Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming Preview
Up Close & Video
When looking at the Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming we will start by looking at what comes included in the box. What Gigabyte offers here is modest but very practical, offering no necessary accessories and everything that users will require to set up their systems.
We can see in the box that Gigabyte has a user manual, an installation guide and a driver CD alongside a standard I/O shield. We can also see that the company offers 4 SATA cables, allowing users of the Aorus Ultra Gaming to use two-thirds of the motherboard's SATA ports right out of the box.
Gigabyte also offers a neat item that Gigabyte calls the G-Connector, which can be used to easily install the power switches and LEDs that from the user's chosen chassis. We can also see that Gigabyte has included a neat Aorus case badge in the box, which will be useful to those who want to showcase their Aorus fandom on their system chassis or elsewhere.
One other thing that is worth noting here is that unlike some other motherboard makers, Gigabyte has opted to pre-install their M.2 SSD screws/mounts, which means that they do not come bagged in the box. This saves some plastic when packaging these motherboards and allows users of standard-sized M.2 SSD users to save a little time when building their systems.
When looking at the board itself we can see that the Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming retains most of the flash of its higher-end counterparts, with two RGB illuminated PCIe 16x slots, DIMM slots and an RGB Aorus logo on their chipset heatsink.
At the top right and bottom left of the board, there are also some handy RGB and RGBW LED connections, giving users plenty of options to install their own custom case lighting, which can all be controlled via Gigabyte's RGB Fusion software.
On the motherboard, there are also six total 4-pin fan connections, which will be enough for most systems but could become a limiting factor for some high-end users that push-pull fans on water cooling radiators.
Looking at the base of this motherboard we can see that Gigabyte has three PCIe 16x slots, though only the top slot can operate at 16x speeds. The second slot is locked at 8x PCIe 3.0 speeds, though using it also limits the top slot to 8x speeds.
The third PCIe 3.0 slot will only run at 4x speeds, with the motherboard also featuring three PCIe 1x slots. We can also see that Gigabyte offers two M.2 slots that operate at PCIe 4x speeds, allowing this motherboard to support the full speeds of today's NVMe SSDs.
On this motherboard's rear IO we can see that Gigabyte offers everything that most basic PC gamers require, with four USB 3.0 (3.1 Gen1) ports (yellow and blue), two USB 3.1 (Gen 2) ports (one type-A and one type-C) and a total of two USB 2.0 ports (black).
This motherboard also offers support for both DVI-D and HDMI display connections, which should allow users of Intel's integrated graphics to support most modern PC displays or TVs when required.
RGB lighting is something that can be a bit marmite with consumers, with customers either hating the idea as an unnecessary expense or as a feature that is "too flashy" for their tastes.
Personally, I think it is a shame that RGB has eliminated the need for products with coloured PCIe slots like GIgabyte's traditional Green G1 Sniper series or Orange SoC series, though RGB has delivered customers with boards that can have any colour option they desire, which is arguably better.
What RGB illumination provides is options, options to create systems with red, green, blue, purple, orange or even hot pink colour schemes. It is this ability that has driven the popularity of RGB illumination, though that has come at the cost of most motherboard now shipping with neutral white, black or grey colour schemes.
With a price tag that is under £200 there isn't much that is worth complaining about when it comes to the Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming, with the board providing all of the high-end features that users should expect but without an insanely high price.
Yes, there are cheaper Z370 boards, but the Z370 Ultra Gaming offers a premium aesthetic and a premium aesthetic with few compromises, offering a similar look at feel to Gigabyte's more expensive Z370 models.
The design of this board offers little to complain about, though the two vertically mounted SATA slots at the base of the board is an interesting point of contention amongst OC3D staff. While we all dislike the orientation of these SATA slots, it is hard to make a big deal of it given few consumers will actually make use of them. This board already has four right-angled SATA ports to use, which is more than enough for most mainstream consumers.
What the Z370 Aorus Gaming offers is value, offering a motherboard that comes with the high-end features and premium aesthetic for under £200, though some will no doubt be annoyed at the lack of M.2 heatsinks and some other premium (arguably unnecessary) add-ons.
We will have a full review of this motherboard ready n the coming weeks, so please check back at OC3D to check out our latest Z370/Coffee Lake Content. Also, take note that the NDA for Coffee Lake reviews ends today at 2 pm, so be ready for the floodgates to open and for a lot of new content to be unleashed.