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Overview of the Gigabyte Aorus GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 Motherboard

Let's consider the Gigabyte Aorus GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 which is not the highest, but not just the average level one in the line of gaming motherboards from the popular manufacturer. The equipment of younger models most often means the availability of bonus software for the network and audio subsystem, that is interesting hardware ideas are not always implemented in that segment. The considered GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 is included in a special Aorus product line. The sound system here is not currently traditional Realtek ALC1220, but the hardware and software complex from Creative. The power system also looks powerful; there is a massive radiator as well and this fact gives hope for successful overclocking.

Features



Chipset: Intel Z270
Processor socket: Socket 1151
Processors: Core i7, Core i5, Core i3, Pentium, Celeron (Skylake-S, Kaby Lake-S)
RAM: 4 DIMM DDR4 SDRAM 2133/2400/2666 * / 2800 * / 3000 * / 3200 * / 3300 * / 3333 * / 3400 * / 3466 * / 3600 * / 3666 * / 3733 * / 3800 * / 3866 * / 4000 * / 4133 * (OC), a maximum of 64 GB
PCI-E slots: 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 + x0, x8 + x8)
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x4)
3 x PCI Express 3.0 x1
M.2: 1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4 (Key M, 2242/2260/2280/22110)
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4 (Key M, 2242/2260/2280)
Built-in video core (in the processor): Intel HD 510/530/610/630
Video sockets: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4
Number of plug-in fans: 8x 4pin
PS/2 ports: 1 (keyboard/mouse)
USB ports: 2 x 3.1 Gen2 (2 connectors on the rear panel (A and C), Intel JHL6540)
5 x 3.1 Gen1 (5 connectors on the rear panel, Z270)
4 x 3.1 Gen1 (no rear connectors, Realtek RTS5411)
4 x 2.0 (no rear connectors, Z270)
Serial ATA: 6 x SATA 6 Gb / s (Z270)
RAID: 0, 1, 5, 10 (SATA, Z270)
Built-in sound: Codec — Creative Sound Blaster Recon3Di (2 / 5.1, HDA)
Op Amp — Texas Instruments OPA2134
S/PDIF: optical (output)
Networking: Intel I219V (Gigabit Ethernet)
Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2500 (Gigabit Ethernet)
COM:TPM: +
UEFI: AMI UEFI
Form factor: ATX
Dimensions, mm: 305 x 244
Additional features: 3 SATA-E sockets, a U.2 port, a Thunderbolt header, 8 pairs of system voltage points; POST indicator, hardware switches: audio amplifier operating mode for headphone output (2.5x/6x) and UEFI DualBIOS operation mode, collet DIP-cot with pre-installed OPA2134 opamp, dedicated USB (DAC-UP2) for external DAC, support of AMD 3-Way CrossFireX and NVIDIA 2-Way SLI.

Packing and Equipment


There are no handles for carrying the box, although it is a little more than of usual size. Almost the whole surface is occupied by the Aorus series logo, the details about the product are on the back side.

The delivery kit includes is as follows:

  • • user's guide, in which UEFI modes are illustrated and described in detail (in English) and a brief overview of the proprietary software features is made;
  • • multilingual quick installation instructions;
  • • disk with drivers and firmware;
  • • holster for convenient connection of G-Connector case sockets;
  • • sticker with the Aorus brand logo;
  • • set of 14 labels for marking SATA cables;
  • • 2 plastic plugs for video outputs on the rear panel;
  • • pair of branded velcro ties that can be used for cable management in the enclosure;
  • • double hard bridge for SLI organization;
  • • 5-wire extension for connecting LED strip;
  • • 4 SATA 6Gb/s cables, 2 of which have a L-shaped connector at one end;
  • • anodized case plug with a single-colored symbol for all nests; its reverse side is covered with a sound-absorbing material;
  • • 2 external thermocouples (with drop-shaped compound at the end).

Outlook


All the elements are managed to be placed on a standard ATX board. There are nine points for fixing it in the case. Buttons, switches and indicators are in abundance located in a variety of places.

The radiator installed on the chipset is huge. The logo of the series is metalized. Perhaps, this unit is the only one on the board, devoid of illumination.

The wired drives have three SATA-E outputs or six conventional ones, all of them are of the longitudinal type. There is a high-speed U.2 as well.

The M.2 with an extended landing seat is located under the socket, and at the bottom edge of the board an ordinary one is placed where the products of standard size up to 2,280 can be installed.

Classical second generation USB ports are realized only by a pair of blocks for case cables. Another, more modern, pair is based on the Realtek RTS5411 hub capabilities. The chips with the firmware are two; they are soldered in the middle of the board. Each of them has an orange LED, and one can understand which of them is working at the current time without any problems.

The two upper reinforced PCI-E x16s can share sixteen processor lines, the lower slot works with PCH (in the maximum available x4 mode), as well as three usual PCI-E x1.

For the audio subsystem the RGB-type backlight is placed on the front side so that it can highlight the visor intricately. Underneath it one can see a quad-core sound processor from Creative, a collet with a pre-installed OpAmp, and at the very edge of the board there is a gain switch.

Continuing the theme of backlighting and reinforcement, one should pay attention to the DRAM slots, they are framed by a screen and the plastic light guides with the LEDs at their edges are placed between them.

Along the right edge a place is taken for a separate, the largest optical light guide, all its indicators are of the RGB type.

The board operational unit is placed in its upper right corner. There are five buttons here: system start, reset (white), a pair with ready-made work profiles and switching firmware. There are eight pairs of system voltages presented here as well.

One can change the mode of firmware microcircuits with the help of a pair of two-position switches. Working in such a mode, if a failure occurs in the established settings, the board can go into a cyclic restart, just at that moment the use of the button located at the upper right corner helps.

The equipment initialization indicators are soldered at the bottom. There is a traditional two-segment LED POST-indicator and a simplified complex of four units. All of them are red.

Above the sixth system cooler block there is a pair of contacts for connecting one of the branded thermocouples, the second one is connected near the ATX power socket. Reset, if necessary, will have to be done by closing the contact group which is located to the left of THB_C.

In addition to the power elements, several LEDs are soldered at the socket. There is plenty of space for conducting painless installation of cooling structures.

If not taking into account the LEDs, the construction of the power regulator is identical to Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 5. There is an updated seven-channel Intersil Corporation ISL95866 PWM controller with integrated three drives. The four missing ones are implemented by discrete models. The CPU Votlage use four channels with a doubled number of SiRA12DP and SiRA18DP from Vishay Intertechnology for stabilization. Three channels are provided for the needs of the graphic subsystem.

The heat pipe connecting a pair of radiators is placed far from the base, but such a cooling solution is quite enough for a full-fledged work. There are no traces of saving on the thermal padding, a reliable clamp is provided by the screw fastening.

The rear panel looks rather modest for such a high-positioned product. There are two video outputs and five audio ports here. All seven USB ports are of the third generation. The red one and the symmetric to it one are of the latest version (3.1 Gen2).

UEFI Features


Easy Mode will provide information about the components used, enabling the activation of the XMP profile for DRAM.

Adjustment of system coolers is facilitated by a separate mode named Smart Fan 5. The sensor in the VRM area should be separately noted. Each temperature variable can be used as a reference one to form a separate scenario for one or more fans.

All the blocks support automatic detection of the connected device type (it occurs during the POST stage). Both four- and three-wire models can be successfully slowed down.

The structure of the extended menu is identical for all the manufacturer’s motherboards including the representatives of the Aorus series. The first section is M.I.T. It is intended for carrying out all the overclocking actions. There is a number of ready profiles for different processor types (with a free multiplier).

The internal monitoring implementation makes it possible to track the indications of a multitude of voltage value.

The initialization phase of the equipment is medium in duration; one can test the Fast Boot mode to speed up this procedure.

Basic adjustment of the illumination system is available directly in UEFI (one can select a glow shade and apply one of the proposed effects). For three pairs of USB 3.0 sockets, the voltage drop is compensated. The Intel Thunderbolt controller has the menu of its own.

Eight profiles are prepared or the system settings storage.

Proprietary Software


The Gigabyte specialists have presented an extensive utilities set, as well as special software for working with sound.

The software provided is as follows:

Proprietary: APP Center (3D OSD, @BIOS, Ambient LED (RGB Fusion), Auto Green, BIOS Setup, Cloud Station, Color Tempertaure, EasyTune, EZRAID, Fast Boot, Game Boost, On / Off Charge, Platform Power Management, Smart Backup, Smart Keyboard, Smart Time Lock, System Information Viewer, V-Tuner, USB Blocker, USB DAC-UP 2);
Sound: Creative Sound Blaster Pro Studio;
Network: TriDef SmartCam (license for 90 days), XSplit Gamecaster + Broadcaster (premium license for 14 days);
Additional: Aorus CPU-Z, Intel Extreme Tuning Utility, Intel Software Guard Extensions Platform

Each of the components is located in a unified APP Center. This shell keeps track of both its own updates and the updates for other programs and even the drives. The installation is held in a visible mode, so one can always cancel the already planned measures.
The EasyTune profiles are equivalent those activated by buttons and do not need even Windows boot to work and they can be turned off any time as well.

System Information Viewer, first of all, is necessary for thoughtful adjustment of the PC cooling system; all the devices can be calibrated. The interface is clear and the new mode of coolers operation is easily accessible at fixed speeds (although it can be written by the user).

RGB Fusion is noticeably different in its features from the simpler Ambient LED. There are several pages with ready-made effects for backlighting.
For the sound configuration the current version of the complex with drivers and firmware from Creative is freely available on the product web-page (GA-Z270X-Gaming 7).

Sound Blaster Pro Studio is not a novelty; this product comes with a number of boards as additional software. The product is primarily designed to modify the sound picture. However, even without its use it will be difficult not to distinguish the sound of this board from any other one. The sound power reserve here is stunning, the sound is very lively and fast, the accents are well placed, the details and various nuances in the records are well-audible.

The Killer Control Center configurator captures the presence of two network adapters, but it will be able to prioritize applications that request access to the Internet only if it works with the E2500.

Conclusion


Gigabyte Aorus GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 is definitely a gaming product, its power subsystem is forceful, it has a wide margin of safety and allows overclocking the processors. LLC profiles really do work even if their number is quite small. There are difficulties with overclocking the memory, but the mechanisms that work in automatic mode are very supportive to beginners.

The product has an undeniable advantage on the background of other boards – a special sound subsystem. It is impossible not hear the difference with the ordinary representatives of Realtek. The image of the gaming board is also formed by two network adapters, including the Killer. Of course, the backlighting is also available proposing various combinations of its illuminations scenarios.

The fan control system – Smart Fan 5 should be mentioned separately. A lot of sensors on the board, connection of two remote ones (available in the kit), as well as automatic detection of the devices type, the number of which can reach eight, allows the PC cooling system to be adjusted as flexibly and accurately as possible with the ideas conceived.

In domestic retail the prices for similar products have never been attractive, but because of this fact the motherboard does not get worse. For modders, gamers and music or film fans, as well as for people just looking for a reliable board – for all of them the GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 model can be a suitable candidate for purchase.
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  • 20 June 2017, 17:35
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