Gigabyte Z97X SOC Force Motherboard Review
We'll start with the more standard elements of the Gigabyte Z97X SOC. The main point of interest is native 4K support. We know that 4K displays are still hugely expensive, but it's a testament to how quickly the price is dropping that the latest Intel chipset supports it by default. Thankfully we've managed to grab a 4K monitor from ASUS, review upcoming, so it's nice to have somewhere to plug it into.
Most of us don't change our CPUs very often but it shows how much of a focus Gigabyte are putting towards the extreme overclocker by doubling the thickness of the gold plating on the CPU socket. If you're looking for world record overclocks you're going to have to change your CPU dozens and dozens of times searching for the best possible model. The Silicon lottery being nothing if not a harsh mistress, so doubling the thickness of the gold ensures the most stable contact at all times. At the kind of voltages you can utilise when overclocking in sub zero conditions, the extra gold is guaranteed to give the most stable possible platform.
Separating the audio from the main PCB has become so ubiquitous we're almost blasé about it, although it does make us wonder how we ever managed before. Lastly there are 8 system fan headers. With temperatures being the limiting factor in most overclocks it's nice to have plenty of places to stick in your cooling fans. For those of us who plan on running the Z97X SOC Force in a system it's a boon to cable tidying possibilities.