The Z97 media barrage continues, with Gigabyte showing their lineup officially for the first time. Things are even more interesting with these motherboards, since they introduce a new category split. Until now, it has pretty much been the “Ultra Durable” series along with an OC series and a few specialty products that sit outside those.
Now Gigabyte has the Ultra Durable series, SOC Series, and has two official categories: G1 Gamer Series and Black Edition.
Ultra Durable is what we have come to expect from Gigabyte, and their boards represent exactly what we look for in a product here at HCW – high quality durable VRM, and no-frills. Everything you need for a solid motherboard is there.
There are 12 Z97 boards in this lineup, although many of them are nearly identical with a few features added like WiFi adapters and such.
Super Overclock Series boards have features that extreme overclockers look for, for record breaking numbers under LN2 cooling on an open bench.
Features like onboard frequency switching, PCI-E and DIMM switchers, etc, are very specific to this type of use, so there are only two Z97 boards in this lineup.
The G1 Gaming series has been expanded beyond the G1 Sniper series, and features gaming-centric features.
A lot of these features focus on the audio controller. With quality DACs, audio specific capacitors, and replaceable OP-Amps, the Gaming G1 series seem to be intended for people who want high end audio features without having to buy an extra soundcard. Since they are based on the Ultra Durable series, the VRM should be top notch as well.
Finally we have the Black Edition boards. These are essentially luxury products aimed at high end PC buyers, and are based on aforementioned models.
They include 1 week or pre-testing by Gigabyte, and an exclusive membership. These motherboards also come with an extra year of warranty coverage. If only the boards were 100% black…
In total, Gigabyte is launching 27 individual motherboards based on the Z97 chipset. We hope to be able to test at least a few of them here, to let you know if they are worthy of consieration.