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Gigabyte Z170X-SOC Force Review


zeropluszero
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The latest Intel 14nm generation 'Skylake' CPUs are now released, and coming with it, LGA1151 and Z170 PCH.

Gigabyte's OC series motherboards started with the X58A-OC, And we've now seen orange-and-black boards for Z77, X79, Z87, Z97, X99, and now at the centre of this review - the Z170X-SOC Force.

The biggest update - DDR4 - is now brought to the enthusiast level, with speeds starting at 2133mhz, and top end 4266mhz kits just starting to be shown by memory manufacturers, DDR4 is here and speeds that were once the top end of DDR3, are now the new mid-line.

 

Without further ado, the Z170X-SOC Force.

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Inside the box you will find:

-User manuals and software disc

-Eight Braided SATA cables

-I/O shield

-4-Way, 3-Way and 2-Way SLI bridges

-2-Way CrossFire bridge

-Voltage measurement cables

-OC Brace

-G Connector adaptor - holds cables for cases in place.

-OC case sticker

 

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Gigabyte's premium overclocking board features four metal-reinforced PCIe Express 16x lanes, assisted by on-board PLX chip to run at 16/8/8/8 with four cards installed.

Storage is covered with three M.2 PCIe x4, three SATA express ports, and eight SATA 3 ports.

USB 3.1 is connected through the USB Type-C connector on the back I/O. The back I/O also features Intel NIC, USB3.0, USB2.0, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, DVI, P/S2 and 8 channel HD audio.

 

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The orange OC APP button connects Gigabyte's new Android/Apple overclocking app, which connects a compatible device via the white USB port (below the NIC port) to the "Gigabyte HW OC" app found in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

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This review is to focus on the overclocking features of the motherboard, and so we'll look at the specifics of its overclocking features.

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Here we see the OC Touch area, controlling the board while it is in its element, spread out, cables everywhere on a filthy desk.

Buttons controlling Power, CPU multipliers, OC Turbo, Tag and Ignition, as well as Reset, CMOS clear, Clear Battery and switches for controlling PCIe lanes, BIOS switching and OC Trigger switch, used to reduce the CPU clockspeed to preserve stability on the bleeding edge of performance.

 

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Powering the LGA1151 CPU socket we have a 22 phase Digital power delivery design and Durablack solid capacitors.

Power delivery is cooled with a combination air/watercooling heatsink.

 

Test setup

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Testing was completed with:

- Gigabyte Z170X-SOC Force

- Intel Core i7 6700K CPU

- Corsair Dominator Platinum 3400 C16 4x4GB kit - Samsung IC

- Corsair AX1200i

- Thermalright TRUE Copper cooler, with Corsair SP120 Performance Edition fans

 

Max clocks I was able to see with this CPU on air in some quick tests, with a bit of RAM clocking, but definitely not maxed out.

Cinebench R11.5 - 12.16 pts at 5Ghz

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XTU 1588 marks at 4.9Ghz

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For some comparison here are the max I've been able to get on the same cooling with my Haswell setup, using the following:

- Gigabyte Z97X-SOC Force LN2

- Intel Core i7 4770K

- Gskill Trident X 2600 C10 2x4GB kit - Samsung IC

- Thermalright TRUE Copper cooler, with Corsair SP120 Performance Edition fans

 

Cinebench R11.5 - 10.60pts at 4.8Ghz

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XTU - 1245 marks at 4.7Ghz

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Compare to the same CPU clocks on Skylake

Cinebench R11.5 - 11.74pts at 4.8Ghz

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XTU - 1532 marks at 4.7Ghz

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Gigabyte have managed another fantastic, full-featured motherboard for the new generation of Intel 'Skylake' CPUs. Bringing full-out overclocking features, Multicard gaming and benchmarking, and the latest in storage.

Amazing features and performance, I cant wait to get my next LN2 delivery!

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Edits:

Using XP

If you would like to use XP, You will need to use this bios and plug your hard drive into one of these two ports

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Once plugged in, simply boot as usual - The ports are already set to IDE

 

To use mouse and keyboard in XP you will need to have either a ps2 keyboard and mouse and use a splitter

and if you would like to use USB for flash drives etc, I recommend a PCIe USB adaptor with an NEC chipset

 

GTL software is also now available for Z170, and works on all platforms

 

Edited by zeropluszero
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