It has been nearly a decade since I built my last PC… and that one wasn’t even for me! Thanks to Gigabyte, we are building a new test bench with the X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi at the foundation of a Ryzen 5 2600X build. Within this article, we will be breaking down what makes this motherboard special and whether it may or may not be right for you.
With the release of the Zen+ chips from AMD, new motherboard have been unleashed to harness the power of the Ryzen 2000 series. While many of the older AM4 boards can be updated to support them via a BIOS update, new PC builders (such as myself) have the option to purchase boards ready to rock. Can the X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi by Gigabyte help us handle this power? Let’s check out the breakdown of what this motherboard has to offer.
- MSRP: $229.99 US
- AM4 socket
- Ryzen 2000-series ready BIOS
- Reinforced PCIe and RAM slots
- Expansion: 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 (running at x16), 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 (running at x8), 1x PCIe 2.0 x16 (running at x2), 2x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots
- External Connections: 6x USB 3.1 (2x with DAC-UP), 2x USB 3.1 GEN 2 (1x type-A, 1x type-C), 2x USB 2.0, 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x TOSLINK, 5x audio lines, 2x MMCX antenna connectors
- Storage interfaces: 6x 7-pin SATA ports, 1x M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 Type 22110, 1x M.2 PCIe 2.0 x4 Type 2280
- WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with support for ac11 160MHz, up to 1.74Gbps
- Reinforced PCIe and RAM slots
- Audio: Realtek ALC1220-VB Audio Codec, ESS SABRE DAC (32bit, 384kHz PCM)
- CPU Bracket Baseplate and I/O Shielding
- Power/reset and Clear CMOS buttons back panel
- Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire
- Supports DuelBIOS
- Multi-zone RGB control
If there is one consistent theme in Gigabyte’s AORUS line it’s that they like a bit of flare with their functionality. The eagle-and-wing branding isn’t too garish, but this board is made to show off. That is where the RGB Fusion control comes in. Supporting 5v and 12v digital LED strips, this X470 is capable of controlling up to 300 LED lights with 9 patterns to choose from. Did I also mention that the motherboard itself have four addressable RGB zones, too?
Form and flash aside, the X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi is solidly built with a reinforced plating behind the large I/O shroud as well as an extra plate to help support the CPU heatsink mounting. Continuing with this theme of stability, the PCI slots and RAM slots are both reinforced to prevent board warping or card sag. It is also worth noting that the X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi supports for 2-Way SLI or CrossFire GPU setups.
From a build perspective, the board provides a well laid out workspace with each connections labeled on the motherboard. If you have a general idea of the connection you are looking for, you can likely identify if from the printing on the PC board. I did have one connection point that gave me a little bit of trouble: the CPU fan header. The pins are bit close to a set of finned heatsink on the top of the board.
Speaking of those heatsinks, they are designed after GPU heatsinks to help dissipate the thermal load of the motherboard’s voltage regulation section. Gigabyte claims that this reduces the temperatures by up to 40% of the tradition thermal designs. With an eye on heat management, the AORUS Gaming 7 has thermal guards for your M.2 drives, two thermistor cables for ambient heat detection, eight hybrid fan or water cooler headers, and seven temperature sensors with support for high current fans up to 24 watts. The motherboard also has UI-based fan controls within the BIOS and within AORUS System Information Viewer. More on the software suite in a moment.
All of this heat management is very welcome, especially when it comes to utilizing what this board was made for: overclocking. To provide high current capacity for overclocking, the motherboard has 10 Phase digital power for vCore (40A per phase) and 2 Phase digital power for SOC (50A per phase). These power components are supplied by an 8- and 4- solid-pin power connection for the CPU power section. But all of this power needs control.
This is where the AORUS Gaming 7’s DualBIOS feature comes into play.
When establishing an overclocking profile, there is a fair amount of tweaking to achieve stability. The DualBios mode allows you to run your overclocking profile in tandem with the stock BIOS profile. If a condition within your profile has an issue, it will automatically switch to the default BIOS to stabilize your system. This feature can be turned on or off via dip switched located near the RAM slots. While it makes for a nice feature in theory, having the BIOS switch on you after a reboot is slightly annoying.
As for internet connectivity, the AORUS Gaming 7 does not have “WiFi” in its name for no reason. The motherboard is equipped with Intel’s 160Hz 802.11ac Wave 2 and Bluetooth 5. When connected to the external antenna, the board boasts the capability of breaking the gigabit barrier by reaching speeds of up to 1.73Gbps. If you would rather forego a wireless connection and go wired, it also has an Intel GbE LAN port equipped with network management software to prioritize gaming over VoIP, file sharing, or peer-to-peer connections.
Just a side anecdote about connectivity: While the X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi is ready out of the box to take your current or past generation Ryzen chips, it does not have a video port within the myriad of I/O connections. It makes sense considering that most Ryzen chips are not APUs. That is the operative word: most. There may be some out there that have ambitions of “putting a Smart Car engine into a Ferrari” by using a Ryzen 2000G-series chip in an X470. If that is you, this is not the board for you. This may be a bit of a moot point, but it is amusing to think about when talking about the BIOS, connectivity, and Zen+ compatibility… or simply to have the mental image of someone trying it!
AORUS Software Suite: Control, Control, and More Control…
There is a common thread that runs through the design of the X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi, you may have guessed it: control. While the BIOS offers a wide range of fine tuning options, Gigabyte has an entire software suite, the AORUS App Center, designed for tweaking your machine while in Windows.
Within App Center, fifteen applications for various control points for your motherboard. You can access portions of the BIOS, control fans, set up hardware monitoring, control USB ports, customize RGB enabled devices, and more. From within some of these applications, you can change settings such as overclocking parameters, but they will require a restart in order to take effect. Having software like this seems redundant since you could simply restart, launch your BIOS and edit those same settings, and boot directly into your OS from there.
While I like the idea of installing what applications that you want and have them all serve within a central location, practically, it feels cumbersome. This a la cart approach to hardware control allows you to thin the bloatware on your machine, but slow launching applications and redundancies within some of them leave the end user with a bit of a quandary as to which are applications are necessary. Some times, you may just have too many options.
The X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi also comes with a month trial of TriDef SmartCam, one (1) year of Split Gamecaster and broadcast premium license, and a 14-day trial to WTFast’s Gamers Private Network (GPN).
Our test bench: Ryzen 5 2600X, X470 AORUS Gaming 7 Wifi motherboard (rev 1.0, BIOS v. F4), Wraith Spire Cooler, 16GB Patriot Viper RGB RAM, Power Color Red Devil RX580, NZXT E850 PSU, Colorful Technology SL500 640 GB SSD.
For our benchmark, we ran this system through Cinebench R15, RealBench 2.56, PCMark 10, and 3DMark TimeSpy. Keep in mind, these are stock configurations. Your mileage may vary with overclocking, so we wanted to get a baseline for what to expect out of this orientation of components. Here are the numbers:
PCMark 10 gave our rig an overall score of 5106 with a score of 8188 in the Essentials category, 6995 in Productivity, and 6308 in Digital Content Creation. Within Cinebench R15 we found our system hovering around 1308 cb in the CPU tests and ~92 FPS in the OpenGL testing. In 3DMark Time Spy, our GPU received a score of 4395 while the CPU scored a 6050 with unfortunate frame rates in the 20s for both.
RealBench 2.56 gives us a few time based measurements to look at. After running it’s paces, RealBench gave us an Image Editing score of 104,209 with a time of 51.1276 seconds, an H.264 Video Encoding score of 111,045 with a a time of 47,9803 seconds, OpenCL score of 87,214 with KSample/second rates of 15569, and a Heavy Multitasking score of 99,488 with a time of 76.7127 second. Overall, RealBench 2.56 gave our system a 99,739.
The AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi is an enthusiast grade board that seeks to put as much control in the hands of the end user as possible. Whether it’s in the BIOS or AORUS App Center, Gigabyte has put a high value on options and control for the end user while wrapping it in an eye-catching design. With onboard heatsink, sensors, and software-based controls, you can keep a close eye on your components while you adjust your rig to its ideal performance point.
The X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi is stunning piece of tech, but pretty impractical for the average user. While you are getting premium components for the $229.99 USD, many X470 boards and B450 boards on the market offer Zen+ support out of the box and performance tweaking at a fraction of the cost. The caveat to this is that they also offer a fraction of the options.
If you are looking for a motherboard for a Ryzen rig that offers a wide range of control for fine tuning with top end components and connectivity, Gigabyte’s flagship motherboard is a stunning contender. But before you run out and buy this motherboard, don’t let all of the pretty RGB distract you. Make sure that it is what you need for the rig you are building and that you will use all of the options the X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi offers.
- High levels of control over RBG lighting, thermal control, and overclocking options
- On board heatsinks keep power components running cool
- Out-of-the-box Ryzen 2000-series support
- Great connectivity options
- CPU Fan header location can be difficult to get to
- Gigabyte’s software suite feels cumbersome
- Dual BIOS mode can offers system stability, fairly inconsistent with how it triggers
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.