Intel's Skylake processors are just the latest Intel CPU architecture to see many of the critical system operations handled by the processor. As such, benchmarking a motherboard becomes more of a test to certify that the part operates correctly and meets the anticipated performance levels.
When XMP is enabled, many of the competing vendors’ motherboards automatically apply a CPU operating state that sees all cores running at their maximum turbo frequency (typically termed as Multi-Core Turbo, or MCT). Gigabyte, however, does not feature this setting on its Z170X-Gaming 7 motherboard.
We manually overclocked the CPU to its maximum turbo state of 4.2GHz and set the cache frequency to 4.1GHz. This allows us to keep the performance results and testing configuration consistent with data from ASRock’s, Asus’, and MSI's motherboards.
The CPU voltage, as read by a multimeter, sat around the 0.80-0.85V level whilst the system idled and 1.28V during Prime95 load.
Z170 Motherboard Test System:
- Processor: Intel Core i7-6700K (4.2GHz forced turbo).
- Memory: 16GB (4x4GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200MHz 16-18-18-36 DDR4 @ 1.35V.
- Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 980 Ti.
- System Drive: 250GB Crucial BX100 SSD.
- CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i.
- Case: NZXT Phantom 630.
- Power Supply: Seasonic Platinum 1000W.
- Operating System: Windows 7 Professional with SP1 64-bit.
Compared Z170 Motherboards:
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6+.
- Asus Maximus VIII Hero.
- Gigabyte Z170XP-SLI.
- MSI Z170A XPower Gaming Titanium Edition.
- Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 BIOS F5e.
- GeForce 353.30 VGA drivers.
- Intel 11.0 ME drivers.
- SiSoft Sandra 2015 SP2b (v2142) – Processor arithmetic and memory bandwidth (System)
- 3DMark 1.5.915 – Fire Strike Ultra (System)
- Cinebench R15 – All-core CPU benchmark (CPU)
- 7-Zip 15.05 beta – Manual video archival (CPU)
- HandBrake 0.10.2 – Convert 1.23GB 1080P game recording using the High Profile setting and MP4 container (CPU)
- Grand Theft Auto V – 1920 x 1080, near-maximum quality (Gaming)
- Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – 1920 x 1080, ultra quality (Gaming)
- Metro: Last Light – 1920 x 1080, very high quality (Gaming)
- Tomb Raider – 1920 x 1080, maximum quality, TressFX disabled (Gaming)
- ATTO – SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0, M.2 transfer rates (Motherboard)
- RightMark Audio Analyzer – General audio performance test (Motherboard)