Test – Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 WIFI-BK: Review| Specs | Price | CPU Performance| Hashrate| Setup| Config | Advantage (Pros) and Disadvantages (Cons) and other important features that will help you make better decision.
We continue the tests of Gigabyte motherboards after the very good H97 G1 Sniper H6 I will tackle a more piece that is the Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK! Under this barbaric name is a motherboard with socket 1150, Z97 chipset studied for “gaming” with Wifi, the “BK” corresponds to the “Black Edition” series of the brand which ensures increased reliability thanks to 168 hours of rigorous testing. carried out just before the product is shipped. Offered at around 350 € we can say that we are here in the very high end, let’s see if it is worth its price!
Specification: Hashrate – Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi Black Edition
|Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi Black Edition|
|Format||ATX (30,5 cm x 24,4 cm)|
|CPU||Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7
|Chipset||Intel Z97 Express|
|Memory||4 x DDR3 1600 Mhz “Dual Channel” (3200 Mhz en O.C)
Maximum de 32Go
|Slots d’extensions||2x PCIe 16X (works in 16X)
2x PCIe 16X (works in 8X)
3x PCIe 1X
|Audio Chipset||Creative® Sound Core 3D
TI Burr Brown® OPA2134 operational amplifier
|Network||1 x Qualcomm® Atheros Killer E2201 (10/100/1000 Mbit)
1 x Intel® GbE LAN
|Wireless network||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0+HS, 2.1+EDR
|Number of connectors for fans||7|
|Storage||Intel Z97: 1 x Sata Express
6 x SATA 6Gb/s
Support RAID 0 / 1 / 5 / 10 2 x Marvell® 88SE9172: 4 x SATA 6Gb/s
Support RAID 0 / 1
6 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0 Internal connectors:
2 x USB 3.0
6 x USB 2.0
|Video outputs||1 x DVI-I (1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz)
1 x HDMI (4096×2160@24Hz ou 2560×1600@60Hz)
1 x DisplayPort (4096×2160@24Hz ou 3840×2160@60Hz)
As we can see we are in the presence of a motherboard really packed with features! The format is a classic ATX, it is of course compatible with all current processors in socket 1150 and DDR3 memory can be overclocked up to 3200Mhz (XMP support with a maximum of 32GB). The number of PCIe ports is more than sufficient with 4 x PCIe 16x compatible with Crossfire technologies from AMD and SLI from nVidia, it will be possible to install 2, 3 or even 4 graphics cards (16x / 16x for 2 and 8x / 8x / 8x / 8x for the rest) which should logically be enough for everyone!
The Z97X Gaming G1 Wifi-BK is not left out in terms of integrated components with a sound part isolated from the rest of the motherboard driven by a high-end Creative Sound Core 3D chipset, high-end dedicated capacitors as well as a Texas Instrument Burr Brown® OPA2134 amplifier which should eliminate the need for a high-end third-party sound card.
At the network level there again we have what it takes, an Atheros Killer chipset (supposed to reduce the ping and everything, which is in fact only a prioritization of the applications) and an Intel chipset, both are of course Gigabit compatible. Wireless is no exception and the motherboard offers WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac (up to 867Mb / s) and Bluetooth 4.0. The network part, whether wired or wireless, is therefore more than complete!
Regarding the storage there again there is what is needed, 6 Sata 6Gb / s ports managed by the Z97 chipset (with Sata Express compatibility) and 4 other Sata 6Gb / s ports managed by 2 Marvell 88SE9172 chipsets, a number more than more than enough for everyone!
A quick word on the use of the term Black Edition, in fact each product stamped in this way at Gigabyte is subjected to rigorous tests (at the level of a server product) for a period of 168 hours to ensure of its proper functioning, moreover an offer exists in order to be able to exchange its Black Edition card with a more recent one (see below).
Offered at a price of around 355 € and guaranteed for 5 years, we are clearly not in the performance / price category here and the card will above all be aimed at people with specific needs!
Recently Gigabyte has offered a service that is unusual to say the least, in fact for the purchase of a Black Edition motherboard (for the moment only 3 models compatible with the offer, the GA-Z97X-G1 Gaming WIFI-BK, GA -Z97X-UD5H-BK, GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK) and once registered within 4 weeks on the dedicated site (here) it will be possible to benefit from an extended warranty of 2 years (3 years basic) but especially to take advantage during the first 3 years of an exchange against a more recent motherboard (even of another socket) that it is a black edition or a more “classic” motherboard. Of course, to take advantage of the offer, the returned motherboard must be perfectly functional!
I find the initiative excellent and will allow people to be able to change their architecture without having to absolutely buy a motherboard, seeing the unfortunate tendency of Intel to change sockets very quickly, this offer is really a plus!
The box is not in the lace, a shiny black granular coating is present which gives an impression of high-end, we will not be able to miss the mention “Black Edition” which covers half of the front face! In addition to the ubiquitous “Black Edition” we still find the model of the motherboard that we buy and the small mention of 168 hours of tests carried out.
At the rear there is a view of the motherboard with the main strengths as well as the specifications and a photo of the rear connectors. Ah yes, we are also entitled to a small “Black Edition”! 😀
Inside the box we come face to face with a compartment containing the motherboard under a plastic mold, everything is well protected there should not be any problems during transport.
Below the motherboard compartment we find the bundle, and as much to say that the latter is rather well supplied! A whole bunch of accessories are present, we will see that below!
Here is the beast! As is the trend (why? We don’t know!) The card is black and red, a sign of the “Gamer” tendency of the thing. The Z97X Gaming G1 Wifi-BK is really loaded with components, like all motherboards in this category there is not much space left!
The radiators are equipped with heat pipes and the one around the processor is also a water block which can be connected to a water cooling system.
At the back we still find a matte black PCB that exudes quality, all the radiators are fixed with screws like all high-end motherboards to ensure a longer life.
The radiators are a good size and very thick in order to dissipate a maximum of heat, as I said above the radiators (or rather the waterblocks) around the processor have openings of 1/4 ″ in order to join your system of watercooling and will cool the VRMs and the card as well as possible during large overclockings.
The card is equipped with 4 PCIe 16x ports, 2 of them are cabled in 16x (in blue) and will also work all 2 in 16x during a crossfire or an SLI, the others are cables in 8x (in red) . Naturally, to have the best results when using more than one graphics card it will be preferable to install the cards in the blue ports, even if the difference in performance between 16x and 8x will be undetectable.
Particular attention has been paid to the sound part of the Gigabyte Z97X G1 Gaming Wifi BK, in fact we have the right to a dedicated part isolated from the rest of the card, a Creative Sound Core 3D chipset, high quality capacitors as well as a Texas Instrument amplifier, which means that the sound will be really excellent for integrated sound. The 2 switches (to the left of the green capacitors) increase the amplification of the microphone / headphone outputs from 2.5X (original) to 6X for headphones that have a high impedance (like the Sennheiser G4me Zero).
Suffice to say that ventilation level Gigabyte has not done in the lace by offering no less than 7 taken 4-pin PWM for fans. With this it will be possible to cool a tower as it should!
All the Sata ports on the card are aligned and perpendicular, the 2 black ports on the left as well as the Sata Express block (the middle block with 4 Sata ports) are all 6 controlled by the Intel Z97 Chipset, the 2 blocks of 2 Sata ports on the right are controlled by the Marvell chipset. If you hesitate and you do not really know where to plug an SSD, you should know that the Sata ports of the Intel chipset will be more efficient, the Marvells will rather be reserved for mechanical hard disks or optical drives.
Of course and as usual we are entitled to a large power button as well as smaller reset and Clear CMOS buttons which will allow testing outside the box much more easily. A display is also present in order to give information in real time which will make it possible to detect problems (if the motherboard does not boot for example), this can be very practical.
At the back we have the right to (from left to right):
- 2 x USB 2.0 / 1.1 (specially designed for a USB headset with reduced interference), 1 x PS / 2
- 1 x DVI-I, 1 x DisplayPort
- 2 x USB 3.0/2.0, 1 x HDMI
- 1 x RJ45 Gigabit (Chipset Intel), 2 x USB 3.0/2.0
- 1 x RJ45 Gigabit (Chipset Qualcomm Killer), 2 x USB 3.0/2.0
- 5 x 3.5mn jack, 1 x optical
As we can see the number of connectors is more than satisfactory, 2 RJ45 ports, a mess of USB, video connectors as well as 3.5mm gold-plated jacks please!
The bundle consists of:
- Driver manuals and CDs
- 1 x front panel with 2 USB 3.0 / 2.0 ports
- 1 x pont Crossfire
- 1 x pont SLI, 1 x pont 3-Way SLI, 1 x pont 4-Way SLI
- 6 x Braided Black Sata Cables
- 1 x 811 ac PCIe1X WiFi card equipped with its external antenna and USB 2.0 cable
- 1 plate I / O
Suffice to say that we have what is needed in terms of the bundle, especially with regard to the multi-GPU with SLI bridges in all directions, the front panel of 2x USB 3.0 can be useful even if with 6 ports to the back plus those that should be on the box there is already plenty to do. The braided Sata cables are a rather nice little extra for the look and are of very good quality. The WiFi card is external and comes with all the necessary accessories.
Here is the Z97X G1 Gaming Wifi-BK bios home screen, simplified mode with basic options, let’s see what happens in classic mode instead!
This is better! On the left we find information about the processor such as its voltages, temperatures and fan speed as well as memory information. On the right, system information, voltages, processor temperature as well as the speed of the various fans connected.
In the Frequency part it is possible to modify the frequency of the GPU integrated into the processor as well as the processor ratio and activate the XMP profile of the memory. In Advanced CPU Core Settings free access is left to the user to modify the ratio of each Turbo mode, deactivate / activate cores, modify the consumption limitation etc.
The Memory part as you can imagine is dedicated to the memory, activation of the XMP, modification of the manual frequency, the voltages etc .. and this on each of the 2 different pairs of memories.
In Voltage we find all the modifiable voltages, and there is what it takes to have fun, voltage of the CPU, integrated GPU, chipset and memory. There is definitely something for the more adventurous to do.
The Miscellaneous section offers some general settings but above all ventilation control. For each fan it will be possible to define ventilation profiles, normal, silent or even manual according to your needs or desires.
In Home it is possible to manage profiles, the bios options can therefore be saved as you wish on each of the profiles.
Gigabyte offers us a motherboard with a fairly large panel of software available, without these being essential they can be useful if you want to overclock / adjust your fans / update your bios via Windows. I will take a quick tour of the different software available:
By launching EasyTune it is possible to overclock your processor with a simple click, by choosing one of the available presets:
- Light: Overclock 4Ghz
- Energy Saving: Downclock 800Mhz
- Medium: Overclock 4,2Ghz
- Default: 3,8Ghz
- Extreme: 4,4Ghz
- Auto Tuning: The software finds the best settings for your configuration on its own
As the name of the software suggests, it’s easy! With one click you can overclock your processor, very good for beginners, but be careful to control the temperatures once the settings have been applied because the software tends to be very large on the voltages applied.
The other 3 tabs are there for finer settings, voltages, memory and more! You have to know what you are doing if you start to touch this, use it at your own risk!
System Information Viewer
The System Information tab, as its name suggests, presents information about your processor, memory and motherboard.
More interesting, the Smart Fan Auto tab makes the configuration of the fans changeable in 1 click with 4 predefined settings (Performance, Fulls Speed, Quiet, Normal).
This is certainly the most interesting part for any silent pc fan, it will allow you to configure the speed of your fans as you see fit in relation to the temperature of the processor (unfortunately only this temperature). The ventilation curve can be changed and you can make your PC as quiet as possible, or as efficient as possible, according to your desires!
It will also be possible to set alerts according to different settings, for example if the processor exceeds a certain temperature, if a fan goes too low or even a drop in voltage etc.
The test platform
The Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 Wifi-BK has been tested with the configuration below:
- Processor : Intel Core i5 4670K
- CPU Fan : Noctua NH-D15
- Motherboard : Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 Wifi Black Edition
- Mémoire: Kingston HyperX 2 x 4 Go 1600Mhz
- Disque dur: WD Raptor 150 Go
- Carte graphique : XFX 7870 Black Edition
- Ventirad Graphics Card : Arctic Cooling Accelero S1
- Alimentation: be quiet! E9 580CM
The motherboard will be opposed to the Gigabyte G1 Sniper H6, Gigabyte Z87X UD5TH and the Asus H97 Pro Gamer.
Motherboards all get the same results under Cinebench R15, which is not surprising.
The cards are all within a 2 second range under SuperPI 32M, the results are the same.
At the level of Aida64 and by taking the “CPU Queen” test and the memory bandwidth tests we drink once again that all the cards offer the same level of performance, which is really not surprising given that the processor is the same and that the memory controller is built into it and not into the motherboard, as was the case a few years ago.
3DMark Fire Strike and Games
To test the motherboard I chose to do a 3DMark Fire Strike test and compare the results in terms of physics as well as the average results on Shogun 2: Total War and Bioshock Infinite. There could be 50 different games the results would be identical between the 3 motherboards so you might as well avoid unnecessary graphics!
No surprises here, with an identical processor and graphics card it makes a lot of sense to have identical results, this proves once again that the choice of a motherboard really has no impact on the gaming performance of the machine.
Débits Sata – CrystalDiskMark
Intel controllers, the performance is in a pocket handkerchief for all the cards in the comparison, the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GA WiFi-BK is no exception here and offers very good performance in Sata 6Gb / s.
Ethernet and Wifi speeds
In terms of ethernet speeds, the results are excellent whether for the Intel chipset or the Qualcomm Killer chipset, with 975Mb / s in upload and 980Mb / s in download, nothing to say about the ethernet network part of the Z97X Gaming GA Wifi-BK is well supplied and efficient.
The Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 Wifi-BK WiFi card has been tested in real conditions, and not glued to a high-end router specially purchased for the occasion, in fact in 99% of cases the PC is connected to the box so it will be the same for this test! The connection is made to a SFR NB6 box (optical fiber with a speed of 1Gb / 200Mb) and through a wall.
With 44Mb / s in upload and download, which means that the card will be more than enough to meet the expectations of users connected via an adsl2 connection, for optical fiber on the other hand and even with 100Mb you will be very far from using your connection to its full potential. .
The overclocking was very simple on the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 Wifi-BK, I was able to overclock the Core i5 4670K to 4.7 GHz with a voltage of 1.34V, which means that it was heating up dry at the level of the processor which flirted with the 80 ° but the card remained stable throughout the tests, not bad! Note that the overclocking results are linked to my processor and that if you test at home it may go higher, or lower!
The results speak for themselves, the gains are quite good in all applications that take advantage of processor power but in games the gain is really minimal for those drawing on the processor and almost non-existent on games that draw on the card. graphic.
Here we are at the end of this test, what to say about the Gigabyte Z9X Gaming G1 Wifi-BK?
Gigabyte offers us here a very high-end motherboard shielded with features, 2 RJ45 ports for your craziest network projects, 1 high-performance WiFi card, 4 PCIe 16X ports (2 cables in 16x and 2 in 8X) to install an indecent number. graphics cards (4-Way compatible), 7 4-pin PWM connectors for the fans as well as a particularly well-endowed sound part.
In terms of performance, everything is of course perfect and stability is also essential, the card did not show the slightest weakness during the tests. Nothing surprising here, seeing the rigorous tests carried out by Gigabyte before letting the card go (168 hours, I would like to remind you).
Offered at around 350 €, the motherboard is clearly not for everyone, it is designed to accommodate a very muscular PC configuration based on excessive SLI / Crossfire. If you are very budget friendly and want a solid motherboard then it will be a very good choice, for others less expensive cards will be much more recommended. Do not forget either that thanks to the special operation made by Gigabyte and the “Black Edition” models it will be possible to have your motherboard exchanged for a more recent model during the first 3 years!
- Build quality
- Chipset son
- Premium features
- Gigabyte “Black Edition” exchange transaction
- Purely marketing killer network chipset
A big thank you to Wilfrid from Gigabyte who allowed me to do this test.