The GIGABYTE GA-Z97X Gaming GT LGA1150 ATX Motherboard Reviewed

Posted by


Check out our extensive COMPUTEX Taipei 2014 Coverage! With high quality videos, news, and more that you deserve! - Give Me All The Coverages!
3 Flares 3 Flares ×

GIGABYTE GA Z97X Gaming GT Motherboard Review 6 500x335 The GIGABYTE GA Z97X Gaming GT LGA1150 ATX Motherboard Reviewed

At COMPUTEX 2014 this year, GIGABYTE announced a new branding for their gaming series of motherboards. While the extra features like high end integrated audio, preset UEFI BIOS and software overclocking and stability, remain the same, the new boards offer a much more mainstream design, rather than the military motif of their previous products. With the arrival of the new Intel Z97 chipset, it seemed like the perfect time for the company to make this move.

We’ve received their latest G1 Gaming motherboard, the GIGABYTE GA-Z97X Gaming GT, which follows the same feature rich design as the previous G1 series, but is now clad in the new red and black styling. We took a detailed look at this new board to see if it measures up to the legacy left by their previous products.

Features and Specifications

GIGABYTE GA Z97X Gaming GT Motherboard Review 17 500x278 The GIGABYTE GA Z97X Gaming GT LGA1150 ATX Motherboard Reviewed

If you’re a fan of games, like myself, you want the short-short version of the features. Many of them are a lot like the previous Z87 G1 generation. Let’s break it down.

  • Compatible with 4th Gen (Haswell) and 5th Gen (Devil’s Canyon) processors
  • Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi MB3 software suite
  • OP-AMP audio amplifier: swappable and configurable amplifier socket
  • Noise Guard: LED path lighting and noise elimination
  • Dual USB DAC-UP for noise-free digital to analog conversion
  • Killer E2200 (embedded) network controller: prioritize games
  • 4-way NVidia SLI and AMD CrossFireX support
  • Intel SATA Express
  • DualBIOS UEFI: easy BIOS recovery

The components used to build the board include Nichicon capacitors for consistent audio quality and solid state (black) capacitors all of which improve the life span of the board. Missing though is any sign of M.2 SSD support, which seems to go hand in hand with most Z97 boards. Instead, GIGABYTE has added a SATA Express support instead.

Software includes GIGABYTE’s APP Center which must be installed first if you want to add their useful fan app, EasyTune and Cloud Station apps. Essentially, the entire software suite can be used to control fan speeds individually as well as charging ports or IO connectivity. Additionally, the Killer Network Manager lets users prioritize the programs that require bandwidth. For example, Windows Update doesn’t need to have full bandwidth when you’re gaming, much less be running.

Finally, the GIGABYTE GA-Z97X Gaming GT motherboard comes with a 3 year warranty (4 years in some markets like the UK) and retails for around the $239 US price range.

What’s In the Box?

 GIGABYTE GA Z97X Gaming GT Motherboard Review 7 500x302 The GIGABYTE GA Z97X Gaming GT LGA1150 ATX Motherboard Reviewed

The box includes a basic amount of items to get your elite gaming system up and running. Users get four black SATA, matching black/read IO shield, two-three-four way graphics bridges, case badges, and manuals along with software DVD. The software on the DVD is mostly likely a little older than what’s on the GIGABYTE support page. So check there after installing the LAN driver from the disc for the latest version. Or use the new GIGABYTE APP Centre to help automate the process, after  you install the latest version off their site.

Other than that, the load out is fairly standard for most GIGABYTE gaming motherboards, and comparable to other brands.

What Makes it a Gaming Motherboard?

GIGABYTE GA Z97X Gaming GT Motherboard Review 14 500x312 The GIGABYTE GA Z97X Gaming GT LGA1150 ATX Motherboard Reviewed

Certain features make a product truly gamer. You can’t just give it a catchy title or random color theme and expect gamers to spend their hard earned money on just that. In fact, that commonly used tactic most often backfires and turns into a less than stellar user experience. That said, GIGABYTE has spent quite a bit of time giving their G1 series a set of features that resonates throughout their brand. One of those features is the enhanced audio.

GIGABYTE’s AMP UP audio was featured back when they launched their Z87 series of boards, which allows the swapping of OP AMPs, but it’s taken a bit further in this series. An OP AMP is essentially an amplifier IC socket with configurable amplification modes via four dip switches. Gamers can order any of the near 40 compatible amps on the market. The amps all provide varied frequency and volume enhancements so the combinations are many. Just make sure you power off the board before swapping amplifiers.

Audio 500x169 The GIGABYTE GA Z97X Gaming GT LGA1150 ATX Motherboard Reviewed

Audio extras include the Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi MB3 software suite that unlocks more of the audio processor’s capabilities. Gamers can tweak settings to fit the games they like to play including programmable presets. Scout Mode can help give gamers a handy edge detecting their opponents as long as the game supports it. Otherwise, you must rely on skill. Additionally, Sniper Mode augments mouse DPI polling also to help tweak standard or gamer designed mice.

Pages: 1 2 3 4

About

As our Senior PC Hardware Editor, Eric has been working with tech since before serving in the military where he really got to play with some very cool hardware. As for his prowess on the virtual battlefield, don't let the teddy bear exterior fool you. He can frag and pwn with the best in just about any first person shooter. You may run in to him at LANs, tech shows, and gaming shows, so do say hello.

3 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 2 Google+ 1 Pin It Share 0 Reddit 0 Email -- 3 Flares ×
More in Computer
ASUS STRIX GTX 750 Ti Video Card 11
The ASUS STRIX GTX 750 Ti OC Edition Video Card Reviewed

At COMPUTEX 2014, Futurelooks had a chance to check out a new series of hardware and peripherals called STRIX. Unlike...

Close