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 UnboxingThis 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.
FeaturesGoing 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
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.
Dual USB DAC-UP: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).
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.
- EZ Setup
- Fast Boot
- Game Controller
- Cloud Station App
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 PerformanceProcessor: 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 R15As 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
AIDA CPU QueenThe 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 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 9.1 seconds.
Gaming BenchmarksFor 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
Call of Duty: Ghosts
ConclusionGigabyte 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.
I give it a 9/10
Click here for the video review of the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GT
An Engineer by profession and a writer by passion. Trying to solve others problems and learning in the due course.