Gigabyte's Z370 boards are ready to dip into Coffee Lake

Greetings, gerbils. You're probably raring to have one of Intel's recently-announced Coffee-flavored desktop CPUs, but you're going to need the proverbial holder to set that cup o' joe on. Gigabyte is here to help, and it's just announced a whopping total of eight Z370-based motherboards. Any resemblance to existing Z270 offerings is but a coincidence—there's no need to adjust your monitor.

We're going to tackle these from the bottom up, pointing out the key upgrades as we move up the product range. The most basic (and presumably affordable) model is the Z370 HD3. This board keeps things simple with its single M.2 socket, Intel Ethernet adapter, and support for RAM speeds of at least 3866 MT/s. Sadly, there's no onboard RGB LED lighting but there are headers with support for light strips. A Realtek ALC892 handles soundwave-creating duties.

The Z370 HD3P steps up the game with Type-C and Type-A USB 3.1 Gen2 ports handled by an ASMedia 3142 controller, plus a pair of M.2 sockets. There's also an additional front panel header for another USB 3.1 Gen2 port, and metal reinforcement around the main PCIe slot. Those with a penchant for sweet audio will enjoy this board's Realtek ALC1220 codec.

Meanwhile, the Z370XP SLI is quite similar to the HD3P above, except it also offers SLI support, as implied by its name. There's also an onboard header for a Thunderbolt 3 add-in card for those looking to connect speedy peripherals to their PC. This time around, Gigabyte chose to reinforce the first two PCIe slots, in a nod towards a multi-card setup. There's no internal USB 3.1 Gen2 header on this board, though.

Things start getting a little serious with the Z370 Aorus Gaming K3, the first in the lineup of decked-out Aorus boards with onboard RGB LED lighting and support for lighting strips with individually-addressable RGB LEDs. Sweet tunes are handled by a Realtek ALC1220 codec coupled with Wima capacitors.

The Z370 Aorus Gaming 3 tweaks the formula just a little bit. The Intel Ethernet controller is replaced by a Kiler E2500 chip, and the front-panel USB 3.1 Gen2 connector makes a return.

Things get kicked up a couple notches with the Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming, which could probably have easily been named the Ultra Gaming 4. This model comes with many-zone RGB LED lighting, most notably across the main PCIe slots and DIMM slots. Gigabyte's DAC-UP 2 ports show up for the party for those looking for a particularly clean signal for choice USB peripherals. Gigabit Ethernet connectivity is taken care of by an Intel chip.

Next up, we have the high-end Z370 Aorus Gaming 5. This board can take in DIMMs clocked at 4133 MT/s and beyond, and there's a combo networking setup with an Intel Ethernet controller and an Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 adapter. Creative's Sound BlasterX 720° audio enhancements make an appearance, as does a trio of M.2 slots and a dedicated BCLK generator. Finally, there's metal around the DIMM slots and additional RGB LED zones—the more the merrier.

The big honcho in the lineup is the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7. There's no Wi-Fi on this model, but you do get a pair of Ethernet chips in both Killer and Intel flavors. Since this board is all about high-end gear, the Realtek ALC1220 codec is paired up with an ESS Sabre 9018 DAC and both Nichicon and Wima capacitors along the signal path. All three PCIe x16 slots and one of the M.2 slots are studded with metal. Oh, LED zones? All of them.

There's no word on pricing for Gigabyte's Z370 mobos, but they're hitting stores on October 5. We figure their prices should be reasonably similar to that of Z270-based models at launch.

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