GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 Conclusion

When it comes to writing a conclusion on a motherboard, the typical explanation comes down to the most prominent feature or asset, and explaining how that pertains to the rest of the motherboard ecosystem as well as the perceptions it is likely to generate. This is tough when it comes to the GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1, as there is almost too much to talk about in your standard 1000 word conclusion.

As a result, there will be two important things you need to know about his motherboard. Firstly, the price – at $500 launch MSRP, it hits the high notes from day one. It has since seen a number of sale prices, and sits for around $465 at Newegg, but only a few other products (mainly workstation based) will top it.

Secondly is the specification list.  Seriously, here is the list:

Dual Killer E2400 Network Ports + Killer AC-1535 2T2R 802.11ac WiFi
USB 3.1-A and USB 3.1-C from Intel’s Alpine Ridge controller
A USB 3.1 front panel that coverts a SATA Express port into USB 3.1-A and USB 3.1-C
The USB 3.1-C on the rear panel, with updates, supports Thunderbolt 3
A PLX8747 PCIe multiplexing switch enables from x16/x16 to x8/x8/x8/x8 Support
10 SATA Ports (PCH and ASMedia ASM1061 Controllers)
3 SATA Express Ports
11 USB 3.0 Ports (Mix of PCH direct and via Renesas PCH Hubs)
Creative Sound Core 3D Audio and Software Suite
USB DAC-UP for clean USB power for DACs
International Rectifier power delivery via 22 phases
Combination power delivery heatsink supporting air and water cooling
Enhanced Audio with gain switches and replaceable OP-AMPs
Performance Tuning IC for enhanced BCLK range
PCIe shielding for enhanced mechanical reinforcement for heavy GPUs

I’m sure there’s a feature or two missing from that list, but having this much on a single motherboard is certainly pushing some limits and wow factors.

Now for the critical points – at $500, with an i5-6600K processor at $260, you could buy an Haswell-E platform based on the i7-5930K with a $250 motherboard for about the same and end up with two more cores/four more threads, a total of 40 PCIe lanes and quad channel memory. What would make this system even more exciting is if we had a six-core Skylake processor. Those are features that you will never get with a Skylake system and the argument of Skylake vs Haswell-E at this price point is perfectly valid. It’s all a question of what you need from a system, because for sure the $250 X99 motherboard might not even have USB 3.1, let alone Thunderbolt 3, or M.2/M.2 in RAID, or Creative audio, or NVMe support, or almost anything on that list above.  If your workload is suited for pure CPU/GPU throughput, then Haswell-E is the right choice there. For gaming, or functionality, it is arguable at best.

Another critical point will be the choice of Killer networking for both wired and wireless, whereas some users would prefer at least one Intel instead. Therein lies the crux of the PC market – who exactly is this motherboard marketed towards? Enthusiasts? Sure. Prosumers? Perhaps. Gamers? Absolutely. Workstations? Probably Not. I’m sure GIGABYTE would love it if it suited everyone, but there is no one big circle in a Venn diagram that fits all needs or marketing points. The main challengers here are ASUS’ Maximus VIII Extreme and the ASUS Z170-WS which are both at similar price points but offer different use cases. We have the Extreme in for a review fairly shortly.

At the end of the day, this is GIGABYTE’s halo motherboard for Skylake based systems. It will be one of the key elements in a system integrators high end build, and provides any gamer with enough features to be satisfied with a powerful rig. The competition is tough in this space, the volume is low, and GIGABYTE is making strides in most of the areas we have previously been cautious of in the past. Needless to say, even when considering the price, the Z170X-Gaming G1 would be a good foundation for that gaming PC you’ve saved up for. It’s worth a recommendation and GIGABYTE should be proud with what they’ve produced. I can only encourage them to make the minor tweaks to push it further.


Recommended by AnandTech
The GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 Motherboard

Gaming Performance 2015
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  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    I have four 290X cards? wow, where?
    I have the 4GB model, not four of them.
    Reply
  • sor - Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - link

    Agreed. The main reason to consider this thing is the x4 SLI. Too bad we have no idea what that looks like. Everything coming out of the review can be had for less on many other boards. Reply
  • jasonelmore - Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - link

    Amazing looking board with the most I/O i have ever seen on a mainstream chipset.

    This would look sick with white tubing, in a corsair white case.
    Reply
  • WasHopingForAnHonestReview - Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - link

    Who fucking cares how it looks when the performance is subpar for the price?! What are you, an artist?! Reply
  • jasonelmore - Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - link

    it's running a rev1 bios, and i'm not sure which performance your talking about.. All the benchmarks have it within 1 FPS, and that just boils down to variance. that's not even a 2% difference. DPC Latency is confirmed to be a intel wireless chipset and DRIVER problem, thus any board WITHOUT intel wireless doesnt have the DPC issues. Reply
  • linster - Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - link

    Those "Quick Links to Other Pages" on page one don't work. Reply
  • TheEvilEngineer - Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - link

    Ok, the board may be able to run a dual, triple, or quad SLI. However there isn't a skylake processor out with enough lanes to run that setup. The i7-6700k only has 16 lanes. At best, you can run a single GPU at full 16 lanes. Or dual with 8x and 8x. My personal setup on the board is a GTX 980 Ti (8x) and an intel 750 nvme drive (4x), with room for either a m2 or another intel 750. I'm not sure why they started including dual nics on consumer boards, they provide 0 benefit unless you some how have a business class 1+Gb/s internet connection. Best you can do with dual nics is configure them for smb 3.0 multi-channel.... though you'll need either another windows 10, 8.1 or server 2012 on your lan correctly configured as well to use it. I'd rather they just put in a 10 Gb/s nic instead. Reply
  • lilkwarrior - Thursday, December 3, 2015 - link

    It's because of the PLX chip that comes with the card. It essentially extends the lanes available (& speeds) at the expense of cost & higher power consumption Reply
  • Jackie60 - Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - link

    This is why Anandtech is losing it's way. Where is the 4 SLI bit of the review. Who would buy a $500 mobo for a CPU costing $300. Advertorial pure and simple. Reply
  • jasonelmore - Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - link

    There are several other $500 Z170 Motherboards.. Asus's Maximus VIII Extreme for example.

    This has a expensive PLX chip, so it can do 16x0x16x0x or 8x8x8x8x. just fine. The PLX adds a tiny bit of latency, but nothing game breaking or noticeable.
    Reply

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