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May
19
2014

GIGABYTE Z97X Gaming 5 Motherboard Overview

GIGABYTE Z97X Gaming 5 Motherboard Overview

Introduction

Supporting the new Intel Z97 chipset, the GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-Gaming 5 motherboard is designed to please gamers with tons of features. Although it is not a top-of-line board like the OC Force series, it has all the new features found in the Z97 chipset such as M.2, SATA Express and support for the upcoming Broadwell series of chips.

Features

Like many of the other boards by other manufacturers, GIGABYTEís gaming line has adopted a red and black theme and has thrown away the green color scheme of the last generation. Some argue that this color scheme is overplayed but we believe that it is still one of the better options out there. Another thing that sticks out that is eye logo on the chipset cooler. Donít worry; this one doesnít stare into your soul.

One thing we really like about the board is the decision to go with a matte-black PCB. Considering the majority of cases now feature painted interiors, itís nice to see that motherboard manufacturers have finally began to move on from brown PCBs. There are a total of 3 PCIE x16 lanes which are capable of handling 3-way CrossFire and 2-way SLI.

The AMP-UP audio technology is something that GIGABYTE has brought on from its previous generation of motherboards. The implementation does a pretty good job of isolating the audio components from the rest of the PCB to help with interference. To control the audio, GIGABYTE opted to use the Realtek ALC1150 chip with a built-in rear audio amplifier to power high-end headphones.

With the inclusion of M.2 support in the Z97 chipset, you can now install more affordable PCIe SSDs for insane transfer speeds. Instead of being limited by the SATA protocol, you can now have transfer speeds of up to 1,000 Mb/s. SATA Express is also a new technology that is aiming to replace the old SATA standard. Although other manufacturers arenít including the port on their ďvalueĒ boards, itís good to see that even gamerís will be able to enjoy all of the latest technologies without having to pony up a ton of cash.

As far as internet connectivity goes, GIGABYTE has opted to go with the Killer E2200 controller as opposed to the Intel solution like ASUS. According to GIGABYTE, the Killer solution offers a 50% improvement in gaming traffic and a 300% increase in video traffic over the standard ethernet solution.

On the rear I/O, youíll find a PS2 mouse and keyboard port, VGA, DVI and HDMI out as well as four USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2 ports. There is also the Killer Ethernet port and audio out jacks that are gold plated for better durability and connectivity.

Conclusion

In conclusion, itís great to see more motherboards that are affordable and offer a variety of options for gamers. The GIGABYTE Z97X Gaming 5 motherboard is perfect for gamerís who want to experience the new features of the Z97 chipset and donít want to give up certain things like improved audio and network connectivity.

If youíre in the market for a new motherboard for the Z97 chipset and donít want to end up spending too much, you should definitely give the GIGABYTE Z97X Gaming 5 motherboard a look.

What are your thoughts on the GIGABYTE Z97X Gaming 5 motherboard? Let us know in the comments below!

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