Greetings, gerbils. Unless you've been living under a rock or a pineapple under the sea, you know that Kaby Lake desktop CPUs have been released, along with the Z270 chipset. Every motherboard maker is getting in on the action, and Gigabyte is certainly no exception. The company has released a helping of super-fancy motherboards under its Aorus gaming brand. To make this easier, we're kicking off with the highlights from the highest-end model and drilling down. Let's take a look at the goods.
The E-ATX Aorus GA-Z270X-Gaming 9 mobo comes with a Kardashian buttload of hardware. Users can slot in four powerful graphics cards in the board's arrangement of two PCIe x16 slots plus two PCIe x8 connectors. There's a total of eight SATA ports on offer, along with two M.2 slots and two U.2 ports. Network connectivity is handled by a pair of Killer Ethernet ports along with a Killer Wireless-AC 1535 2x2 Wi-Fi adapter.
The audio section is handled by a Sound Blaster ZxRi setup with swappable op-amps. As with most Gigabyte boards, the GA-Z270X-Gaming 9 offers both Type-A and Type-C ports, along with Thunderbolt support. Should the user prefer an external DAC solution, two of the motherboard's USB ports have Gigabyte's DAC-UP voltage and noise enhancements.
In a nod to overclockers everywhere, the mobo comes with an EK water block fitted from the factory, and a set of Gigabyte's hybrid fan headers, capable of detecting if they're plugged to a CPU fan, system fan, or water-cooling equipment. There are six RGB LED lighting zones and support for plugging in additional LED strips, too. Whew. There were probably a couple kitchen sinks in there, too, but I'm too blinded by LEDs to see them.
The GA-Z270X-Gaming 8 model is mostly similar to the Gaming 9 variant, except it uses a standard ATX form factor, a Bitspower G-Chill water block, and "only" supports three-way graphics card setups. The board offers an Ethernet adapter combo comprised of both Killer and Intel-powered ports.
Going further down the line, the GA-Z270X-Gaming 7 is just a little less flashy. For storage purposes, there are six SATA ports, two M.2 connectors, and an U.2 port. On this board, audio output is handled by a Creative Sound Core3D setup. Further cuts include the disappearance of onboard Wi-Fi and the factory-fitted water block.
Meanwhile, the GA-Z270X-Gaming K7 is quite similar to the previous model, except that onboard audio is handled by Realtek's new ALC1220 codec with Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5 enhancements, and the RGB LED lighting can only be configured across two separate zones.
Things start getting more sedate down the Aorus range. The GA-Z270X Gaming 5 is similar to the Gaming 7 model in nearly everything but the RGB LED lighting, while the GA-Z270X-Gaming K5 version offers a single Killer Ethernet adapter.
There's yet no word on release dates or pricing for these mobos, but the TR eight-ball says we'll see these models soon. Prices are likely to be fairly dear, considering the amount of hardware Gigabyte crammed into these boards.