GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK Intel Z97 Motherboard Review



GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK Motherboard Layout

GIGABYTE is certainly one of the top motherboard manufacturers out there these days, and their G1 Series of motherboards have been running strong for a number of years now. Today I have the chance to get my hands dirty with the latest in the G1 series, the GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK Intel Z97 Motherboard. The Z97X-Gaming motherboard isn’t for the budget minded individual, with a retail price of $379.99 it’s meant for the elitist that wants the best of the best and is planning on running 4-way SLI or 4-Way CrossFireX.

If you hadn’t already guessed it, the GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK is built around the Intel Z97 chipset and LGA1150 socket. This combination lends itself to the latest Intel Haswell processors as well as the soon to come Broadwell processors which are rumored to come out later this year. Quality is always a concern when investing into the components that go into a computer, GIGABYTE has realized this and has stepped up to the plate and has began individually testing their top motherboards. The GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK is part of the GIGABYTE Black Series that is put through rigorous testing for 168 hours (7 days).

This level of testing only comes on a handful of GIGABYTE motherboards; the Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK, Z97X-UD5H-BK, and the Z97X-UD3H-BK. All three of these Black Edition motherboards go through this server level testing and are each certified! In addition to the high level of testing put on each of these motherboards, GIGABYTE has increased the warranty on them. The traditional motherboard from GIGABYTE has a three year warranty on in, the Black Edition motherboards are each backed by a five year warranty!

If you’re familiar with the previous GIGABYTE G1.Killer motherboards, you know that high end audio was a key component to the product stack. GIGABYTE continued that trend on the Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK and is using the Quad Core Creative Sound Core3D audio codec. Coupling the Creative Sound Core3D with the High end audio capacitors, Gaming headphone amplifier, selectable gain boost, and the Audio Noise guard you can bet that GIGABYTE has spent quite a bit of time perfecting the sound on the G1 Gaming motherboard.

The audio components aren’t the only area of the Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK that GIGABYTE has spent time on. GIGABYTE realizes the importance of a quality NIC, so they have given us two to choose from on the G1 Gaming motherboard. One of the NIC’s is an Intel I217-V Gigabit Ethernet controller, while the other is a Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 Gigabit Ethernet controller. Some folks are fans of the Intel controller, some are fans of the Killer NIC’s, now you can have both! While a wired connection is always a plus, it’s not always feasible. If you’re in that predicament, a good wireless connection may be your best bet, GIGABYTE has included an Intel Wireless AC 7260 PCIe card and antenna. This card features the latest wireless protocols for 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac as well as Bluetooth 4.0.

GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK Specifications
  • Support for Intel Core i7 processors/Intel Core i5 processors/ Intel Core i3 processors/Intel Pentium processors/Intel Celeron processors in the LGA1150 package
  • L3 cache varies with CPU
  • Intel Z97 Express Chipset
  • 4 x DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
  • Support for 3200(O.C.) / 3100(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2933(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2600(O.C.) / 2500(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2200(O.C.) / 2133(O.C.) / 2000(O.C.) / 1866(O.C.) / 1800(O.C.) / 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 DVI-I port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60Hz
  • 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@24Hz or 2560×1600@60Hz
  • 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@24Hz or 3840×2160@60Hz
  • Support for up to 3 displays at the same time
  • Maximum shared memory of 512MB
  • Creative Sound Core 3D chip
  • TI Burr Brown OPA2134 operational amplifier
  • Support for Sound Blaster Recon3Di
  • High Definition Audio
  • 2/5.1-channel
  • Support for S/PDIF Out
  • 1 x Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 chip (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN1)
  • 1 x Intel GbE LAN phy (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN2)
Wireless Communication module
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
  • Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0+HS, 2.1+EDR
  • Support for 11ac wireless standard and up to 867 Mbps data rate
Expansion Slots
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1~2)
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1~2)
  • 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
Multi-Graphics Technology
  • Support for 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire/NVIDIA SLI technology
Storage Interface Chipset:

  • 1 x SATA Express connector
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5)
  • Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10 (SATA Express and SATA3 4/5 connectors can only be used one at a time.)

2 x Marvell 88SE9172 chips:

  • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3 6~9)
  • Support for RAID 0 and RAID 1
USB Chipset:

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

Chipset + Renesas uPD720210 USB 3.0 Hub:

  • 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel
Internal I/O Connectors
  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x PCIe power connector
  • 1 x SATA Express connector
  • 10 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
  • 5 x system fan headers
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
  • 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  • 1 x power button
  • 1 x reset button
  • 1 x Clear CMOS button
  • 2 x audio gain control switches
  • 8 x onboard voltage measurement points
  • 2 x BIOS switches
Back Panel Connectors
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 1 x DVI-I port
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 2 x RJ-45 ports
  • 5 x audio jacks
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
  • 2 x 128 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 APP Center
  • @BIOS
  • EasyTune
  • EZ Setup
  • Fast Boot
  • Game Controller
  • Cloud Station
  • ON/OFF Charge
  • Smart TimeLock
  • Smart Recovery 2
  • System Information Viewer
  • USB Blocker
  • Support for Q-Flash
  • Support for Smart Switch
  • Support for Xpress Install
Bundle Software
  • Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
  • Intel Rapid Start Technology
  • Intel Smart Connect Technology
  • Intel Smart Response Technology
Operating System
  • Support for Windows 8.1/8/7
Form Factor
  • ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

Now that the specifications of the GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK have been successfully memorized, we can take a look at the retail packaging and layout of the motherboard over the next couple of pages before we get the performance!