Gigabyte Z97X SOC Force Motherboard Review
Gigabyte Z97X SOC Force
Intel Core i7-4770K & i5 4670K
Corsair Vengeance Pro 2400 & 2933
Corsair Neutron GTX
Custom Corsair 540 Air
Windows 7 x64
Haswell not Devils Canyon?
Its been mentioned in the comments about our choice to use our old Haswell CPU's for the review rather than the new 4790K Devils Canyon CPU. Our 4790K requires a lot more volts for a lower overclock than its older Haswell brothers. So we chose to use the older CPU's giving us more room to up the voltage looking for a higher overclock. We have begun a search looking to bin some retail CPU's in the search for a better overclocking DC CPU but at the time of testing we felt this was the best way for us to test the board with higher frequencies.
As we said on the previous page, it doesn't matter if the BIOS doesn't look awesome as long as the motherboard does the job, and boy oh boy does the Gigabyte Z97X SOC Force absolutely destroy previous Z97s.
The caveat is most definitely that this isn't a "stick your chip in and go" motherboard. It automatically overclocked our i7-4770K to 4.3GHz, which is a lovely thing to have, but at 1.28v. Definitely more than we'd need for on our particular chip and worth keeping an eye on if your air cooler isn't great. Although as we've reviewed so many coolers, and you always take our advice, it will be won't it. Wont it?
Our previous best on our CPU was 5.1GHz as a 'suicide shot', and the Gigabyte blew past that with a new record for our i7-4770K of 5.2GHz @ 1.3v. The sheer amount of overclocking features and the quality of the components left us slack-jawed at the capabilities of Gigabyte's latest orange monster. To be 100% clear we acheived this by booting at 5GHz and used the multiplier switch to bump the clock speed up to 5.2 once in the OS, this was only screenshot stable.
If 1.3v isn't the kind of thing you'd be comfortable running 24/7, then dropping the voltage down to a level we normally use for a 4.8GHz overclock finds the Z97X SOC Force still capable of delivering a 5.1GHz overclock. Ridiculously good performance. We were so impressed we dug our i5-4670K out and within moments had it at 5.1GHz too.
We cannot overstate how impressive the overclocking capabilities of this motherboard are. Truly brilliant.