Gigabyte Z97X G1 Gaming 5 Motherboard Review

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Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 Review

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There is no doubt that the box for the Gaming 5 stands out. Or rather it stares out. That's one giant eye. We're not sure if Big Brother is meant to be watching, but it sure feels like it. Perhaps Gigabyte have taken the opportunity to make a statement about internet monitoring by government agencies. Or maybe they just fancied a giant eye. Unfortunately if you focus upon the right hand side of the logo then it becomes a duck in profile. Cannot unsee.  

Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 Review     Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 Review  

The top half of the Gaming 5 is clean and tidy. The heatsinks are a nice red, the CPU area is fairly clear, and the RAM slots, although two colours, are at least understated. It isn't the most dramatic arrangement we've ever seen, but we really like it.

The bottom half is more divisive. We start well with the M2 socket for SATA Express mini SSDs above the first PCI slot. The PCI Express slots themselves are well laid out with plenty of space to ensure your graphics card keeps cool. CMOS battery location is good, able to be removed with the GPU in-situ. Headers are clear as always on a Gigabyte motherboard. The eye heatsink is more problematic. If it's meant to be an eye then why is it vertical? It just looks odd. We know many people wont mind it, or wont care, but we find it distracting.

Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 Review     Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 Review  

The Gigabyte AMP UP audio is, as seems to be the norm these days, on a separate PCB to the rest of the motherboard to help reduce interference. There doesn't seem to be a way to swap the chips as there was on the 8 Series, but the ALC1150 audio is good enough.

It's nice to see the inclusion of SATA Express on such a good value motherboard. We still don't know how well this technology will perform in the real-world, but at least the theory entices us more than some other new ideas have. We always faster storage.

Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 Review     Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 Review  

Finally round the back we have, from left to right, Mouse and Keyboard PS2, VGA and DVI, USB 3.0 and HDMI, 4 USB 2.0 ports, Killer NIC LAN port and two more USB 3.0's, and finally the audio outputs. It's very disappointing to see half of the USB ports on the rear are USB 2.0, especially with USB 3.1 being finalised. Separate mouse and keyboard PS2 ports, which are almost obsolete, only adds to the feeling that the IO section of the Gaming 5 was designed 3 years ago.

It's so jarring when compared to the SATA Express and 3300MHz DDR3 available on the other side of the Gigabyte board to have so much old tech here.

Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 Review     Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 Review  

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Most Recent Comments

19-05-2014, 13:11:41

gigabyte need to bring back green boards Quote

19-05-2014, 13:35:22

Definitely green ties in so well with the Nvidia stock cooler.Quote

19-05-2014, 14:10:37

You were right! We need those green and black stuff back...
I also like the blue and black ones too... Theres a lack of those boards to.
If i were in the place of Gigabyte i would push out a white and black stuff as well... I think it might be working... Quote

19-05-2014, 14:17:34

I have to say, with the last two motherboards i purchased, I bought my motherboards based on their colour.

My Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3 was all black, because i wanted all-black, and I recently purchased a Gigabyte Z87-G1 SNIPER because it was green.

I think Gigabyte will miss out on the many users that want green systems, then again red is much more mainstream and could attract more users to Sniper series boards.

Personally, I'll miss the green colouring. It was something that ONLY a gigabyte Sniper board can give you. RIP Sniper green, you will be missed.Quote

19-05-2014, 14:25:45

One good thing about that board is that it has a standard PCI slot. I thought they were obsolete now? If I had known then I wouldn't have thrown my X-Fi elite pro sound card away Quote

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