Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7 Review
Published: 22nd January 2016 | Source: Gigabyte | Price: £164.99 @ OCUK |
As reviewers we have slightly different requirements to the majority of users. Whilst you might think nothing of spending a few days tweaking your system to its highest possible performance, we have so much hardware and testing get through that when a motherboard comes along which allows you to overclock swiftly and get down to the nitty gritty of testing it's a particularly joyful moment. Whilst our Gaming 7 review might have had a difficult gestation period (what are the odds of a small batch of M.2 drives causing a conflict yet the board and Gigabyte are telling you is a memory fault?) once that was solved it was a total breeze to test and review. For which we're very grateful. Normally how easy - or difficult - a product is to test is something we don't bring up because it's not something a consumer would need to take into consideration but we'll make an exception here because it was SO smooth to achieve gobs of performance from.
There is no doubt that the decision to move away from their regular colour schemes towards the black/white/red of the Gaming 7 is something that had the potential to go badly wrong but we think Gigabyte knocked it out the park with the Gaming 7. It's gorgeous. The white is so pure that Dulux must be on the phone as we speak, and the decision to go with a slightly darker, almost metallic, red rather than just your regular red really highlights the raw beauty available here. Take a moment to look closely at the image at the top of the page and drink it in. High quality power components draped in carefully designed heatsinks with barely a millimetre of needless space. It's artful.
Looks count for nothing if the technology and performance isn't up to snuff. Beautiful but empty is an expression more suited to today's reality TV stars than hardware and thankfully the Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7 is stuffed to near-overflowing with high-end components. Everything that is on the list of "latest tech" is present and correct, from the obvious things like USB 3.1 and SATA Express, to unexpected delights such as the blistering Intel Thunderbolt 3, 4K iGPU and inclusion of Creative's current sound processor of choice the Recon3D. If it has a plug on the end of it then the odds are that the Gigabyte Gaming 7 can accept it.
With the looks and capabilities of the Gaming 7 you could almost overlook average performance, but even here it does well. The synthetic tests were perhaps less kind upon it than some other Z170 offerings we've reviewed, but once you moved away from the accountancy world of dry numbers into the tests that reflect how you'll actually experience the Gaming 7, PC Mark and the 3D tests, then it took on a new lease of life and knocked out some seriously impressive results.
A motherboard that was in the grand scheme of things not really worth the time and effort expended but this is something that we as a team at OC3D will have to consider if something like this was ever to happen again. The Z170X Gaming 7 is however if you just look at the results once it is working bristling with the latest technology, looks fantastic and has one of the easiest BIOS to use you could hope to find even if it does look 5 years old everything the average user needs is in there. After some deliberation in the office and even indeed feedback from YouTube & the forums we have decided that because of the issues we experienced we can not just sweep this under the carpet and ignore it so we have decided against the Gold award. We do think the looks coupled with the performance (assuming it works first time) is deserving of the OC3D Value For Money Award.
We were asked again this morning to delay the publication of the review until Gigabyte could replicate the issue and find a fix, we have decided to go live though because waiting hasnt exactly got us very far up to this point in time. We live in hope that this is enough motivation for them to get a BIOS live on the website considering we have done all the hard work for them already.