Board Layout and Features
The motherboard features a matte black PCB with orange expansion slots and color accents on the various heatsinks. Like on previous OC series motherboards the Z97X SOC Force is designed for mutli-GPU applications and features a slot layout to support up to four GPUs at one time.
Looking at the back of the motherboard we can get an indication as to how the PCI Express slots are wired and determine which slots are primary and secondary in terms of bandwidth. You won't find any surface components aside from the cpu backplate and a few screws for the various heatsinks.
Another thing you will notice is that the memory sockets have lost their traditional solder connections and no longer pass thru the entire motherboard. This is a new feature designed to further enhance signal stability between the memory modules and processor.
On the Z97X-SOC you will find a total of eight power phases for the CPU, Ring and internal graphics. This might be one of the smallest PWMs we have seen on any high-end Gigabyte motherboard but, there is a reason for that. The OC uses the new PowIRstages which can supply more power to the CPU, with less heat and better efficiency. While 32 phases would be pretty impressive the smaller number of traces also helps with signal integrity and stability at high frequencies.
Behind the PWM cooler you'll find the CPU Power connection made up of a single 8-pin and secondary 4-pin connector. Given the location the cables they should be easy to hide in any modern chassis and easy to remove given the space between the power plug and I/O panel.