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GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 5 Motherboard Review


Author: AkG
Date: December 28, 2015
Product Name: GA-Z170X-Gaming 5
Part Number: GA-Z170X-Gaming 5
Warranty: 3 Years


With the launch of Intel’s Skylake processors, there has been an absolutely massive influx of new motherboards with the Z170 chipset, ranging from budget-friendly to truly expensive. Sifting through the insane number of options and feature combinations of these boards can become a daunting task for any buyer, let alone first-timers. This situation presents a bit of a problem since it fosters confusion and can lead some to buy the wrong motherboard for their needs. Gigabyte is hoping to simplify things a bit with their Z170X Gaming 5; a board that combines pretty much every feature that makes Skylake unique while doing so at an extremely affordable price of $150USD.

While the Gaming 5 may offer something for everyone, Gigabyte’s current Z170 lineup is anything but easy to decipher. Containing 20 different boards across three different product lines (basic, G1 Gaming and SOC Force) along with three different designations (X for ATX, N for ITX and MX to mATX), finding the right mix of elements is anything but easy.

Firmly planted at the center of Gigabyte’s G1 Gaming lineup, the Z170X Gaming 5 is an ATX-sized board that follows closely in the footsteps of the last generation’s gamer-oriented boards but tries to strike into the middle ground. It isn’t at the top of the heap like Z170X-Gaming G1 which is meant for well-heeled enthusiasts who not only want the best, but can afford the best. At the other end of the spectrum is the Gaming 3 which is meant for more budget orientated and entry level gamers.

The GA-Z170X-Gaming 5 ditches the glitz and glamour of the higher end models, discards the plastic fascia of the G1, and replaces a few other minor features the higher priced models offer. On the other hand it still offers dual Ethernet network controllers (including a Killer E2200 NPU), dual x4 capable M.2 ports, dual USB 3.1 ports on the rear IO, and a trio SATA Express ports. It keeps the reinforced PCIe slots that promise to not only make these crucial slots more capable of withstanding the weight of triple slot monster video cards, but also act as EMI shields.

On a more practical point, the Gaming 5 still offers the same EMI shielded Turbo B-Clock which is similar to ASUS ‘ProClock’ in that it allows for downright insane BLKC ratios. Mix in an 11 phase power delivery subsystem, a 3-year warranty, DDR4-3400+ overclocking capabilities and a Realtek ALC1150 sound solution with removable op-amp and this thing starts to look pretty tempting for pretty much anyone.

Naturally, that $150 price will be brought up again and again in this review since that puts the Gaming 5 into contention against products like the ASUS Z170-A and well out of the crosshairs of other so-called “gamer” boards like ROG Maximus VIII Hero. However there is still plenty of competition around this price point in the form of MSI’s Z170A Gaming M5 and ASUS own Z170 PRO Gaming. Will Gigabyte have what it takes to stand out?

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