The Gigabyte Z170X SOC Force is a motherboard that appears to be based on the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1. It features the same basic layout, 4-Way SLI and watercooled VRM but a few things were tweaked to make it more overclocker friendly. For instance the audio was downgraded and the Killer Networks controller was swapped for an Intel one. OC Touch was added along with the internal USB ports and overclocking features developed over the lifetime of the OC/SOC series.
As mentioned the slot layout is on that Gigabyte has used before and supports 4-way SLI with the help of an onboard PLX chip. Each PCI Express 16x slot is reinforced with a set of stainless steel metal shields that physically bind the expansion slot to the motherboard. This increases strength to support heavy video cards, especially when being shipped. Hardware based overclocking controls are located in the upper right corner of the motherboard in a feature bundle called OC Touch. These buttons work at the hardware level and allow you the ability to adjust frequency settings in Windows and while benchmarks are being run when can be helpful when chasing records.
Like always overclocking the Z170X SOC Force is extremely easy and supports a wide variety of scenarios from straight BCLK adjustments to CPU Multiplier and everything inbetween. Those looking to overclock memory will like all of the available memory options along with a few pre-defined defaults for some of the more popular kits. The Z170X SOC Force comes with an extremely robust 22 power phase VRM backed by PowIRstages which can supply more power to the CPU, with less heat and better efficiency.
In this review we experimented with a variety of different overclocking methods including air, water and phase. While the Single Stage Phase cooler gave us the best results your actual performance gains will be determined by the quality of your CPU. Some chips run cooler than others while others tend to like higher BLCK Straps, have better memory controllers or might scale better under cold. The nice thing about the Gigabyte Z170X SOC Force is that regardless of your CPU quality there are options available to get the most from your entire system and look good doing it.
4-Way SLI Support
Voltage test points
Matte Black Finish
Efficient Heatsink Design
Three M.2 Slots
Internal USB Plugs
OC Touch Controls
Large Power IR Digital PWM
Gold Plated CPU Socket
The watercooled VRM cooler can be difficult to clean
Gotta look in the user’s guide to decipher the OC Touch