Gigabyte Aorus Z370 Gaming 7 motherboard
Gigabyte's Top Dawg fired off at Coffee Lake
In this review we test the all new Gigabyte Aorus Z370 Gaming 7 motherboard, we'll pair it with the new six-core Core i7 8700K. Yes, this is the new Coffee Lake platform. Coffee Lake represents the new 8th generation desktop processors from Intel, including the new mainstream six-core part. A product line that is the direct answer to, and effect from what AMD has been pursuing aggressively in the desktop processor channel. With this first 'mainstream' step from Intel they will offer 6-core processors. These will need to be paired with a new motherboard chipset and thus motherboard, the Z370 based ranges.
With the introduction of Ryzen and more recently the announcement of Threadripper processors, the processor market and channel has been turned upside down, and Intel is slowly waking up from its S3 deep-sleep state finally realizing that they cannot keep serving just quad-core processors in the mainstream, as they have been doing for subsequent years now. AMD gave Intel a serious wake up call and as such they needed to step up, significantly. Intel’s primary processor business has been releasing and refreshing quad-core processors for many years combined with high-margin, spicy priced E type (e.g. Broadwell-E / Haswell-E / Skylake-X) processor releases every now and then. You can't really blame Intel either as there simply was no competition - hence they had no rush and have been relaxed all the way for years now. Intel did anticipate Zen (or Ryzen), but the AMD consumer aimed Threadripper 16-core and Naples server segment 32-core made Intel step up its game a notch as they've shifted into a higher gear ever since Ryzen was released. Over the summer Skylake-X processors have been announced with limited releases and availability for the highest core count procs. Skylake-X however is available in good quantities for the 10-core and 12-core parts, but these start at 999 Euros for the 10-core version. There is an Intel Core i7-7800X hexa-core available in the sub-400 Euro range though, but it needs to be tied to an X299 motherboard, but these start at 350 euros. Ergo, AMD is outflanking Intel in any and every product segment, price wise. This now changes with the Coffee Lake generation of processors that have up-to six-cores alongside more affordable Z370 motherboards.
In this review we look at the gorgeous Gigabyte Aorus Z370 Gaming 7, we'll pair it with a Core i7 8700K. The Z370 Gaming 7 is positioned in the higher rankings of the Gigabyte line-up and offers incredible looks (especially when powered on), great tweakability and features like high-grade onboard audio, 3x M.2 SSD support (one with heatsink), two GigE Ethernet interfaces (Intel + Killer), and reinforced LED activated PCIe slots. On the next few pages I will take you guys a little deeper into the architecture and processor series that is Coffee Lake as well as the Z370 chipset, followed by a hefty benchmark session to see how well this motherboard performs and what it has to offer.