Gigabyte Z370P D3 in the test: The cheapest ATX motherboard for Intel Coffee Lake

Gigabyte Z370P D3 im Test: Das günstigste ATX-Mainboard für Intel Coffee Lake

The Gigabyte Z370P D3 is the cheapest ATX motherboard for Intel's Coffee Lake and proves in the test: More is not necessary in many cases. Because it keeps the Core i7-8700K under constant load in Turbo mode, it delivers the same performance as expensive boards. Overclocking also works. There is a lack of RGB LEDs and equipment.

Intel Coffee Lake and the maximum possible turbo

Mainboards with a Z370 chipset for Intel's current Coffee Lake processors are available in the price range from less than 100 to almost 500 euros. But what exactly are the differences? Optics, equipment and scope of delivery are obvious. But does the same processor ultimately deliver less power under load when it sits on a cheap board?

Inexpensive motherboard = full performance?

The topic came back on the agenda with the test of the Medion Erazer X67015 with Core i7-8700 and GeForce GTX 1070 in December. Because in the computer, a Core i7-8700 on the Z370 mainboard from the OEM delivered a significantly lower performance than in the test of BitcoinMinersHashrate on an expensive end customer board. The reason: the CPU was quickly shut down to 65 watts of power under load, which is why the maximum permitted clock speeds in Turbo were no longer maintained. The result was an approximately 15 percent lower performance in certain scenarios. Desktop mainboards for end customers, on the other hand, always run the processor at the maximum clock speeds permitted by Intel, even if they consume significantly more power. Neither does not violate Intel's specifications or the specification "65 watts TDP".

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Medion told BitcoinMinersHashrate: “According to the Intel Spec, the CPU has a TDP of 65 watts. Our mainboard also provides this performance. In fact, there are some Z370 chipset gaming motherboards that can provide higher TDP performance. The CPU will then achieve higher clock rates, but will also operate outside of its specification.“Intel saw no mistake in this approach. As with the current definition, the TDP is “the average power consumption (in watts) that the processor derives when operating on base frequency when all cores are active in a highly complex workload defined by Intel"Turbo is out of the question. A 65-watt TDP processor must never be allowed to consume more than 65 watts, but it is also not forbidden.

What was the price of your last motherboard?

As a result, there are systems in which the manufacturer does not allow the CPU to consume as much power as is the case in others. And the community raised the question of whether this also applies to inexpensive circuit boards for end customers. After all, costs should be reduced because higher-quality components can be saved.

Intel Core i5-8400 with 86 watts power consumption at 65 watts TDP

That was the first test of the Gigabyte Z370P D3 for less than 100 euros. With an Intel Core i5-8400 from retail, the comparison to the Gigabyte Aorus Z370 Ultra Gaming with current BIOS was drawn for just under 150 euros. The more expensive model showed the familiar behavior: shortly after starting the maximum possible load with Prime95 in the AVX test, it shows a CPU package power of up to 86 watts at the maximum 6-core turbo clock of 3 specified by Intel , 8 GHz. This value is supported by looking at the power consumption of the overall system, which increases from 37 to 132 watts – a delta of 95 watts. The clock speed of the CPU is stable for all six cores, even when the fan is briefly deactivated and the 100-degree mark is reached. And the cheap Gigabyte Z370P D3 behaves the same way.

The Gigabyte Z370P D3 without "Aorus" branding (Image: Gigabyte)

This also applies to the use of a Core i7-8700K. The power consumption is significantly higher, the package power is already managed at over 120 watts. But even with Prime95 in the AVX test, the turbo clock is kept for all 12 threads of 4.3 GHz – even on the inexpensive mainboard.

Intel Core i5-8400 under maximum load: Always with full turbo "class =" border-image
Intel Core i5-8400 under maximum load: Always with full turbo
Intel Core i7-8700K under maximum load: Always with full turbo "class =" border-image
Intel Core i7-8700K under maximum load: Always with full turbo

First conclusion: The results coincide with the experience of the editorial team. Desktop mainboards for end customers generally always operate CPUs at the maximum Turbo clock rates approved by Intel. The power consumption rises significantly above what the TDP suggests. But that now only says something about the consumption at basic clock rates.

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However, OEM manufacturers who optimize a system in total and sell it with a guarantee often put chains on the CPU. That lowers the performance, but also the power consumption. And because Intel only ever speaks of maximum, but not guaranteed, turbo clock speeds and "the TDP" is not touched, this also complies with the rules. The editorial team will shortly publish another article on the fact that it not only affects systems from OEMs such as Medion, but also player-oriented high-end gaming systems.

The cheapest Gigabyte Z370P D3 at a glance

The Gigabyte Z370P D3 costs just under 90 euros at many online retailers, making it the affordable ATX mainboard for Intel's six-core processors. Only the Gigabyte Z370M DS3H in Micro-ATX format is 3 euros cheaper.

The Gigabyte Z370P D3 is also based on the Z370 chipset, the only one for Coffee Lake at the end of March. The chipsets B360 and H310 are not expected until the beginning of April, with which prices will fall even further – but they do not offer the same functions.

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Hardly any dazzle and only once M.2 "class =" border-image
Hardly any dazzle and only once M.2

There is also no need for a CPU fan connection
There is also no need for a CPU fan connection

Bare PCB carries few additional chips "class =" border-image
Bare PCB carries few additional chips

The main differences from the Gigabyte Z370P D3 to the comparison model Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming lie in some secondary features, the basis is exactly the same: Both can address all current Coffee Lake processors, and they can also handle up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory with clock speeds of 4,000 Control MHz and more.

Differences between Gigabyte Z370P D3 and Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming
Gigabyte Z370P D3 "class =" border-image
Gigabyte Z370P D3 (Image: Gigabyte)
Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming "class =" border-image
Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming (Image: Gigabyte)

Is one of the differences crucial to buying? The customer has to ask himself this question. They are not for a classic home desktop PC, because Coffee Lake CPUs are paired with a discrete graphics card – the PCIe slots are identical except for the lane split. One M.2 slot is more than sufficient for a very fast SSD, and there are also six SATA ports on both platforms for larger mass storage devices. In addition, the differences apart from those in the power supply, which could become important during overclocking, are only very small or optical in nature: A panel over the I / O ports and comprehensive RGB LED lighting are only available in ultra gaming , At the end of the day, there is a big gap in the price: a difference of 57 euros corresponds to an additional charge of over 60 percent.

The Z370P D3 above, the Z370 Gaming Ultra below
The Z370P D3 above, the Z370 Gaming Ultra below

On the next page: These clock rates are provided by the (OC) mainboard