Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 Motherboard Review

The Intro:

For years I had been an Asus guy. Their splashy, high end Motherboards such as the Maximus “ROG” and Sabertooth “TUF” boards, had the looks and features to garner my attention. Unfortunately, after some time. these specialty Motherboards started to come at a price. With rumors of many Asus boards now being built by ECS (and other ODM builders), plus the large number of high end motherboards being DOA, warranteed and/or refurbished, I had began to wonder if they were the right choice.

Well, a few years back, I reviewed the first of a series of Gigabyte Intel Z87 based motherboards, The Z87X-UD4H here on The Mod Zoo. Gigabyte was definitely heading towards the high end direction with these boards. I was very pleased with Gigabyte’s build quality, and feature rich Motherboards, that had the looks to match. This ultra durable series of Motherboards carried a model for every price point and every performance level. Plus the lack of DOA returns and refurbished boards in the market, definitly made me feel more secure!

Now, fast forward to today. Gigabyte has spread their choices to a Dizzying, Three full series of motherboards.

  • The “Ultra Durable Series” is designed to give you an unquestionably solid, problem free system.
  • The “Overclocking Series” has improved stability, to squeeze every MHz out of your system possible.
  • Finally, the “G1 Gaming Series” adds upgraded audio and killer networking, for your gaming enjoyment.

For those of you keeping count. With Twelve (12) Ultra Durable, Three (3) Overclocking and Ten (10) G1 Gaming. That makes Twenty-Five (25) different Gigabyte Intel Z97 based motherboard offerings (not to mention “Black Editions”)!

Doesn’t that make you head spin?

Motherboard Features and Specifications from the Gigabyte Website.

Features:

  • Supports 4th and 5th Generation Intel® Core™ processors
  • Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi MB3 gaming audio suite
  • Audio Noise Guard with LED path lighting
  • Realtek ALC1150 115dB SNR HD Audio with Built-in rear audio amplifier
  • Killer™ E2200 gaming networking platform
  • Extreme multi graphics support
  • SATA Express support for 10 Gb/s data transfer
  • M.2 for SSDs drives with up to 10 Gb/s data transfer
  • Long lifespan Durable Solid caps
  • APP Center including EasyTune™ and Cloud Station™ utilities
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™

Specifications:

CPU

  • Intel® Core™ i7 processors
  • Intel® Core™ i5 processors
  • Intel® Core™ i3 processors
  • Intel® Pentium® processors
  • Intel® Celeron® processors
  • in the LGA1150 package

Chipset

  • Intel® Z97 Express Chipset

Memory

  • 4 x DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
  • Support for DDR3 3200/3100/3000/2933/2800/2666/2600/2500/2400/2200/2133/2000/1866/1800(OC) MHz memory modules
  • Support for DDR3 1600/1333 MHz memory modules
  • Support for non-ECC memory modules
  • Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules

Onboard Graphics Integrated Graphics Processor:

  • 1 x D-Sub port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60Hz
  • 1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60Hz
  • 1 x HDMI 1.4a port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@24Hz or 2560×1600@60Hz
  • Support for up to 3 displays at the same time
  • Maximum shared memory of 512MB

Audio

  • Realtek® ALC1150 codec
  • Support for Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3
  • High Definition Audio
  • 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  • Support for S/PDIF Out

LAN

  • Qualcomm® Atheros Killer E2201 LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)

Expansion Slots

  • 1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
  • 1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
  • 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
  • 3 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, running at x1 (PCIEX1)
  • 1 x PCI slot

Multi-Graphics Technology

  • Support for 3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire™
  • Support for 2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology

Storage Interface Chipset:

  • 1 x M.2 PCIe connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA & PCIe SSD support)
  • 1 x SATA Express connector
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5)

USB Chipset:

  • 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (4 ports on back panel, 2 ports through internal USB header)
  • 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports on back panel, 4 ports through internal USB headers)

Internal I/O Connectors

  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x M.2 PCIe connector
  • 1 x SATA Express connector
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
  • 3 x system fan headers
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  • 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x serial port header
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  • 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header

Back Panel Connectors

  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  • 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 1 x D-Sub port
  • 1 x DVI-D port
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 1 x RJ-45 port
  • 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)

I/O Controller

  • iTE® I/O Controller Chip

H/W Monitoring

  • System voltage detection
  • CPU/System/Chipset temperature detection
  • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed detection
  • CPU/System overheating warning
  • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan fail warning
  • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed control

BIOS

  • 2 x 64 Mbit flash
  • Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
  • Support for DualBIOS™
  • PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0

Unique Features

  • Support for Q-Flash
  • Support for Smart Switch
  • Support for Xpress Install
  • Support for APP Center

App Center includes:

  • @BIOS
  • EasyTune
  • EZ Setup
  • Fast Boot
  • Game Controller
  • ON/OFF Charge
  • Smart TimeLock
  • Smart Recovery 2
  • System Information Viewer
  • USB Blocker

Bundle Software

  • Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
  • Intel® Rapid Start Technology
  • Intel® Smart Connect Technology
  • Intel® Smart Response Technology

Operating System

  • Support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1

Form Factor

  • ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 22.5cm

About PCPackRat

3 thoughts on “Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 Motherboard Review

  1. What, no “Modability” category on this one? lol

    Nice thorough review, and I must say I quite like a lot about this board.

    But… WHY oh WHY are there so many non-standard sized motherboards out there recently… do not like. We call them “Standards” for a reason!

  2. Modability:
    Peel 14 surface mounted LEDs off the back and mount 12 of them around the perimeter of the Mobo and two behind the G1 Gaming “Eye” Chipset Cooler. Done :^)

    I forgot to mention……
    For people who like little Mobos, The Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5 has all the same features strapped to a mATX Mobo for the same money!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.