Subscribe For Free Updates!

We'll not spam mate! We promise.

Thursday, 23 April 2015


Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 Motherboard Review and Specifications

I've been posting articles about a lot of components on the blog, but still one of the major computer part has been left untouched. Yes, I'm talking about motherboard. And when it comes to motherboard, Gigabyte is the name that comes to everyone's mind. Gigabyte is one of  the pioneer of the motherboard industry with a large lineup of products that not only include boards but All-In-Ones, Laptops, Tablets and Gaming Peripherals.
So, today I'm taking the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 motherboard for review and load tests.
With the launch of Intel's Haswell platform, Gigabyte announced a line of new motherboards aimed at overclocking and gaming purpose. The Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 is an entry level motherboard in their G1 gaming series, offering some high end features and support for the Haswell architecture processors at a very compatible price.The main feature that distinct this lineup is that it features components that are optimized for gamers such as Bigfoot’s Killer E2200 LAN chip, Creative Audio X-Fi MB3 chipset with AMP-UP Audio and on-board amplifier. And is priced roughly around 14,550 INR.
Lets take a closer look at the specifications:

Whats in the box

The packaging of the motherboard is very appealing, with the black-red color scheme. The back has a brief description of its specifications. In the box you'll find:
  • Four SATA 6 Gbit/s cables with metallic locks (two cables with straight connectors and two cables with L-shaped connectors
  • One flexible bridge to connect graphics cards in SLI model
  • User manual
  • Installation guide
  • DVD with software and drivers
This is pretty much standard packaging with everything you'll need during installation. Of course we can see the cost cutting done by the company to provide for the gaming quality motherboard in this price range.


  • Separation on the PCB layer protects the board’s sensitive analog audio components.
  • Separate analog and digital ground to protect against Electromagnetic Interference (EMI).
  • LED trace path lighting illuminates to show the separation of the PCB layers and also looks pretty cool for gaming point of view.

Support for Intel 4th and 5th gen Processors:

Just like other Z97-based motherboards, the Z97X-Gaming 3 supports all existing LGA1150 processors and is promised to support the next-generation Core series as well. So, Gigabyte is actually making your rig future proof.

Multi-GPU Support:

Whats gaming without multiple GPU. The Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 offers 2 way AMD crossfire sharing the lanes fifty-fifty between the two PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 slots or 3 way Nvidia SLI,where the third graphics card can be installed into the PCI 2x16 slot.

Improved Heat sink Design

The VRM and PCH are cooled by three sets of heatsinks made of aluminium.The VRM heatsinks feature the G1 label which is a nice for a low-cost motherboard. The heatsink is set in place through two push-and-pull screws. The area beneath the heatsink has adhesive paste which makes contact with the VRMs so that heat can be transferred on the heatsinks and cooled by case fans cooling.

AMP-UP Audio technology:

Since the motherboard is aimed at high performance gaming, good audio quality has to be a prime feature. And Gigabyte has taken care of this need by providing exclusive AMP-UP audio in the Z97X-Gaming 3.  The AMP-UP Audio technology covers a number of audio-enhancing features. The motherboard has op-amps to support high-impedance headphones. The left and right audio channels are wired in different PCB layers and the entire audio subsystem is insulated from the rest of the mainboard components to minimize interference. The insulation line is highlighted in red but you can turn this illumination off in the BIOS.

Memory Support

With a max capacity of 32 Gb RAM support working at the highest limit of DDR3 memory freq of 3200 Mhz, the gives u the option to even install a beastly memory like Corsair dominator platinum to be installed and use to its full potential. Point worth noting is that the max overclocking freq of your RAM will depend on the processor used and not on the motherboard. So don't think that you can run a Corsair dominator platinum at 3200 Mhz with i5 processor.

SATA Express connector:

GIGABYTE motherboards feature an onboard SATA Express connector which provides performance far superior to that of current SATA technologies. SATA Express features data transfer rates of up to 10Gb/s, considerably higher than SATA Revision 3 (6Gb/s). This feature will allow you to use SSDs at ease as it wont bottleneck their performance. All in all, you are getting the benefits of both SATA connectors and PCI-e slots combined in one slot.

Killer E2200 gaming Network:

Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 features Killer 2200, a high performance Qualcomm Aetheros Ethernet controller that provides better online gaming support. One for the hard core gamers.

M.2 Connector:

It comes equipped with an onboard M.2 slot, providing users PCI-Express connectivity for SSD devices. Delivering up to 10 Gb/s data transfer speeds, M.2 offers users considerably faster storage performance than current mSATA and even SATA Revision 3, making it future proof.

4K Ultra HD Support:

4K resolution is the next gen advancement, which is supported by the Z97X-Gaming 3. The mobo provides 4K support with integrated Intel HD graphics.

4 Fan support:

The Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 provides installation support for 4 PWM fans. The Opt fan support means an additional CPU fan pin header that can be used to install water coolers and get CPU power support and operate at full speed.

Gold Plated CPU socket Design:

This means durable and increased conductivity, hence increased performance in the long run without the concern of corrosion or rusting.

Gigabyte Easy Tune App & Cloud Center App

Gigabyte’s EasyTune allows users to tune their system settings or adjust system and memory clocks and voltages in a Windows environment, hence you dont always need to open BIOS to change settings.With Smart Quick Boost, one click is all it takes to automatically overclock your system. It can also be used to control fan speeds.
Similarly, the Cloud Station app lets you connect and share your smartphone and tablets data wirelessly via your PC.


The gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 comes with UEFI Dual BIOS. So if by chance your BIOS crashes, you'll always have a backup bios. The new BIOS has very appealing looks and is very user friendly. Even if you're installing the mobo for the first time, you'll feel at ease. It runs at full-HD resolution of 1920 x 1080P offering a seamless experience providing enhanced set of details for users to tune and look at while overclocking the motherboard.
Once you enter the BIOS, you will find yourself in the start screen of the new Startup Guide which can help with initial setting-up by guiding you through a few simple steps. You can also enable Fast Boot, specify your date and time, choose your boot device order and define the operation mode for your drives. BIOS access can be restricted by means of a password.
You can also switch to the classic mode in the BIOS if you dont like the new interface(which I dont think anyone would) and also you can switch between dual BIOS by simply pressing F2.

Load Test

For conducting the load test on Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3, I paired it with the following:
Processor: Intel Core i5 4670K
RAM: 4x8GB G.SKILL TridentX (2133 MHz, 9-11-11-31-2N, 1.6 volts)
GPU: AMD R9 280X
Cooler: Corsair H90

For both normal mode of 3.6ghz-3.8ghz and overclocked mode at 4.5ghz drawing 1.15V, I compared the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 with two other motherboards. We ran Cinebench 15, Adobe Photoshop CS6 and the punishing Crysis 3. The results are shown below:
We are using Cinebench 15 CPU test for 3D rendering, and calculated average result of two times. The Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 performed flawlessly in both normal and overclocking mode.

As all of us know, the Adobe Photoshop CS6 pushes any rig to its limit, it was used as a benchmark here. The result shown are that of 24 megapixel photographs.

The reason for using Crysis 3 is its top-notch visuals and lets you enable AMD’s Mantle technology. Believe me, you wont need to overclock the motherboard to enjoy the game as it provides decent FPS in normal mode as-well.
As seen, Gigabyte passes all the tests with flying colors. Even where it loses to Asus, one must keep in mind that asus gives this performance at the price of future proofing as it doesn't have the support for M.2 connector and is also bit pricy.


The Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 is advertised as a gaming motherboard. So we should consider its performance on that level. With support for multi GPU, Crossfire and SLI, good audio quality, effortless LAN gaming experience and easy overclocking, its one hell of package for the hardcore gamers. Also for non gamers, this motherboards has a lot to offer, as its future ready with support of Intel 4th and 5th gen processors and M.2 connector, which is mostly offered only in the high priced motherboards.
All in all, the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 is a very durable and high performance motherboard that's completely hassle free and light on pocket with the price tag of around 13,750 INR. I give it 9.5/10
Hope that you will find this article useful. Any suggestions or queries are always welcome.
Shivani Mishra
About the Guest Author:
An Engineer by profession and a writer by passion. Trying to solve others problems and learning in the due course.

Socializer Widget By Computers and More


Post a Comment