The Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 is the company’s flagship Intel Z370 motherboard. It comes with a decent selection of features, boasting generous storage expansion and connectivity options, customizable LEDs, and a beefed-up onboard audio solution.
It’s possible that Gigabyte may release a Gaming 9 board to plug the gap in the ultra-high-end segment, but until then, the Gaming 7 is the most feature-rich Z370 board you can get right now from Gigabyte.
Gigabyte uses only odd numbers in its Aorus Gaming motherboard model names, and doing so leaves only the number "9" to fill the insanely-expensive premium class. For now, then, the question is whether the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 is a near-premium part with a more reasonable price tag.
For instance, there may not be any liquid cooling channels carved into the VRM heat sink, but you do still get eight 4-pin fan headers that can be configured to work in both PWM and voltage regulation modes. These headers are strategically spaced out around close to the edge of the board, so you don’t end up with wires running out from the middle of the PCB.
That said, you technically only have seven available headers, as the header next to the EPS12V connector is taken up by the tiny, built-in VRM fan that can spin up to 6,000RPM. This isn’t that common a feature on a motherboard, and it’s designed to turn on only in the most demanding of situations, such as when temperatures rise above 90°C.
There are now four programmable lighting zones plus two RGBW LED headers and digital strip headers that can control individual LEDs on compatible lighting products. Thankfully, it's not just illumination that's been bolstered and bumped up the price tag. There are now three M.2 ports, one of which sports a large heatsink that's meatier than those on MSI's boards we've seen so far. You also get a USB 3.1 Gen 2 header on the motherboard.
Touching a little further on the M.2 slots, it should be pointed out that the new Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 is also Intel Optane Memory ready.
Like its predecessors, the Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 also sports the same Turbo B-Clock function that allows users to easily overclock the CPU with just a couple of clicks of the mouse via on-board BIOS.
To test the Z370 AORUS Gaming 7, we used the following components in our testbed: (Benchmark Performance)
- Intel Core i7-8700K
- Corsair H75 Dual-fan 120mm AiO Cooler
- 2x 8GB Apacer Blade DDR4-3200 (CL timings: 18-18-18-42)
- Palit GeForce GTX 1080 GameRock Premium Edition
- Corsair RM1000 PSU
- Plextor M6S 128GB
- Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB
- WD Caviar Black 6TB
- Windows 10 Professional (Creators Update)
There's no Wi-Fi, which may be a deal-breaker for some, and you only get six Type-A USB ports. While all at least USB 3.0 speed (one is USB 3.1), we'd have been happier to see another pair on the rear panel, even if they were USB 2.0. The pair of LAN ports sport both Intel and Killer controllers, and while the audio is the usual Realtek ALC1220, Gigabyte includes an ESS Sabre DAC, a smart headphone AMP, and a DAC-dedicated USB port for better voltage control. It also bundles Creative's Sound Blaster X 720 software, which adds features such as an equalizer and Crystalizer surround effects.
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