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GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 3 Motherboard Review

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Voltage Regulation

Since it is a gaming-oriented model we aren’t surprised that the Z170X-Gaming 3 does not have any onboard voltage measurement points that we usually rely on in order to accurately measure the various system voltages. As a result, in this abbreviated overview, we utilized the AIDA64 System Stability Test to put a very substantial load on the system while also monitoring the stability of the all-important CPU vCore line. This testing was achieved with a 90 minute run, and in order to increase the strain on the motherboard’s voltage regulation components we overclocked our Core i7-6700K to 4.5Ghz at 1.30V (in the BIOS). Although voltage droop is part Intel’s specifications, we set the Load-Line Calibration (LLC) setting to High in order to see if this motherboard had what it takes to maintain a rock steady vCore line.

Although the above only represents an approximately 15 minute portion of the 90 minute run, we watched attentively throughout and there were never any dips or spikes. The vCore line was straight as an arrow during the whole test and it never deviated from 1.308V.

We also kept an eye on the other system voltages using the Hardware Monitor widget of the System Information Viewer (SIW), GIGABYTE’s new voltage monitoring application, and did not notice any great variations there either. What you set in the bios appears to be exactly what the board put outs, and it seems to be able to maintain those voltages even when under heavy load. That is exactly what we want from a motherboard.

Power Consumption

For this section, every energy saving feature was enabled in the BIOS and the Windows power plan was changed from High Performance to Balanced. For our idle test, we let the system idle for 15 minutes and measured the peak wattage through our UPM EM100 power meter. For our CPU load test, we ran Prime 95 In-place large FFTs on all available threads, measuring the peak wattage via the UPM EM100 power meter. For our overall system load test, we ran Prime 95 on all available threads while simultaneously loading the GPU with 3DMark Vantage – Test 6 Perlin Noise.

The stock power consumption numbers look great, they are a little lower than the average from similarly configured motherboards from other manufacturers. We aren’t using any of the numerous power saving software options that GIGABYTE offers, so there’s definitely room for improvement if that’s of interest to you. Obviously, once you start overclocking and pumping extra voltage into the processor the power consumption starts climbing, but these numbers are exact inline what we would expect given the frequencies and voltages involved. Overall, everything looks good here.

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