Gigabyte Z170X-Ultra Gaming Motherboard Review
Posted by Heath Coop on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - 8:00am
Gigabyte is celebrating its 30th anniversary and they have dropped quite a few breathe taking parts. The new Extreme Gaming series graphics is catching quite a bit of attention, as is the X99 Designare EX and the X99 Phoenix. Mixed in there are also some new Z170 motherboards and they deserve just as much attention. In fact, there is one that demands it.
Let me cut to the chase, black is mean and black is most definitely cool. Somethings just had to be black to be correct. Whether it was Darth Vader, a leather jacket, or the 1986/87 Buick Grand National; there are just somethings that just would not look as mean or as cool if they were not black. Apparently, someone at Gigabyte thought the same thing when they decide to make the new Z170X-Ultra Gaming all black. Sure they could have went with white and red, like they did with the X99 version, but they did not. It is black and it looks the part. It looks mean and it looks cool.
Gigabyte did not just stop at an all-black theme though. They took it farther. They added an even more extreme version of their ambient lighting system, all done in red. OK, red is not exactly a surprise, but how it is done is. They have added red lighting everywhere. The south bridge is lit, the VRM heatsinks are lit, and even the memory slots are lit. But wait, there is more.
U.2 is the newest storage interface. It’s allows NVMe protocol which takes advantage of the fast bandwidth of PCIe Gen3 x4 lanes (32 Gb/s). Intel has already released drives using this protocol and by the looks of it, this will more than likely replace the still-born SATA Express protocol. The Z170X-Ultra Gaming has two of these ports as well as a full PCIe 3.0 M.2 port, so your high speed storage options are covered.
If I sound excited, I am, so let us get started.
Gigabyte's take on the Z170X-Ultra Gaming motherboard
Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 Certified Motherboard
Powered by Intel's own Thunderbolt controller the new Thunderbolt™ 3 protocol, which is available over a USB Type-C™ connector on the back I/O of the GIGABYTE Z170X-Ultra Gaming, brings an unprecedented single-wire bandwidth of up to 40 Gb/s -- twice more than the previous generation of Thunderbolt! This incredible increase in bandwidth is also accompanied with support for different protocols such as Mini DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.1, which is backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, opening up a world of new possibilities.
Daisy-chain Multiple Devices
Support for Mini DisplayPort 1.2 makes Thunderbolt™ 3 a must have for any enthusiast. The Z170X-Ultra Gaming is able to support a display in 4K resolution at 60 FPS. In addition, Thunderbolt™ 3 over USB Type-C™ has revolutionary industry-first features such as Power Delivery 2.0, and the ability to daisy-chain up to 6 devices thanks to the Z170X-Ultra Gaming's USB Type-C™ port.
Ambient Surround LED
Now offering more LED customizations than ever, users can truly adapt their PC to represent their lifestyle. With a redesigned Ambient LED application, the user has complete control over the LEDs which surround the motherboard.
Dual Hybrid Fan Headers
Many of today’s modern computers feature water cooling to ensure that the CPU or graphics cards stay cool and quiet while they are put under heavy load. In order to provide the best support for water cooling solutions, GIGABYTE has equipped its Z170 motherboards with an additional water pump power header. This allows the user to have full control over two water pumps or fans. An additional benefit of these headers with GIGABYTE’s motherboards is the option to choose between voltage calibration or PWM modes.
- VR requires 30% more performance than Full HD graphics for a steady 60FPS or greater.
- Only Gaming PCs can provide the best VR experience.
To create a seamless VR experience GIGABYTE Motherboards offer the best features to make your virtual reality feel like your actual reality.
With technologies such as Thunderbolt™ 3 to transfer data and video, NVMe support via M.2 or U.2, and a one piece metal shielding to brace for heavier discrete graphics cards its obvious that GIGABYTE has the tools you need to start your journey in VR. To set the mood GIGABYTE Motherboards include Ambient Surround LED to put you in the center of action.
Intel® USB 3.1 + Power Delivery 2.0
The Intel® USB 3.1 controller utilizes four PCIe Gen3 Lanes, offering up to 32 Gb/s total bandwidth, for uncompromised transfer speeds of up to 10 Gb/s per USB 3.1. With twice the bandwidth compared to its previous generation, and backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 and 3.0, the much improved USB 3.1 protocol is available over the new reversible USB Type-C™ and the traditional USB Type-A connector for better compatibility over a wider range of devices.
100W USB Type-C™
Redesigned to take full advantage of all the features that USB Type-C can support, GIGABYTE’s new Z170 motherboards with Intel’s USB 3.1 controller not only supports USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1, but also completely supports Power Delivery 2.0. This means users are able to get up to 100 watts through their Intel powered USB Type-C port. This opens the door for users looking to clean up their cable cutter and power or recharge their devices through this universal connector, the Type-C Port.
2-Way SLI™ / CrossFire™ Multi-Graphics
Multi-graphics configuration offers better graphics performance for gaming enthusiasts who demand the highest frame rates without compromising on resolution.
GIGABYTE Design By spacing the graphics cards in multi-graphics configurations, users are now able to obtain maximum airflow between cards.
Support for DDR4 XMP Up to 3866MHz and Beyond
GIGABYTE is offering a tested and proven platform that ensures proper compatibility with profiles up to 3866MHz and beyond. All users need to do to attain this performance boost is to ensure that their memory module is XMP capable and that the XMP function is activated and enabled on their GIGABYTE motherboard.
Extreme Performance with Gen.3 x4 NVMe PCIe SSDs
GIGABYTE’s Z170 motherboards offers the industry’s best compatibility in terms of NVMe storage for users who demand high capacity and seek the best performance. GIGABYTE’s unique design supports up to three Intel® 750 Series NVMe PCIe SSDs which can be configured in RAID for record speeds of up to 3525 MB/s (Sequential Read), making GIGABYTE the obvious choice for the ultimate PC.
NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 U.2 Onboard
The new Intel 750 series SSDs offer an incredible increase in performance over SATA drives. Using the NVMe protocol which takes advantage of the fast bandwidth of PCIe Gen3 x4 lanes (32 Gb/s), the drives are a clear advantage for users looking to boot their OS faster, load their games in a flash and access large files without waiting. By implementing the U.2 port onboard to support the 2.5" Intel 750 Series drive, GIGABYTE ensures that the users can benefit from the best performance.
Dual Armor DIMM and PCIe Metal Shielding
Never worry about your heavy graphics card damaging your motherboard again. GIGABYTE’s proprietary Ultra Durable PCIe Metal Shielding reinforces the PCIe connector to prevent slot damage due to heavy graphics card. The DIMM and PCIe metal shield also provides extra strength for when you forget to release the lock while replacing your component, adding a fool proof option which can save your PC’s life.