Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5 Motherboard Review

Introduction

With the release of the Z97 and X99 chipsets, Gigabyte has decided to cosmetically overhaul the G1 Gaming line. Gone is the familiar green of old, for it has been replaced with a new red color scheme and a new logo as well. Gigabyte has also saw fit to dramatically increase the number of models, from the previous 6 with the Z87 chipset to 10 with the new Z97 chipset. Today we will be taking a look at one of the lesser priced models, Z97MX-Gaming 5. Based around the mATX, it may be smaller than its ATX counterparts, but certainly does not lack their features.

Gigabyte has revised their UEFI DualBIOS this generation, which has exclusive Gigabyte Gaming and OC features. There is also an application center that allows quite a bit of control over the BIOS, overclocking, gaming control, and other various features from inside the Windows environment. If that was not enough, Gigabyte has also added a new feature called Cloud Station, which allows that control from a smart phone as well.

Gigabyte has not been remiss on the hardware side either. The Z97MX-Gaming 5 Force supports 4th Generation Intel Core processors. There is up to 2-way AMD CrossFire and Nvidia SLI support. A precise digital CPU power design helps squeeze out those Mhz from your CPU. A SATA Express offer support for 10 Gb/s data transfers. On the networking side, a Killer E2200 network adaptor supplies more advanced features over the standard Intel network adaptor. Realtek ALC1150 115dB SNR HD Audio with Built-in rear audio amplifier supplies your audio needs.

Gigabyte’s take on the GA-Z97MX-Gaming 5

GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio™ Technology

GIGABYTE G1™ Gaming motherboards are equipped with the GIGABYTE exclusive AMP-UP Audio Technology, which provides the industry’s highest level of onboard audio features and technologies. With GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio, gamers and audiophiles are able to experience crisp, ultra realistic sound effects while gaming, and the richest possible sound experience when listening to their favorite music and movies.

High End Audio Capacitors

GIGABYTE G1™ Gaming motherboards use high end, Japanese branded Nichicon audio capacitors. These professional audio capacitors deliver the highest quality sound resolution and sound expansion to create the most realistic sound effects for professional gamers.

Realtek ALC1150 115dB SNR HD Audio

The ALC1150 is a high-performance multi-channel High Definition Audio Codec that delivers an exceptional audio listening experience with up to 115dB SNR, ensuring users get the best possible audio quality from their PC.

The ALC1150 provides ten DAC channels that simultaneously support 7.1-channel sound playback, plus 2 channels of independent stereo sound output (multiple streaming) through the front panel stereo outputs. Two stereo ADCs are integrated and can support a microphone array with Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), Beam Forming (BF), and Noise Suppression (NS) technologies. The ALC1150 incorporates Realtek proprietary converter technology to achieve Front differential output 115dB Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) playback (DAC) quality and 104dB SNR recording (ADC) quality.

Additional Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3

GIGABYTE G1™ Gaming motherboards also include Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 software suite. Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 software suite is a powerful audio platform offering premium audio quality, effects and features for gamers. It features SBX Pro Studio™ suite of technologies, which is designed to give you the fullest audio experience.

Quad USB DAC-UP

Featuring Quad USB 2.0 ports, GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP provides clean, noise-free power delivery to your Digital-to-Analog Converter. DACs can be sensitive to fluctuations in power from the other USB ports, which is why GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP takes advantage of an isolated power source that minimizes potential fluctuations and ensures the best audio experience possible.

Gold Plated Audio Hardware

GIGABYTE motherboards pack top quality gold plated audio and HDMI connectors for improved connectivity and long lasting durability. Gold has superb signal conductivity and will not tarnish over extended periods of use. The Audio controller is also shielded by a gold plated cover which eliminates electrostatic interference.

Killer™ E2200 Gaming Network

NO LAG, JUST FRAG!

GIGABYTE G1™ Gaming motherboards feature the Killer™ E2200 from Qualcomm Atheros, a high-performance, adaptive gigabit Ethernet controller that offers better online gaming and online media performance compared to standard solutions.

Extreme Multi-GPU Support

Flexible graphics capabilities supported for either CrossFire™ or SLI™ action, delivering the ultimate in graphics performance for gaming enthusiasts who demand the highest frame rates without compromising on resolution.

SATA Express Connector

GIGABYTE motherboards feature an onboard SATA Express connector which provides performance far superior to that of current SATA technologies. SATA Express features data transfer rates of up to 10Gb/s, considerably higher than SATA Revision 3 (6Gb/s), which won’t bottleneck faster NAND flash technologies in cutting edge SSDs. SATA Express combines the benefits of PCI-Express and SATA to provide much higher bandwidth, allowing SATA Express based drives to perform at similar speeds as PCI-Express based drives.

M.2 Onboard Connector

GIGABYTE G1™ Gaming motherboards come equipped with an onboard M.2 slot, providing users PCI-Express connectivity for SSD devices. Delivering up to 10 Gb/s data transfer speeds, M.2 offers users considerably faster storage performance than current mSATA and even SATA Revision 3 (6Gb/s) storage devices.

GIGABYTE App Center Including EasyTune™ and Cloud Station™ Utilities

GIGABYTE APP Center gives you easy access to wealth of GIGABYTE apps that help you get the most from your GIGABYTE motherboard. Using a simple, unified user interface, GIGABYTE APP Center allows you to launch all GIGABYTE apps installed on your system.

GIGABYTE EasyTune ™ App

GIGABYTE’s EasyTune™ is a simple and easy-to-use interface that allows users to fine-tune their system settings or adjust system and memory clocks and voltages in a Windows environment.

With Smart Quick Boost, one click is all it takes to automatically overclock your system, giving an added performance boost when you need it the most.

GIGABYTE  Cloud Station™  APP

GIGABYTE Cloud Station™ is composed of several GIGABYTE’s unique apps that allow your smart phones/tablet device to communicate, share resources, and control desktop PCs via wireless connection.

5x (15μ) Gold Plated CPU Socket Design

GIGABYTE 9 Series motherboards come equipped with a gold plated CPU socket, which means that enthusiasts can enjoy absolute reliability and longevity for the CPU socket overtime, without having any concerns about corroded pins and bad contacts.

Game Controller

GIGABYTE Game Controller allows you to define your own hotkeys and change the mouse sensitivity, helping you make the most out of your keyboard and mouse in games.

That is certainly a long list of features, which we will explore later.  Let us take a look at the product specifications and packaging next.

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