Being designed to work with Intel’s 8th Generation Processors, Gaming 3 uses socket LGA 1151. This socket is surrounded by two large heatsinks – both are independent and not joined. Gaming 3 utilizes a 8+2 digital phase design and CPU power consists of an 8-pin socket.
GIGABYTE has included two CPU fan headers near the socket and on the bottom-edge there is a header designated for the water pump. Ideally, we’d have liked to see the water pump header located towards the top of the board rather than at the bottom.
There are a total of five headers (included these three).
Memory support arrives in the form of dual-channel DDR4 – up to 64GB and DDR4 2666/2400/2133MHz. Also located in this region we have a 12v RGB header for use with lighting strips to make fully use of RGB fusion and there is a single USB 3.0 header immediately next to the 24-pin ATX.
In terms of storage, Gaming 3 supplies us with six SATA 3 (6GB/s) ports – two are right angled and the other four are top-facing. It’s also worth noting that in this bottom corner, GIGABYTE has included a diagnostic LED panel which identifies any problems during the boot process with CPU, DRAM, BOOT (device) or VGA. These handy features are useful if you run into any problems.
For a mainstream motherboard we still get a decent selection of PCI Express slots. There are:
• 3x PCI Express 3.0 X16 (Modes – 16, 4, 1)
• 2x PCI Express 3.0 X1
As we’ve seen on previous GIGABYTE motherboards, the upper X16 slot has been reinforced with steel to provide some extra support.
Among the PCI Express we have two M.2 slots as well as the M.2 (CNVi) slot for use with the WiFi module. The M.2 SSD slots support PCI Express Gen3 and Intel Optane Memory. The upper slot features a detachable heatsink with thermal strip – this can be applied to the top-side of the SSD to reduce temperatures.
Along the bottom of Gaming 3 we have another 12v RGB header and the audio components are found towards the bottom-left edge. The audio centres on the Realtec ALC 892 codec. All of the audio components are separated to avoid electrical interference and GIGABYTE also includes “High-end audio CAPs”.
Casting an eye over the back panel, there are quite an assortment of options to choose from for connectivity. Available here we have:
2x USB 2.0 ports
1x PS2 Keyboard/Mouse combo port
1x DVI-D port
2x USB 3.1 Gen1 ports
1x HDMI port
1x USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type C and Type A) ports
1x Gigabit LAN via Intel i219V
2x USB 2.0 ports
6x Audio jacks
So, plenty to use – we even see some legacy support for DVI, something which most brands have now moved on from in favour of DP/HDMI. There are also a few too many USB 2.0 ports instead of USB 3.1.