The Guru3D review
Gigabyte X170 Extreme ECC edition motherboard
Socket 1151 Xeon with the Intel C236 chipset
We review the Gigabyte X170 Extreme ECC, an Xeon compatible 'Intel X170' (we'll explain the quotes later) chipset based product that is loaded with kit, ECC memory support (if you use a Xeon) and features. Though it is a chipset and processor series intended for the server platform this motherboard was made all consumer grade with all whistles and bells. It is SLI/Crossfire capable. Combined with a few extras and an overall high class build Gigabyte is showing a mighty fine offering.
This release is a little unusual as being an expensive platform there is no real valid reason as a consumer to opt a Xeon processor. ECC memory indeed is handy, but mostly if you are running database stuff or perhaps virtualize a lot of operating systems. This chipset should be paired with relatively expensive Xeon E3 series (v5) processors, intended as server processor these are clocked lower which also is not something your average consumer is after. So why then would a four-core Xeon motherboard and platform be interesting ? Well, the Xeon processors have been binned and run incredibly stable, with a lower power consumption and lower temperatures as well. These processors are design to run 24/7/365. The same can be said for the chipset.
The direct downside, processor wise there will be no unlimited/unlocked multipliers available, so you are pretty fixed at your maximum turbo cap when it comes to overclocking (or the lack of it). But sure, if you do like to own a gaming system that can do stable virtulization or run server related databases and or LAMP distributions, it could make sense. But performance and price wise this as a hole does not make a lot of sense. Or does it ?
Gigabyte did some pretty amazing things with this server-class hardware though, the X170 Extreme ECC is a bit of a beast in features and sheer design coolness. packaged in a desert camo design and with added features you have everything you wish, and a little more up-to the very same level as a proper high-end Z170 based motherboard. Now let me clearly mention it, this motherboard can run regular DDR4 memory (non-ECC) and regular Core i3/i5/i7 (6th gen Skylake) processors just fine as well. But obviously if you pick X170, you'll be wanting ECC with a Xeon we assume and/or presume. Dressed to kill (no pun intended) and with added benefits like USB 3.1 a proper M.2. slots and the fastest DDR4-ECC support the product will surely impress. The Gigabyte X170 Extreme ECC edition motherboard specific then, it certainly is a mouth full of words, but when you see it for the very first time, trust me you will be pleasantly surprised as it is a very feature rich product that will look terrific in any DIY PC build thanks to the new design.
Priced at a €300 / 280 USD this camo styled product has nice aesthetic shielding and even configurable RGB LED light accents. Features wise you may expect a threefold of PCI-Express 3.0 ports, 8-channel Audio, the usual quality components and a Gigabit/s Ethernet jack One Intel and one KillerNIC. Lacking is Killer AC WIFI / WIFI whatsoever into this motherboard. You'll then spot USB 3.1 gen 1 and 2 ports, a M.2. slots, and even thunderbot is in da house. We'll show it all in detail of course. Have a peek at the photo below showing what we test today and then head on-wards into the review.
Okay first thing first, holey moley ... does this motherboard remind you of the ASUS Sabertooth or is it just me?