Gigabyte Z97X-SLI Motherboard
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 04-13-2015
Provided by: Gigabyte

The Intel "Wildcat Point" chipset was released last year as part of the Haswell Refresh, a mostly minor clock speed increase over previous Haswell chips. Although either will work in any 8 or 9 series motherboard, typically older boards will require at minimum a BIOS update to support the latest processors. Similar to the chip upgrade, the 9 series boards do not offer a whole lot of performance improvement over their 8 series counterparts. The bus speed remains at 4GB/s, there are eight PCIE 2.0 Express lanes, six 6Gbit/s SATA ports, six USB 3.0 and eight USB 2.0 ports. The 9 series does add PCIe M.2 and SATA Express support, with bandwidth up to 10GB/s and will support Broadwell H desktop chips due out later this year.

The Gigabyte motherboard we have for review today is the Z97X-SLI, featuring multi-GPU support for Nvidia SLI and ATI CrossFire. While Gigabyte's website lists no less than 45 different Z97 motherboards, some of these models feature more than one revision. The Z97X-SLI, for example, features three different revision numbers and the one we were supplied with for review is the 1.1 version. These revisions seem to offer little difference between them and most likely include minor tweaks and improvements over previous releases.

The Z97X-SLI is an SLI-capable motherboard priced very attractively for budget gamers. Due to licensing models with Nvidia, not all chipsets and boards are available to support SLI. Additionally the board will support CrossFire natively as all Z97 boards do. This model also features a high-end ALC1150 115dB SNR audio, high quality headphone amplifier and dedicated audio hardware zone to protect from interference. Intel Gigabit LAN, all solid caps and a new heatsink design round out the feature list.

Join us as we take a closer look at the Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SLI.

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