Overall and Final Verdict
So now that we have taken a look at the Z170X Gaming 7’s features, software, and performance how does it all stack up? Well Right out of the hole I wasn’t a huge fan of the Black, Red, and White theme that Gigabyte went with. I would have much preferred they sent with just black and red or black and white or even a white PCB with red trim. The three colors together will make it a little hard for people trying to stick with one color scheme. That said the board was packed full of features. From stuff like the metal covered PCI slots and the high number of SATA and M.2 options. It’s funny the Gaming 7 has so many features that it runs into the limitations of the Z170 platform as far as limited CPU lanes. This means in a few cases like the bottom M.2 if you use some of the boards features you lose functionality on other features. That isn’t on Gigabyte though, just interesting that they packed in that many features.
I was especially impressed with some of the features with the Creative SoundCore 3D Gaming Audio. The quad core sound processor is nice as are the high end caps but I was really impressed with them including an upgradable OP-AMP and the switch that adds support for high impedance headphones and speakers. The customizable lighting around the audio was also cool. I do wish they would have focused a little more on having a fully separated PCB like a lot of the other manufactures have been doing with their built in audio. The Gaming 7 had a resin section splitting part of the PCB but then it just stops, it seems like they wanted it to look like it was separated without actually doing that.
The other issue I ran into with our original board was a few chocks that were mounted extremely twisted. This didn’t seem to be an issue with the replacement board that we got in but keep an eye out. The reason we replaced our original board in the first place was due to the memory compatibility issues with a few of the kits, specifically the Kingston kit that we test with. They seem to be hard at work getting those compatibility issues worked out, but if you are doing a build soon with the Gaming 7 I would recommend looking at other DDR4 kits, this is disappointing because I personally prefer to run Kingston but until the issues are worked out things will go much smoother if you work with just about anything else.
So the Gaming 7 did have a few issues but I was really impressed with its performance as well. Not only did it do very well in all of our standard testing, the network testing really opened my eyes to the performance of the Killer NIC compared to the Intel NIC that was also included with the Gaming 7. I think if I’m looking for pure performance I use the Killer NIC and if you are worried about reliability you go with the Intel. Gigabyte also included their impressive APP Center software that lets you install and update your Gigabyte software up to date with a clean and easy to use interface. Things like the EasyTune let you toy with your performance in a similar way to working in the BIOS without having to reboot over and over. The @BIOS software helped me update the BIOS quickly, and they also have a tool to adjust and play with the lighting controls for the built in lighting on the motherboard.
So where does the Z170X Gaming 7 fall into the market? Well at just under $220 currently it isn’t exactly a budget board but it does fall well under the $400 and $500 dollar boards that are the highest end. With the number of features on the board you are going to be hard pressed to find boards that give much more, especially at this price. With all of the M.2 slots, additional internal USB 3 headers, and SATA Express you know that any build with this board is going to have a lot of life and upgradability in the future.
Live Pricing: HERE