to the games is ready! / Motherboard

The processors Intel Skylake were released more than a year ago. Nevertheless, motherboard manufacturers continue to replenish their product families for this platform. For example, the company GIGA-BYTE Technology Co., Ltd. a couple of months ago introduced a novelty – a board Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming .

The company especially focuses on the fact that this model is designed specifically for use in gaming systems and has everything necessary for this, but still does not suffer from an overabundance of controllers, like the flagship Gigabyte motherboards with LGA1151.

# Specifications and recommended value

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming
Supported processors The processors Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron
in the performance of LGA1151 (the sixth generation of the microarchitecture Core)
Chipset Intel Z170 Express
The memory subsystem 4 × DIMM DDR4 unbuffered (non-ECC) memory of up to 64 GB;
two-channel memory operation mode;
support for 3866 (OC) / 3800 (OC) / 3733 (OC) / 3666 (OC) / 3600 (OC) / 3466 (OC) / 3400 (OC) / 3333 (OC) / 3300 ) / 3200 (OC) / 3000 (OC)
/ 2800 (OC) / 2666 (OC) / 2400 (OC) / 2133 MHz;
support for XMP (Extreme Memory Profile).
The graphical interface The integrated graphics core of the Intel HD Graphics processor allows the use of DisplayPort 1.2, Mini-DisplayPort and HDMI 1.4a ports;
resolutions up to and including 4K are supported;
the possibility of simultaneous connection of three displays;
the maximum amount of shared memory is 512 MB.
Connectors for expansion cards 1 PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot,
1 PCI Express 3.0 x8 slot;
1 PCI Express 3.0 x4 slot;
3 PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots.
Scalability of the video subsystem NVIDIA 2-Way SLI Technology;
AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology.
Drive Interfaces Chipset Z170 Express:

  • 6 × SATA 3, throughput up to 6 Gbit / s;
  • 2 × SATA Express, up to 16 Gbps throughput (combined with SATA3_0 / 1/5/4/3/2);
  • 1 × M.2 (PCI Express x4, Gen 3), up to 32 Gbps throughput (type 2242/2260/2280/22110);
  • 1 × U.2;
  • support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel Rapid Storage and Intel Smart Response, NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug.
Networking
interface
The Intel Gigabit LAN WGI219-V Network Controller (10/100/1000 Mbit);
Audio subsystem HD audio codec Realtek ALC892:

  • audio positioning system 2/4 / 5.1 / 7.1;
  • support for S / P-DIF Out;
  • insulation of the printed circuit board in the zone of audio components.
The interface of the USB Intel Z170 Express Chipset:

  • 6 USB 3.0 / 2.0 ports (4 on the rear panel and 2 connected to the corresponding connectors on the board);
  • 6 USB 2.0 / 1.1 ports (2 on the rear panel and 4 connected to the corresponding connectors on the board).

Thunderbolt 3 controller:

  • 2 USB 3.1 ports on the rear panel (Type-C and Type-A).
I / O Controller iTE I / O Controller Chip IT8628E
Connectors and buttons on the rear panel combined PS / 2 and 2 USB 2.0 / 1.1 ports;
3.1 Type-C USB port;
USB 3.1 Type-A port;
Mini-Display port;
HDMI port;
DisplayPort port;
2 USB 3.0 / 2.0 ports;
LAN outlet RJ-45;
2 USB 3.0 / 2.0 ports;
optical S / PDIF output;
5 audio connectors (Line In / Mic In, Line Out, Center / Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Headphone / Speaker Out).
Internal connectors on the motherboard 8-pin ATX 12V power connector;
24-pin ATX power connector;
S / PDIF Out connector;
5 4-pin connectors for case / processor fans with PWM support;
a group of connectors of the front panel;
audio connector for the front panel;
USB 3.0 / 2.0 connector;
2 USB 2.0 / 1.1 connectors;
Clear CMOS jumper;
6 SATA 3 connectors;
2 SATA Express connectors;
a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) connector;
connector M.2;
connector U.2;
Thunderbolt connector for expansion cards.
BIOS 2 × 128 Mbit AMI UEFI BIOS with multi-lingual interface and graphical environment (SD / HD / Full HD);
support for DualBIOS technology;
compatibility with ACPI 5.0;
support for SMBIOS 2.7, PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0.
Brand functions, technologies and features Smart Switch function;
Support for Xpress Install;
The proprietary utility Q-Flash;
A set of branded applications APP Center;
Support for EasyTune;
The proprietary Auto Green function;
GIGABYTE proprietary technology On / Off Charge;
Support for the cloud station (Cloud Station);
The proprietary utility @BIOS;
Branded utility USB Blocker;
Smart TimeLock;
Fast Boot function;
Information observer of the system;
The proprietary utility V-Tuner;
3D OSD function;
Smart Keyboard function;
Smart Backup function;
Easy RAID function;
BIOS Setup Menu;
Function Color Temperature;
Power management platform Platform Power Management.
Operating system Microsoft Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8/7
The form factor, dimensions (mm) ATX, 305 × 244
the warranty of the manufacturer years 3
Retail value *, rubles 12,661

* According to the data of "Yandex.Market" on September 27, 2016.

Packaging and equipment

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming is sealed in a small but brightly decorated box with the name of the model and series on the front side, as well as a list of supported technologies.

On the back of the cardboard box is a description of the key features of the board, interfaces and video outputs, brief specifications and a list of components included in the delivery.

On the sticker with one of the sides of the box you can find the serial number and the extremely short list of interfaces.

As this motherboard model belongs to the middle class, the package does not spoil the excesses. Inside, you can find three SATA cables, a panel on the back of the case, a flexible connecting bridge for SLI, a CD with drivers and software, two cable ties, installation instructions and a shortcut to the gamer's door.

The Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming motherboard provided to us for testing belongs to version 1.0 and is released in Taiwan. In Russia, the board is already sold at a price slightly less than 13 thousand rubles. The warranty period is three years.

Features of the design

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming is made in the most common form factor ATX and has standard dimensions of 305 × 244 mm. Textolite of the printed circuit board is practically black, and it is not really overloaded with various elements and controllers – both from the front side and from the back.

The cover of the panel with outputs and the radiators on the power circuits and the chipset are painted black, so they do not stand out against the general background of textolite. We can only note the white inscriptions "G1gaming" and "Gigabyte" on them – however, they also do not rush into the eyes.

The back panel of Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming looks unusually empty.

Nevertheless, the following exits can be found on it

  • combined PS / 2 and 2 USB 2.0 / 1.1 ports;
  • USB 3.1 Type-C port;
  • USB 3.1 Type-A port;
  • Port of Mini-DP;
  • HDMI port;
  • DisplayPort port;
  • 2 USB 3.0 / 2.0 ports;
  • LAN socket RJ-45;
  • 2 USB 3.0 / 2.0 ports;
  • optical S / P-DIF output;
  • 5 audio connectors (Line In / Mic In, Line Out, Center / Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Headphone / Speaker Out.)

It's strange that the back panel of the board is not fully used, because it would be easy to add four more USB ports or some other outputs. Perhaps, and on it have decided to save.

All the connectors and connectors of Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming are available on the following chart from Operating Instructions .

For a more detailed study of each component of the motherboard, it is necessary to remove the radiators from the power circuits and the chipset, as well as the mesh casing from the outputs.

Despite the fact that Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming belongs to the mid-price segment of motherboards with Intel Z170 Express chipset, it uses the LGA1151 processor connector with 15-μm gold deposition on the contacts, due to which it must withstand more processor changes , than similar connectors of motherboards of other manufacturers without spraying.

The list of processors compatible with the board is cited on the official page and, since the BIOS version F2, includes all the current Intel Skylake models.

The CPU power supply system is implemented in a seven-phase circuit using high-quality capacitors with extended service life and low series resistance.

The processor is powered by a PWM controller ISL95856 manufactured by Intersil.

Four DIMM slots for DDR4 memory with dual-channel operation and a maximum capacity of 64 GB are equipped with an additional metallized shell.

According to the manufacturer, it not only strengthens the connectors in order to avoid their splitting during the module installation, but also shields the contacts. Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming is able to work with memory modules with frequencies of 3866 (OC), 3800 (OC), 3733 (OC), 3666 (OC), 3600 (OC), 3466 (OC), 3400 (OC), 3333 (OC), 3300 (OC), 3200 (OC), 3000 (OC), 2800 (OC), 2666 (OC), 2400 (OC) and 2133 MHz with support for XMP profiles (Extreme Memory Profile) version 2.0. You can see the list of officially supported memory modules at the following link .

The power supply system of RAM on the board is two-phase.

As for the power connectors of the board as a whole, here they are standard – 24-pin and 8-pin. There are no additional connectors for video cards or processor power circuits on the board.

Once again we note that the available connectors are oriented so that the latches are facing outwards, which makes it much easier to disconnect the power cables from them.

The Intel Z170 Express chipset does not stand out as remarkable. With a radiator about he contacts through a thermo-laying.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming has received six PCI Express 3.0 slots.

Of these three slots are reinforced with an additional shell of aluminum, due to which steel is 1.7 times stronger for fracture and 3.2 times stronger for pulling.

In addition, from the mechanical optimizations of these connectors we will single out a system of double fixing of video cards in slots.

The first two metallized PCI-Express slots are separated from each other quite far, which will allow them to install two-slot video cards with 20-mm distance from each other, thus ensuring their effective cooling.

According to the specifications, the board supports AMD and NVIDIA multiprocessor graphics technologies, but in practice only two video cards will work in it, and in x8 / x8 mode. Theoretically, this can become a bottleneck when working, for example, a bundle of the last two TITAN X in high resolutions and resource-intensive modes using anti-aliasing. True, it is unlikely that anyone will decide to build a system with two TITAN X based on this board.

For switching PCI Express lines between slots, the switches ASM1480 manufactured by ASMedia Technology Inc.

The motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming is equipped with its own video outputs – DisplayPort version 1.2, Mini-DisplayPort and HDMI version 1.4a. The last two interfaces are provided by a chip PTN3360DBS manufactured by NXP Semiconductors.

There are six SATA III ports with a bandwidth of up to 6 Gb / s, four of which are part of two SATA Express ports with a bandwidth of up to 16 Gbps.

Note that the two ports are located vertically on the board, and next to them you can see the U.2 connector. It supports the creation of RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, and Intel Rapid Storage, Intel Smart Response, NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug.

Gigabyte has GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming and a high-speed M.2 port with a bandwidth of up to 32 Gbps.

And the peculiarity of this model of the Gigabyte board is the possibility to install in it M.2 drives up to 110 mm long, which can allow not many models of motherboards on the Intel Z170 Express chipset.

As the network controller on the motherboard is used gigabit Intel Gigabit LAN WGI219-V .

This controller paired with the cofospeed traffic prioritization software is able to reduce latency and minimize packet loss.

USB ports on Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming are implemented by the capabilities of the Intel Z170 Express chipset. In total there are six USB 3.0 / 2.0 connectors on the board, four of which are on the back panel, and two are laid out directly on the board, and six USB 2.0 / 1.1 ports (two on the back panel and four on the board).

In addition, the board has two USB 3.1 ports (Type-C and Type-A) on the rear panel, implemented with Intel Alpine Ridge controller (Intel L6540) with support for Thunderbolt 3 and bandwidth up to 10 Gbit / s:

Two PCI Express 3.0 lines are used to ensure their operation, and their total bandwidth can reach 32 Gb / s.

USB 3.1 Type-C port supports Power Delivery 2.0 technology, thanks to which it is possible to feed up to 100 watts of electrical power through it. Its work is provided by a chip TPS65982 manufactured by Texas Instruments.

The sound path on the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming is implemented with a relatively modest 7.1-channel Realtek ALC892 HD audio codec, shielded from interference with a metal casing

Isolated from other components by a conductive strip of textolite and the audio zone on the motherboard itself, which minimizes the effect of noise on the quality of the audio signal.

In the rest with the sound on this model of the board everything is standard.

The IT8628E chip is responsible for controlling the fans and the PS / 2 combo connector.

In addition, this controller provides monitoring functions.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming is equipped with two 128-bit chips BIOS. If the main chip is damaged, the BIOS image can be automatically restored from the backup chip (DualBIOS technology). ACPI 5.0, SMBIOS 2.7, PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7 and WfM 2.0 are supported.

At the bottom of the board textolite are audio connectors, TPM, additional USB connectors for the front panel of the case, one four-pin fan connector and a contact pad for connecting cables from the buttons and indicators of the chassis of the system unit.

In total, five case / processor fans with pulse width modulation (PWM) support can be connected to the board. Two of these connectors, located near the processor socket, are endowed with increased power and are designed to connect the pumps of liquid cooling systems or especially powerful fans (Dual Hybrid Fan Headers).

The aluminum radiators of the power circuits of the processor and chipset are the most simple, without heat pipes and high ribs.

Their contact with the elements of the board is provided by thermal pads. The casing above the outputs performs an exclusively decorative function.

Following the latest trends, Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming has a very beautiful backlight Ambient LED Trace Path Lighting, where the LEDs are equipped not only with the memory slots or the current-carrying strip of the audio track, but also the reverse side of the PCB on the right edge.

Here, perhaps, and all about the hardware features of the new motherboard Gigabyte. Now let's move on to studying software.

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