Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 5 (LGA 1150) Motherboard Review

/ 6 years ago

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A Closer Look & Layout Analysis

The Z97X-Gaming 7 is an aesthetically safe motherboard that is hugely similar to all other Z97 motherboards in layout. We find the SATA Express and SATA located by the chipset heatsink, the M.2 slot at the start of the PCIe lanes and the audio located on an isolated PCB.

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Gigabyte helpfully label all of the SATA ports so you can work out which one does what.

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The audio codec, capacitors and front panel connector all get space on an isolated PCB which is under-lit by red LEDs.

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At the top of the board we find two CPU fan headers helpfully located next to each other (unlike MSI who like to space them out).

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Around the CPU socket we find the 8 phase VRM which makes use of 10K rated black capacitors provided by Nippon Chemi-Con and Nichicon. These capacitors feature a solid state design and reduced ESR.

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At the bottom of the board we can find the USB headers, two fan headers and the front panel I/Os. The PCIe lane config allows for 2-Way SLI or 3-Way CFX.

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The rear I/O is well decked out for USB and audio as well as for users looking to use the integrated graphics on their LGA 1150 CPU. Legacy mouse and keyboard connectivity is also something I like, although a combo port is preferred to make space for an extra two USB.

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The PCB is a custom matte black for a clean finish.

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