Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X DDR4 Review

With Intel’s new 12th Gen CPUs and Chipsets that were announced last year (most came out around about November/December) most gamers were looking to upgrade to the latest tech. However, there was a bit of a problem, most Z690 boards that came out(your top-end boards) were DDR5 based, this is a bit of a problem for most as most gamers that just upgraded last year to 11th gen was stuck with DDR4 ram. Along comes Gigabyte with a solution to this problem with their Gigabyte Gaming X DDR4 motherboard.

By supplying us gamers with DDR4 and DDR5 variants of their Z690 chipset motherboards (You get a DDR5 version of the Gaming X), it makes upgrading to the 12th Gen Intel chips a lot less painful (especially in the South African market). The Gigabyte Gaming X DDR4 variant comes in about R4800(depending on the retailer, got some price below), which is a very affordable price for a 12th Gen motherboard. The Gaming X DDR4 is a more entry-level board, however, it does not feel or even look like an entry-level board. The Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X DDR4 board features a matte black with grey silkscreen on the board. With the IO shield and other heatsinks, Gigabyte went with a brushed Aluminum (almost gunmetal) finish that I really love! For me this colour scheme would your AIO and RAM stand out more but also complement it.

On the Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X DDR4 board, you get 4 M.2 slots (that has included heat-shielding), 2.5GbE LAN connector and DDR4 that supports up to 5333 overclocking speeds. A nice feature that Gigabyte included with this board is a dedicated shielding area for the ram modules, this makes it so that there is less likely that there would be any cross-talk or noise in the RAM’s signal path. The board also support ECC memory (if you are willing to pay for ECC memory). I have not yet had the chance to test the 2.5GbE LAN as my network is still running at 1000GbE(hopefully soon will be upgrading the network). You can also look forward to quite a bit of USB ports, with a total of 8x USB2.0 (4 of them are on the back IO panel, the rest are internal), 7x USB3.2 and USB Type-C ports. The one Type-C USB port on the IO panel is also USB3.2 Gen2x2, so you have future support and lots of speed. For PCI Express on the Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X, you have 3 total PCIe ports, your main one runs at full x16 speed whereas the other two will run at x4 speeds. This is fine as most gamers that will be getting this board would only run one GPU in any case (thanks to the massive price for GPU’s at the moment).

For audio Gigabyte went with the trusty Realtek ALC1220-VB chipset, this chipset has a nifty feature where it detects the independence of your headphones that you got plugged in and prevents problems that might come up with volume (I have seen this happen on another board while testing headphones). What’s nice also about this chipset (if I look at the datasheet and from testing) is that it supports up to 600ohm headsets this is thanks to the high output voltage that the chipsets have (roughly about 2.1Vrms compared to 1.1Vrms that most other chips have)! So you can expect great audio quality from your headphones no matter how cheap or expensive they are. It also features an SNR (signal to noise ratio) of 120dB! The chipset is also Hi-Res audio certified, what this means for you the gamer or if you listen to a lot of audio while working(when not gaming) is that it reproduces almost all of the frequencies of your audio. However, this would mean that you need to listen to FLAC files or other non-compressed audio sources (think Deezer has an application for this).

Just for the fun of it ( Specs for the test were an RTX3050, Intel i7-1200KF, 32GB DDR4@3200), I ran PCMark 10 on this new system and I got a score of 6543 in PCMark 10 (score screenshot below) which for me was very impressive! Coming from a  6th Gen Intel system to 12th was also a massive improvement overall, from Windows 10 booting to running programs, everything felt 10x even 100x faster than what I used to get. Even when playing games like Need for Speed Heat I did see a lot of improvement in frame rates (for some or other reason NFS Heat loves to use CPU as well to GPU on my system).

Overall I am really happy with the Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X DDR4 motherboard, it is an entry-level Z690 board but still with a lot of features that make it worthwhile to buy especially for gamers looking at upgrading to the latest Gen12 CPU. Thanks to the DDR4 version(the one we tested) it makes it even better for gamers upgrading from Gen6 and up chipsets as it takes out the RAM expense from the equation. You can also install Windows 11 on this board thanks to it being up to scratch with Win11 specs (it even has a port on the board for a dedicated TPM module). The Gaming X DDR4 board also has lots of storage connectors and more than enough USB ports to shake a USB connector at. The BIOS is very easy to navigate and even the advanced settings pages are laid out great. The one thing I would have loved is a small USB with the drivers and software for the motherboard, however, nothing stopped me from downloading them from the support website. I would recommend the Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X DDR4 to any gamer that is looking to upgrade and it’s not a lot that you have to spend on the motherboard (coming at below R5000 at most online retailers). What is also in this board’s favour is that it has a Local 3 Year warranty!

Tech Specs

  • CPU LGA1700 socket: Support for 12th Generation Intel® Core™, Pentium® Gold and Celeron® Processors* L3 cache varies with CPU * Please refer to “CPU Support List” for more information.
  • Chipset Intel® Z690 Express Chipset
  • Memory Support for DDR4 5333(O.C.)/ DDR4 5133(O.C.)/DDR4 5000(O.C.)/4933(O.C.)/4800(O.C.)/ 4700(O.C.)/ 4600(O.C.)/ 4500(O.C.)/ 4400(O.C.)/ 4300(O.C.)/4266(O.C.) / 4133(O.C.) / 4000(O.C.) / 3866(O.C.) / 3800(O.C.) / 3733(O.C.) / 3666(O.C.) / 3600(O.C.) / 3466(O.C.) / 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200 / 3000 / 2933 / 2800 / 2666 / 2400 / 2133 MHz memory modules 4 x DDR DIMM sockets supporting up to 128 GB (32 GB single DIMM capacity) of system memory Dual channel memory architecture Support for ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode) Support for non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules (Go to GIGABYTE’s website for the latest supported memory speeds and memory modules.)
  • Onboard Graphics Integrated Graphics Processor-Intel® HD Graphics support: 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@60 Hz
    * Support for HDMI 2.1 version and HDCP 2.3.
    ** Support native HDMI 2.1 TMDS compatible ports. 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2304@60 Hz
    * Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version and HDCP 2.3 (Graphics specifications may vary depending on CPU support.)
  • Audio Realtek® ALC1220-VB CODEC
    * The back panel line out jack supports DSD audio. High Definition Audio 2-channel analog output Support for S/PDIF Out
    7.1-channel digital signals
    * Actual output of digital signals may vary depending on the playback content and software used, and an external DAC is required.
  • LAN Realtek® 2.5GbE LAN chip (2.5 Gbps/1 Gbps/100 Mbps)
  • Expansion Slots 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
    * For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
    (The PCIEX16 slot conforms to PCI Express 5.0 standard.) 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x4 (PCIEX4_1, PCIEX4_2)
    (The PCIEX4 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
  • Multi-Graphics Technology Support for AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire™ and 2-Way AMD CrossFire™ technologies
  • Storage Interface CPU: 1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2A_CPU) Chipset: 2 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2P_SB, M2Q_SB) 1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2M_SB) 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
    * Refer to “2-7 Internal Connectors,” for the installation notices for the M.2 and SATA connectors. Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
    * System acceleration with Intel® Optane™ Memory can only be enabled on the M.2 connectors supported by the Chipset.
  • USB Chipset: 1 x USB Type-C® port on the back panel, with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support 1 x USB Type-C® port with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support, available through the internal USB header 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red) on the back panel 5 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (3 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header) Chipset+2 USB 2.0 Hubs: 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)
  • Internal I/O Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector 1 x CPU fan header 1 x water cooling CPU fan header 3 x system fan headers 1 x system fan/water cooling pump header 2 x addressable LED strip headers 2 x RGB LED strip headers 4 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors 1 x front panel header 1 x front panel audio header 1 x USB Type-C® header, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 header 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers 2 x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connectors 1 x Trusted Platform Module header (For the GC-TPM2.0 SPI/GC-TPM2.0 SPI 2.0 module only) 1 x reset button 1 x reset jumper 1 x Q-Flash Plus button 1 x Clear CMOS jumper *All fan headers are subject to support AIO_Pump, Pump and high performance fan with the capability of delivering up to 2A/12V @ 24W.
  • Back Panel Connectors 1 x USB Type-C® port, with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red) 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports 1 x HDMI port 1 x DisplayPort 1 x RJ-45 port 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector 2 x audio jacks
  • I/O Controller iTE® I/O Controller Chip
  • H/W Monitoring Voltage detection Temperature detection Fan speed detection Water cooling flow rate detection Fan fail warning Fan speed control
    * Whether the fan (pump) speed control function is supported will depend on the fan (pump) you install.
  • BIOS 1 x 256 Mbit flash Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
  • Unique Features Support for APP Center
    * Available applications in APP Center may vary by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also vary depending on motherboard specifications.
    Fast Boot
    Game Boost
    ON/OFF Charge
    RGB Fusion
    Smart Backup
    System Information Viewer Support for Q-Flash Plus Support for Q-Flash Support for Xpress Install
  • Bundled Software Norton® Internet Security (OEM version) Realtek® Gaming LAN Bandwidth Control Utility
  • Operating System Support for Windows 11 64-bit Support for Windows 10 64-bit
  • Form Factor ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

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