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Tuesday, 12 May 2015


Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GT Motherboard Review and Specifications

Since Gigabyte has been bombarding us with their gaming series, today I've brought you the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GT motherboard for review and load tests. This is one of the premium motherboards offered by the company and comes with a lot of features.
The Gaming GT boasts of being hardcore gaming motherboard and testifies the statement by supporting upto four graphic cards at a time through quad SLI/CrossfireX. It supports the intel's latest Haswell architecture and even the 5th gen processors.
Like rest of the Z97 chipset motherboards from gigabyte this one also has the AMP-UP audio technology that will enhance the gaming experience, that too at a very affordable price. Lets take a closer look at Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GT.

Packaging and Unboxing

This time Gigabyte gets a thumbs up from me for the very premium looking pakaging. You can also open the front cover revealing more features of the motherboard. And there’s a rectangular cut out window, protected by a plastic covering where you can see the motherboard itself.
The box includes a basic amount of items to get your gaming system up and running. It contains four black SATA cables, matching black/red IO shield, two-three-four way graphics bridges, case badges, and manuals along with software DVD.
This is mostly like the standard packaging provided by Gigabyte with all its motherboards.


Going by the book of the gaming series, the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GT also comes with the following features:
  • Compatible with 4th Gen (Haswell and Haswell Refresh) and 5th Gen (Broadwell) 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
  • Killer E2200 (embedded) network controller
  • 4-way NVidia SLI and AMD CrossFireX support
  • Intel SATA Express
  • Dual BIOS UEFi
Most of these features. I've already explained in my previous reviews. However, some worth mentioning points are:

Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi MB3 software suite:

Gigabyte Gaming GT motherboards also include Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 software suite. Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 software suite is a powerful audio platform offering premium audio quality, effects and features for gamers. It features SBX Pro Studio suite of technologies, which is designed to give you the fullest audio experience.


Gigabyte Gaming GT motherboards also features dual USB 2.0 ports, Gigabyte USB DAC-UP provides clean, noise-free power delivery to your Digital-to-Analog Converter. DACs can be sensitive to fluctuations in power from the other USB ports, which is why Gigabyte USB DAC-UP takes advantage of an isolated power source that minimizes potential fluctuations and ensures the best audio experience possible.

OP-AMP audio amplifier:

The Gaming GT being a gaming motherboard comes with the features that any gamer needs. One of them being Enhanced audio experience. The swappable OP-AMP feature lets you configure amplification modes via four dip switches. 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.

Better Heatsink design:

The Gaming GT has a nice chunky eye logo on its heatsink that looks really attractive (would have been better with glowing LED).
On removing the heatsink, we find a PLX PEX8747-CA80FBC chip. Just for your knowledge, the PLX chip is mandatory for any motherboard that offers multi GPU support. So, Gigabyte is not fooling you but is actually providing complete support for SLI/CrossfireX. Its only because of the PLX chip onboard that we have an electrical configuration of two PCIe 3.0x16 slots along-with two more PCIe 3.0x8 slots.

For those who want to know more about PLX chip: The ExpressLane™ PEX 8747 is a 48-lane, 5-port, PCIe Gen 3 switch device developed on 40nm technology. The PEX 8747 device offers Multi-Host PCI Express switching capability enabling users to connect a host to its respective endpoints via scalable, high bandwidth, non-blocking interconnection to a variety of graphics applications. The PEX 8747 is optimized to support high-resolution graphics while supporting peer-to-peer traffic and multicast for maximum performance.

PCIe Expansion slots:

The Gigabyte Gaming GT comes with 2x PCIeX16 and 2x PCIeX8 slots. For optimum performance, if only one graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIeX16_1 slot; if you are installing two graphics cards, it is recommended that you install them in the PCIeX16_1 and PCIeX16_2 slots. The PCIeX8_1 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIeX16_1 slot and the PCIeX8_2 slot with PCIeX16_2. The PCIeX16_1/PCIeX16_2 slot will operate at up to x8 mode when the PCIeX8_1/PCIeX8_2 is populated.

Killer  E2200 network controller:

Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming GT features Killer E2200, a high performance Qualcomm Aetheros Ethernet controller that provides better online gaming support. One for the hard core gamers.

Bundled Software:

  • EasyTune
  • EZ Setup
  • Fast Boot
  • Game Controller
  • Cloud Station App
These softwares 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. It lets you configure your system fans, view system information and many more. There is also a separate application for you to control the audio and the Killer Network Manager.

UEFI Bios:

The Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GT comes with dual bios settings. The overall look is very appealing. Also one can switch to the Classic Mode if not satisfied with the new UI.

Another important feature is the Smart Tweak mode that is exclusively for overclockers and enthusiast professionals. One can switch between these different modes by just pressing the F2 button.

Test Setup and Performance

Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K
CPU Cooler: Corsair H90
Memory: 4x8 Gb G.skill TridentX (2133 Mhz, 9-11-11-11-31-2N, 1.6 volts)
Graphics card: AMD/ATI R9 280X

During my test, I got an overclock CPU frequency of 5 GHz. However when I checked CPU-Z, I noticed that the voltage was very high, at 1.4 volts. That’s one reason why I am not a fan of software based or auto overclocking. I’m no expert when it comes to overclocking, but I try my best to learn and tweak the system via BIOS. As of today, there’s no single app that can give you record breaking frequencies. The best way to overclock your system without consuming too much power is still via BIOS.

So I went old school and achieved a stable 4.7 Ghz at just 1.3 volts which is a good enough if you are using just a Liquid Cooler at an ambient temperature of over 39°C

CineBench R15

As shown in the picture, the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 7 was performing decently in normal mode. The performance was good enough at 170.
But increased drastically when overclocked, and reached upto 873


The motherboard when tested on AIDA CPU Queen, performed well on both normal and overclocked modes.
When normal mode the score was 38456 and went upto 45890 when overclocked.

WinRar v3.7 Corporate edition

To 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 9.1 seconds.

Gaming Benchmarks

For the games we ran all of them at 1920x1080 resolution and FRAPS was used to measure the frame rates of each game. The general setting involved, textures: Very High, Shadows: High, Anisotropic Filtering: 16x, SSAO: On, Tessellation: On, DX11 Advanced Shadows: On, MSAA: 0x

Crysis 3

Battlefield 4

Call of Duty: Ghosts


Gigabyte is selling the Z97X Gaming GT in the vicinity of $320 (Rs.19,299) in India. For the price it is being offered at, the Z97X Gaming GT is a great choice if you’re looking to go the multi-GPU route. The BIOS gives you a wealth of settings, and Gigabyte’s software utilities allow you to tweak every facet of your system with ease.
EasyTune is one of the easiest ways for novice users to overclock their system without having to manually change settings in the BIOS. The high-end audio hardware is a nice touch, with the built-in audio processor providing a noticeable improvement in audio quality. The only downside with the motherboard is that even though it has the Z97 chipset, there is no M.2 slot. You’re not missing out on much as hardware that makes use of the M.2 slot is not yet 'very' commercial and economical, but it would have been a good feature to have.
I give it a 9/10
Click here for the video review of the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GT

These various applications let you: control your system’s overall performance, overclock your CPU and memory, configure your system fans, view system information and many more. There is also a separate application for you to control the audio and the Killer Network Manager. - See more at:
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.

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  1. hi,
    Nice article...again ;)
    Could you please tell me as lay man which one is better of the two the Z97X Gaming 7 or the Gaming GT?

    1. The gaming 7 has more mainstream features as compared to the gaming GT. The gaming GT has features that are useful for overclocking. So if you're a little short on budget you should go for the gaming 7 which is more future proof with availability of M.2 connector but if you want to experience overclocking and hardcore gaming with multi Gpu support then gaming GT should be your pick.