Lets take a closer look at Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 7 various features and performance under load.
UnboxingThe Gaming 7 comes in an attractive packing. The company has ditched their green and black color combination for gaming motherboards and decided to go with the red and black color theme( which is personally my favorite). The box has the red eye logo and at the back all the specs are mentioned.
Inside the box you will find:
- Installation guide
- User manual
- 4-SATA cables (2 Straight & 2 L shaped)
- SLI Bridge
- I/O shield
- Driver CDs
FeaturesMore or less the features of gaming 3 and gaming 7 are same. Like SATA express ports, M.2 connector, Multi GPU support (both SLI and Crossfire), Intel 4th and 5th gen CPU support with future support for the upcoming Broadwell CPUs and UEFI dual Bios. However there are some points that need special mentioning.
AMP-UP Audio:The Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7 features an AMP-UP audio processor paired with high end gold plated audio capacitors. This gives high quality sound and stronger or louder audio output. It also features an upgradable OP-AMP and onboard Gain Boost switches. Unless you are very particular with the audio output, you won’t need to change anything here, since by default they already produce great sound quality and amplification
Built-in Rear Audio Amplifier
Nichicon audio capacitors
Improved Heat Sink:GIGABYTE has given Gaming 7 two sleek black and red heat-sinks. These heat-sinks cover the MOSFETs and are substantial in size but not bulky enough to cause obstruction for such devices as a CPU cooler.
Dotted around the motherboard and indeed the VRM area are 10K-Solid CAPs. These capacitors promise to deliver at least 10K hours of usage, offering ultra-low ESR even under severe CPU load
Power and Reset buttons:
7 segment LED display:The LED display helps in checking real time voltage and gives LED codes throughout the POST process and helps to ascertain any issues with booting.
Dedicated Bios Button:Next to the power button, there are two switches – one enables/disables dual BIOS and one allows you to switch between the primary and secondary BIOS.
Voltage Measurement Points:
Gold plated Capacitors:These capacitors are very durable and help in achieving high performance. They are only offered in the GA Z97X-Gaming 7 and not in its smaller cousins.
LED Path trace:This provides looks to the motherboard along with isolation of audio components from the rest of the board. Performance with style indeed.
6 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.
Killer™ E2200 Gaming Network
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 don't 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. The Cloud Station app lets you connect and share your smartphone and tablets data wirelessly via your PC.
Note: Gigabyte Game Controller is one of the many utility software that come bundles with the motherboard, it primarily helps gamers to stabilize the mouse movement for high precision on high DPI settings using the 'sniper mode' with the press of a user defined hot key.
BIOS:The gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 7 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 don't like the new interface(which I don't think anyone would) and also you can switch between dual BIOS by simply pressing F2
Load Tests:For load testing we used the following setup:
CPU: Intel i5 4670K (overclocked to 4.7ghz at 1.2 volt)
GPU: AMD/ATI R9 280X
RAM: 4x8 Gb G.skill TridentX (2133 Mhz, 9-11-11-11-31-2N, 1.6 volts)
Cooler: Corsair H90
Cinebench 15As shown in the picture, the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 7 was performing decently in normal mode. The performance was good enough at 580.
But increased drastically when overclocked, and reached upto 719
AIDA CPU QueenThe motherboard when tested on AIDA CPU Queen, performed well on both normal and overclocked modes.
When normal mode the score was 36483 and went upto 43009 when overclocked.
Winrar v3.7 Corporate EditionTo check the CPU performance on OC we used WinRar v3.7 Corporate edition and compressed and de-compressed a miscellaneous data file of 570MB and took the average of both the times to obtain the result which came at 12 seconds.
DPC LatencyOther than these popular tests, we included the DPC latency test to see the motherboard's highly acclaimed audio performance.DPC Latency Checker is a Windows tool that analyses the capabilities of a computer system to handle real-time data streams properly. It may help to find the cause for interruptions in real-time audio and video streams, also known as drop-outs.
The results of Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 7 were very impressive with just 150 micro seconds as the outcome.
Crysis3We ran Crysis 3 at ultra high settings and 1080p resolution enabling the mantle API and frames were measured using FRAPS.
Tomb RaiderSince, the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 7 is a gaming motherboard, we were not satisfied by just one game. So we ran Tomb Raider 2013 as well to see the performance of the mobo.
The results can be seen here.
I give it a 9/10
Video review for the Z97X Gaming 7 is now online so do watch.
An Engineer by profession and a writer by passion. Trying to solve others problems and learning in the due course.