Gigabyte GA-Z170-Gaming K3
On my build post here, I mentioned that I had chosen a budget motherboard. At the time of purchase with the price of this board was £100. But I got it as a bundle with 16gb of DDR4 memory. Many of the premium Z170 boards retail for over £200. This was a place where I had trimmed back on money spent.
MoBO, Memory and i7
At £100 pounds this is a budget board, but I made the decision that I didn’t need to spend more money for features that I wouldn’t use, or fancy features that would be a waste. So lets look at what specs I’ve got.
Even though the board is AMD’s two-way Crossfire compliant the send PCIEX socket is only at x4 and if the third PCIEX1 slots is populated this drops down to x2.
- 4*DDR4 upto 2133mhz Memory Modules.
When installing memory populate slots two and four first then one and three, this will make sure you are using dual channel architecture. The board also supports Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
- Realtek HD audio
On board audio has come along way over the last few years, this might be the first PC where I don’t have a soundblaster card installed. (That is an end of an era right there!) The codec is also supported with a wealth of ports on the I/O shield, six in total consisting of Centre/subwoofer speaker out, rear speaker out, side speaker out, line in, line out, mic in.
- 1x M.2 connector (socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/2210 SATA and PCIe
- 2x SATA Express connectors.
- 6x SATA 6Gb/s Connectors.
- With support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10
Plenty of options for HD and SSD connections, with many SSD’s price’s falling making a system without using noisy HDD’s is certainly an option.
- 6x USB 3.0/2.0 Ports (4 on the I/O board and 2 available by internal USB header)
- upto 4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through internal header
- ASMedia USB 3.1 Controller
- 2xUSB 3.1 Type A ports on Back panel
- DVI-D port at a maximum of 1920×1200@60mhz
- HDMI port at a maximum of 4096×2160@24hz also supports audio
- 1x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Port
- 1x RJ-45 LAN port
The LAN port is supplied by Rivet Networks Killer™ E2201 LAN Chip, as I mentioned in my build log, this is not recognised out of the box in windows. You need to either have a build with a DVD/Blu-ray Drive or have downloaded the drivers from the Gigabyte website before you build with the MoBo. I’d got used to the LAN ports been recognised automatically by windows and came as a shock that I had to install software before I could access the internet. A few years ago I built a budget gaming PC for a friend where the LAN was accesable in the EFI and you could update the BIOS from there, no need to flash the BIOS from a USB. Maybe 5 years ago having a killer network NIC was a thing, I doubt it now. I do think it’s time that PS/2 Legacy support was dropped just like headers for 3.5 inch drives etc…
- 2x 64Mbit Flash
- AMI UEFI BIOS
I have not overclocked my PC so have not used the advanced features in the UEFI, but i’ve browsed through it as i’ve setup the PC. From just observation it looks like it has easy access to all the settings you would need to tweak your overclock.
- CPU_OPT -water cooling option.
This is a good amount of fan headers. Though i’m only using two, the CPU_OPT that powers the two fans on my radiator/resevoir. The other is for an exhaust at the top rear of the case. Once I upgrade my GPU I will add the second case fan. All fans can be monitored within the BIOS and can be configured individually.
The motherboard also has some on-board LED’s for all your required ‘glowy’ effects. My case has no window in it so this feature goes unused.
This is a great board with the features I wanted, hardly any I didn’t (I’m (not) looking at you LED’s.) The price is right at around £100 it might not be the board if you need to get every last point if you are benchmarking. But if you are benchmarking you will be going after a £250 motherboard. But if you want a solid set of features and are not bothered about having all the flashy extra’s this could be the card you want. There is clearance around the CPU for any medium/large CPU cooler giving the oppertunity to overclock your CPU especially with the range of options in the BIOS. I think I made a great choice!
See you on the other side…