We recently reviewed one of Gigabyte’s Black Edition motherboards – the GA-Z97X-UD5H-BK. Today, we are back with the review of yet another Black Edition motherboard from Gigabyte – the Z97X-Gaming G1 motherboard. The G1 Series of motherboards from Gigabyte have been one of the strongest running series of gaming motherboard for many years now.
With a price tag of $380, the Z97X-Gaming G1 Black Edition motherboard is really not for the budget conscious. It is for those who seek the best of components for their gaming experience and would like to run either a 4-way SLI or a 4-Way CrossFireX. This one supports both 4th and 5th generation Intel processors, comes packed with ultra durable components, and undergoes an incredible 168 hour durability test before they are certified to be shipped to customers.
The Z97X-Gaming G1 Black Edition motherboard also comes with a wide range of audio features, including some cool gold plated ports, Creative Sound audio processor, high-end capacitors, and an isolated audio circuit. The motherboard also features Killer E2200 and Intel Gaming networking controllers, 802.11ac WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0 ports.
As for storage, the motherboard is equipped with SATA Express support that allows you to use next generation SSD drives with data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gb/s. In addition, as mentioned earlier, the motherboard also supports 4-way graphics cards, and comes with Dual BIOS especially for overclocking enthusiasts.
The Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 Black Edition motherboard is the company’s flagship in ther gaming lineup. This statement can be confirmed by the fact that the motherboard comes with support for custom water cooling systems using water cooling tubes to directly cool the VRM and MOSFETs beneath the copper based heatsink.
The Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming G1 Black Edition motherboard also comes with four DDR3 DIMM slots that support higher memory clock speeds. There’s also a power button, a Q code LED display and some switches for CMOS. There are also voltage points which will allow you to directly monitor the motherboard’s temperature, voltage and other status of the board, located right beside the CMOS switch.
Inside the box, the motherboard comes with a certificate letting you know that the GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 Black Edition motherboard has passed a 7 day rigorous test for stability and performance, which is signed by Dr. Kevin Meng, the General Manager and Manufacturing Business Unit Vice President at Gigabyte.
In addition, Gigabyte has also bundled a range of accessories in addition to the usual manuals and driver disc, such as a WiFi card, 3 pairs of SATA III 6Gbps cables, 3-Way SLI bridge, antenna, 4-Way SLI bridge, CrossFire bridge, 2-Way SLI bridge, case badges, I/O shield, and a 3.5-inch USB 3.0 front panel adapter.
In order to gauge the real world performance of the Gigabyte Z97-X Gaming G1 Black Edition Motherboard, we ran a set of benchmarks such as PCMark, Cinebench, AIDA 64, Sandra, 3DMark, and Crysis 3, which measured the performance of system, graphics, processor, rendering, compression, and word processing. All tests were run thrice, and an average of the scores were taken into consideration as a final output.
The specs of the test system included Intel Core i7-4770K processor, Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 Black Edition motherboard, 2x8GB Corsair memory module, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 graphics card, ADATA SX900 256GB SSD, and Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit operating system.
Gigabyte’s UEFI Dual BIOS provides all the settings needed to get the i7-4770k processor to a stable 4.5-GHz. The XMP profile was also loaded for the memory, bringing it up to the proper speed. The OC settings are all organized under the frequency Settings Tab and options are available to set memory timings, voltage controls, and CPU clock speeds.
When it comes to performance, the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 Black Edition motherboard offers almost the same performance as other Z97 motherboards. What however separates it from the rest of the crowd is build quality and attention to detail. Gigabyte uses high end PCB, transistors, capacitors, and other components to make the Z97X-Gaming G1 Black Edition motherboard. It also puts it through a one-week stress test to ensure quality and performance.
Also, the motherboard comes with a 5 year warranty if you should ever run into any issues with your motherboard down the road. In addition, the Z97X-Gaming G1 Black Edition motherboard supports either NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossFireX with up to four discrete graphics cards. If you are on the market for a high-end gaming motherboard that budles good build quality, excellent design, good performance and boatloads of features, the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 Black Edition motherboard should be on your shortlist.
Price: $380 Approx.