbit)
  2. Support for Teaming
Expansion Slots
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
    * The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with the SATA 3 0/1 and PCI Express x1 connectors. When the PCIEX4 slot is installed with a x4 or above card, the SATA 3 0/1 and PCI Express x1 connectors become unavailable.
  4. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
    (All of the PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
Multi-Graphics Technology
  1. Support for NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ and 2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ technologies
  2. Support for AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ and 2-Way AMD CrossFire™ technologies
Storage Interface Chipset:

  1. 1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe x4/x2 SSD support)
  2. 1 x U.2 connector
  3. 2 x SATA Express connectors
  4. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  5. Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
    * Refer to “1-9 Internal Connectors,” for the installation notices for the U.2, M.2, SATA Express, and SATA connectors.
USB Chipset+Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 Controller:

  1. 2 x USB Type-C™ ports on the back panel, with USB 3.1 support

Chipset:

  1. 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
  2. 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. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 2 x SATA Express connectors
  4. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  5. 1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector
  6. 1 x U.2 connector
  7. 1 x CPU fan header
  8. 1 x water cooling fan/pump header (CPU_OPT_PUMP)
  9. 2 x system fan headers
  10. 1 x system fan/water cooling pump header (SYS_FAN2_PUMP)
  11. 1 x front panel header
  12. 1 x front panel audio header
  13. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  14. 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
  15. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  16. 1 x RGB LED strip extension cable header
  17. 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  18. 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
  19. 1 x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connector
  20. 1 x power button
  21. 1 x reset button
  22. 1 x Clear CMOS button
  23. 1 x OC button
Back Panel Connectors
  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  2. 1 x Mini-DisplayPort In
  3. 2 x Thunderbolt™3 connectors
  4. 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  5. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  6. 1 x HDMI port
  7. 1 x DisplayPort
  8. 2 x RJ-45 ports
  9. 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
I/O Controller
  1. iTE® I/O Controller Chip
H/W Monitoring
  1. System voltage detection
  2. CPU/System/Chipset temperature detection
  3. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan (pump) speed detection
  4. CPU/System/Chipset overheating warning
  5. CPU/CPU OPT/System fan (pump) fail warning
  6. 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
  1. 2 x 128 Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
Unique Features
  1. 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
    Ambient LED
    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
  2. Support for Q-Flash
  3. Support for Smart Switch
  4. Support for Xpress Install
Bundle Software
  1. Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
  2. Intel® Smart Response Technology
  3. cFosSpeed
Operating System
  1. Support for Windows 10/8.1 64-bit
  2. 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
  1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm
Remark
  1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors’ website or 3rd party website.
  2. Most hardware/software vendors may no longer offer drivers to support Win9X/ME/2000/XP. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.
* The entire materials provided herein are for reference only. GIGABYTE reserves the right to modify or revise the content at anytime without prior notice.
* Advertised performance is based on maximum theoretical interface values from respective Chipset vendors or organization who defined the interface specification. Actual performance may vary by system configuration.
* All trademarks and logos are the properties of their respective holders.
* Due to standard PC architecture, a certain amount of memory is reserved for system usage and therefore the actual memory size is less than the stated amount.

For official specifications and promotional information, visit: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=5811#sp

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Ron Perillo

Ron is a non-binary tech writer that presently identifies as a reviewer but is currently transitioning toward modding.

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