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Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 Review

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Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 Testing:

Testing this new platform will involve running it through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which includes both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications, to see how each of these products perform. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual gameplay, in which we can see if similarly prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest drivers for each board and NVIDIA drivers for the NVIDIA GTX 770. In the past we had locked the clock speed on the processor to eliminate any easily controlled variables due to processor speed. However, there is a difference in how each manufacturer handles the CPU default and boost speeds, creating opportunity for one board to deliver a higher level of performance. This variable is a point of difference between boards. The majority of users will run the stock settings, making this point a valid concern, so we are changing up the test methods to capture this difference.

Testing Setup: Intel Socket 1151

 

Testing Setup: Intel Socket 1150

 

Comparison Motherboards:

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

 

Each of the three Z170-based motherboards I have looked at have offered up exceptional options for overclocking your Skylake processor. The Core i7 6700K that I am using is a fully unlocked chip that allows the end user to overclock by way of using the clock multiplier or by using bclck adjustments; something that we have gotten away from over the past few generations except for some fine bclck tuning and gear ratios. Intel's 6th generation chips are a fresh approach and motherboards have been designed to take advantage of this opportunity.

There are several different ways to overclock on the Gigabyte Z170X-UD5, a member of Gigabyte's Ultra Durable product stack. I started by manually tuning the parameters in the BIOS. My first few attempts at overclocking this board did not really go as well as planned. No matter what, it would not play nice even with settings that I have used in the past to boost the clock speed of my CPU. After some more trial and error, I found that the vdroop was high enough that I had to adjust the vcore and vdimm to higher levels and everything came around. Setting the Load Line adjustment in the BIOS to high still did not allow me to reduce the voltage on the CPU from the applied 1.39v I needed to use to get close to 1.375v - the level I need to reach a 4.78GHz to 4.8GHz overclock on the boards I have tested so far. Once I got those issues flagged down, the board was good to go while manually tuning the board. By manually tuning the parameters, I had to use 1.39v applied with LLC set to high on the core, 1.25v on VCCSA, and 1.15v VCCIO to run 4.747GHz on the core using a 47 clock multiplier on the CPU clock and 46 on the cache ratio with the memory running on the only XMP Profile. This gave me final speeds of 4.747GHz on the core, 4.64GHz on the cache bus, and 2827MHz on the DDR4 memory. Not bad really since this puts the board within 50MHz of the rest of the boards, as far as clock speed goes.

If manual tuning was all you have to work with, then it really would not be all that fun. Starting in the BIOS there are several ways to boost performance while not manually tuning the board. Under the M.I.T section of the BIOS, choose the sub menu for Advanced Frequency settings and you have a pair of options that are basically predefined profiles. Under Performance Upgrade, you choose the performance boost as a percentage instead of a defined clock speed. Under CPU Upgrade, you can choose to define overall clock speed by CPU type. Both interesting concepts that deliver targeted improvements in CPU clock speed. Using both of these options, a stable 4.6GHz clock speed was attainable. The downside to this arrangement is that the profiles do not set the XMP profile of the installed memory and the cache bus stays locked at a 40 multiplier. You can go back and tweak, but that's outside the scope of the quick and easy overclock.

Using the Auto Tuning Feature in the Easy Tune application, it ran through its algorithms and again delivered a solid 4.6GHz clock speed on the CPU while keeping the cache ratio at 40. This time, the memory speed was bumped from the 1866MHz setting through the BIOS tools to 2133MHz for a slight improvement in memory performance. Last but not least, is the OC button on the board. Using this tool, the BIOS on the board sets a 4.4GHz clock speed just by pushing a button. While conservative, it is a one-touch solution that works.

 

 

 

 

Maximum Core Clock Speed:

Each CPU has been tested for stability at the listed overclocked speeds. These clock speeds will represent the level of performance shown by the overclocked scores in the testing.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. PCMark 8
  2. SiSoft Sandra 2014
  3. Cinebench R15
  4. X.264 5.1
  5. AIDA64 3.00
  6. CrystalDiskMark
  7. ATTO 2.47
  8. iPerf
  9. Rightmark Audio Analyzer
  • Gaming:
  1. 3DMark
  2. Batman: Arkham Origins
  3. Metro: Last Light



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