Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5 – mATX Gaming Muscle from Gigabyte

Testing & Methodology

We’ve expanded our testing suite considerably since the X79 chipset release, and will continue to use the same methods for most of the motherboards and CPU’s we test. In the interests of thoroughness and accurate results, we run each test at least three times, and some tests more than that. We average the total of all the tests from each benchmark then report the average here.

The OS we use is Windows 7 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.

Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear pre-fetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.

One thing to note is that we are revamping our testing method in order to better represent motherboard performance and offering to you guys the consumer. Also we want to make it an easier read for you without miles of endless charts. Please feel free to provide feedback on what you think as many benchmarks will be shuffled or removed completely.

Test Rig

Test Rig
Case Open Test Bench
  • Intel Core i7 4790K (Haswell – LGA1150 – Z97)
  • Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell – LGA1150 – Z87)
  • Intel Core i7 4960X (Ivy Bridge-E – LGA2011 – X79)
  • Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5
Ram GSkill TridentX 2666MHz
CPU Cooler Swiftech 240mm rad custom loop
Hard Drives Western Digital Velociraptor 1TB 10000RPM 6Gb/s Hard Drive
SSD 1x Kingston HyperX 240GB SATA III 6Gb/s SSD
1x Plextor m6e M.2 512GB SSD
Optical ASUS DVD-Burner
GPU Intel iGPU or Nvidia GTX 680
PSU Thermaltake Toughpower XT 1475W Gold
Mouse Tt eSPORTS Black Gaming Mouse
Keyboard Tt eSPORTS Meka G1 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Test Suite

We will use the following applications to test the performance of the Z87 Chipset (Motherboard, Processor).

SuperPi Mod 1.5
Wprime 1.55
PCMark 7
3DMark 11
Cinebench R11.5
Truecrypt 7.1
Unigine Heaven 4.0
Metro 2033
Batman Arkham City
Sniper Elite V2


The Z97 platform is actually very similar to the Z87 in the terms that the CPU is really the limiting factor for most day-to-day clocks.

The CPU clocking for this chip on air/water walls right at 4.8GHz and wont walk past it no matter what, yet some chips I have tested retail go as high as 5.1 on air/water but it really is all lottery/luck of the draw.


As you can see here 1.32V read in CPUz 1.28V Actual via voltmeter and set in BIOS is enough to run 4.8GHz rock stable with no issues. Now do understand that chips vary a lot so your chip may require more volts or less or maybe wall at 4.6GHz theres no way to know till you test it.

Ram Clocking once again is about standard for Haswell and I have hit 2666, 2800 even 3000MHz depending on ICs used on the sticks. The issue here is not frequency as we have plenty of that but doing it with good timings and that I think is the bet balance users need to understand to optimize system performance.

Important note: Overclocking can cause component failure. Please exercise caution when attempting any level of overclock on system components.

PCmark 7


First up is PCMark and well honestly the computation difference between 4770K and 4790K is pretty big due to the stock frequency being higher.


3DMark 11


3DMark shows theoretical gaming performance while using a discreet GPU and as you can see and something I have said multiple times previously is that CPU frequency once past a certain point makes very little difference for graphics performance as there simply is not a bottleneck and the jump to 4GHz base speed gives very little in terms of performance gained.



This tests single threaded performance and clock efficiency by processing digits of the number pi. going from 4770K to 4790K with its higher clock speed and 4.4GHz max turbo frequency we see a drop of almost 3 seconds which is a good result and I’m sure as the BIOS improves you will see even further efficiency improvements.



WPrime is similar to Superpi, but is multi core aware and you can set the core count. We used 8 threads to take advantage of the 4790K’s HyperThreading ability.

As you can see here the higher speed once again makes for some great performance increases handing off much faster processing times which in turns means you can get more work done in the same duration of computing.


Cinebench R11.5

“CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer’s performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more. MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based). The resulting values among different operating systems are 100% comparable and therefore very useful with regard to purchasing decision-making. It can also be used as a marketing tool for hardware vendors or simply to compare hardware among colleagues or friends.”

Here you can see where the high-end rendering work can be done. There are some definite improvements on the x86 processing, but when looking at the OpenGL rendering, you see once again that while some increase is there it is not as huge as the CPU processing due to the lack of bottleneck for the bus.



Transcoding has become more popular now and the latest processors added support for AVX instruction for faster video transcoding. The 4790K does not disappoint with substantial numbers but in terms of overall power pending you have the big money for a X79 setup it can crunch up a lot more data faster but compared to he 1st gen Haswell the 4790K is a bump in the right direction.


Truecrypt 7.1


TrueCrypt is a real world application that gives a good indication of the true performance of our latest processor. it once again pulls a nice lead over the 4770K but once again being highly threaded the X79 setup definitely trumps it by a decent margin.


Unigine Heaven 4.0

Unigine Heaven is a benchmark program based on Unigine Corp’s latest engine, Unigine. The engine features DirectX 11, Hardware tessellation, DirectCompute, and Shader Model 5.0. All of these new technologies combined with the ability to run each card through the same exact test means this benchmark should be in our arsenal for a long time.


Unigine Heaven on a discrete GTX 780 gains less than a single Frame in testing as the bus is not the limit so increasing the frequency did very little to improve it.


Metro 2033


Metro 2033 is a very heavy graphics loading and with this once again you see that with a discreet GPU the CPU or bus is not a bottleneck. There is a small bump from efficiency but overall it performs very similar.


Batman Arkham City

batman AC

Batman AC is a pretty popular game as is a lot of the Batman series games, seen from the above results you can see its a bit more CPU bound which is why you see a little jump here as well.


Sniper Elite V2

sniper elite v2

While Sniper Elite V2 shows very high max FPS across the board, max FPS shoots up a lot but average FPS sits almost exactly the same.

Review Overview

Performance - 8.5
Value - 9.5
Quality - 9
Features - 8.5
Innovation - 8


The Z97MX-GAMING 5 is a stout board in a small package with features that make it a great buy at a excellent price.

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