GIGABYTE Z270X Gaming 7 LGA 1151 Motherboard Review
GIGABYTE’s Z270X based offerings feel like slightly modified clones of the Z170X line. But hey there are tons of pretty lights on these! In all seriousness, the Z270 chipset based offerings are far more of an evolution than a revolution. That said, GIGABYTE has made improvements that are certainly worth checking out.
Motherboard Overclocking Software
GIGABYTE includes its APP Center with the Z270X Gaming 7. The software remains relatively unchanged from the last generation. The software uses a common application launcher called APP Center which has a multitude of utilities that are included with it. For the sake of keeping things brief, we will keep our coverage limited to the enthusiast oriented functions. The application is quite user friendly and has no real learning curve to speak of. The application has a logical workflow and an interface that’s easy to understand.
Predominately, the enthusiast features are all part of EasyTune. The rest are part of the SIV application. To access any of these, you must go through the APP Center. When you start it a common launcher dialog box pops up and gives you the option of what applications to launch from it. When EasyTune is launched, it prompts you with a disclaimer concerning warranty voiding and hardware damage from overclocking. Fortunately, you only have to see this once and agree to the terms. The software is laid out the way older versions of the application were but with some aesthetic updates. Aesthetically speaking, the current EasyTune looks a lot like ASRock’s software suite with its gray and white color scheme. Settings are grouped by category and there is a tab at the top for each category.
The application offers a great deal of settings to choose from in most of the categories. Automated tuning options in the Smart Boost category are available for some light overclocking or power savings. Settings for the advanced options are manipulated via drop downs or sliders. There is a multitude of clock frequency and voltage settings for the advanced CPU OC menu. The advanced DDR OC menu has a similar configuration with clock ratios and timings to choose from. An advanced Power menu is there but offers very little. The overclocking presets do not alter memory frequencies. Although no significant PC health information is displayed within the application, there are rudimentary values at the bottom of the application window. An icon in the top right of the PC health data section will bring up a satellite window which shows detailed voltages, temperatures and clock speed values. There is also a hotkey system which allows you to have the macro capability of most gaming keyboards with just about any keyboard out there.
The system information viewer or SIV or system information viewer is a separate application from EasyTune. The system information portion of it is exactly what it sounds like but that’s a tiny part of what the application does. The name therefore doesn’t really fit. There is a smart fan tab which contains performance presets for fan control. The advanced menu is where things have changed quite a bit since the last version. Fan headers and their locations are enumerated. Motherboard temperature sensors are shown by location with individual temperature readings for each. A recording feature is also present for recording and seeing trends in system events. This is potentially useful for troubleshooting certain problems. As stated earlier, the PC health satellite window is quite thorough as it displays a vast array of monitored data.
As is the case with most higher end enthusiast oriented motherboards, GIGABYTE has included RGB lighting on the Z270X Gaming 7. GIGABYTE has renamed its LED controls to "RGB Fusion." With the name change comes quite a few improvements that greatly enhanced the LED capabilities and configuration options. You can now choose from up to 16.8 million colors. You can configure multiple visual effects for the RGB lighting. There are even multiple LED lighting zones which can be configured independently. GIGABYTE has even gone so far as two include two RGB LED strip headers. This is the first motherboard I've seen to have more than one. These LED strips are actually quite easy to come by as I see them at my local hardware stores all the time in the lighting section.
GIGABYTE has done a great job here with both the hardware and the software. Its not a feature that makes or breaks a motherboard for me but all things being equal its nice to have. GIGABYTE had been lagging behind the competition here and they really stepped things up.