Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 7 (LGA 1150) Motherboard Review



/ 2 years ago

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Final Thoughts


Pricing

The Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7 motherboard costs $179.99 at Amazon and $179.99 at Newegg in the USA. In the UK it costs £134.99 at Amazon, £139.99 at Overclockers UK and £131.99 at Scan Computers. The Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7 comes with a four year Gigabyte warranty service

Overview

Gigabyte’s Z97X Gaming 7 motherboard is a solid gaming motherboard at a very compelling price point. From a consumer standpoint it is hard to find much to quibble about considering the excellent bang for your buck this offers. Gigabyte’s Z97X Gaming 7 is £5 cheaper than MSI equivalent, their Z97 Gaming 7 (£140), and just £20 more expensive than the ASUS Z97-A (£115), which is the ASUS entry level Z97 board, yet this Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7 actually offers quite a lot more than both these motherboards. Gigabyte have really gone all out with the feature set – they include more storage options than anyone else at the price point, one of the best audio solutions for this price point and a class-leading warranty for the price point too. That’s not even counting all the other extras this motherboard has like onboard power/reset/clearCMOS buttons, a debug LED, supplementary motherboard power for multi-GPU configurations, voltage read-off points and dual BIOSes in both senses (dual BIOS chips and dual BIOS systems: the “old” and “new” styles). Those features combined with the gamer-styling are sure to appeal to a rather large audience.

However, from the enthusiast-perspective I think some users may be a little disappointed that Gigabyte have “caved in” to the generic red and black colour scheme when I think their green and black colour scheme had actually started to warm to a lot of people. Gigabyte’s Z87 green boards were a fairly unique aesthetic to an increasingly homogenous motherboard market and were ideal for standing out from the crowd and building Nvidia themed systems. Now people looking for different colour gaming motherboards will have to opt for a rival brand, or get modding. I also feel like the use of the Killer NIC over the Intel NIC is not going to be welcomed by those higher end gamers. While in terms of raw throughput the Intel and Killer NICs are fairly similar, the Intel NIC imposes a dramatically smaller CPU overhead and comes with a much more mature software package – the Killer NIC software is actually quite intrusive and irritating in my honest opinion. Although it must be noted that the Killer NIC is a cheaper option and is part of what allows Gigabyte to bring this motherboard to market at such an attractive price point so it is an understandable decision they’ve made. A couple of other points I just want to touch on include the fact the CPU VRM heatsinks are not attached securely, Gigabyte should have opted for screws instead of a push-pin system. Second I think some layout aspects of the motherboard design could have been improved, to see the specifics of those possible improvements please refer back to page 2 of this review.

Pros

  • 4 year warranty
  • Highly competitive price point
  • “Safe” gamer aesthetics
  • Killer NIC
  • Dual BIOS chips and systems
  • High quality audio
  • Onboard buttons & debug LED

Cons

  • VRM heatsinks loosely secured
  • Some aspects of the layout could be improved
  • Killer NIC has fairly high CPU usage compared to Intel NICs
  • Green/Black colour scheme has been replaced, Gigabyte’s Gaming series no longer feels unique

“Gigabyte’s Z97X-Gaming 7 motherboard may no longer have the unique green aesthetics of that we come to associate with the Gigabyte G1 Series, but what it does have is a ridiculous number of features for such a competitive price point that other vendors cannot match. Gigabyte’s Z97X-Gaming 7 is an excellent motherboard for any gaming system and with a 4 year warranty you know it is a piece of hardware that you can trust.”

eTeknix Bang for Buck Award

Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7 (LGA 1150) Motherboard Review

Thank you to Gigabyte for providing this review sample.


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