More ex­pen­sive boards, but cooler CPUs

HWM (Malaysia) - - FEATURE - HWM

lanes. In ad­di­tion, this would al­low moth­er­board man­u­fac­tur­ers to im­ple­ment up to three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots on their boards, com­plete with RAID sup­port. But even though Z170 of­fi­cially sup­ports 10 USB 3.0 ports (up from six on Z97), six SATA 6Gbps ports, and 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes, you can’t have ev­ery­thing all at once be­cause the USB 3.0 and SATA ports use PCIe lanes as well. For ex­am­ple, pop­u­lat­ing both M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slots on the MSI Z170A Gam­ing M9 ACK will end up dis­abling two of the six SATA 6Gbps ports. This is be­cause the SATA ports use a PCIe lane each, which over­laps with the lanes used for the M.2 slots. Fi­nally, In­tel Z170 will see moth­er­board man­u­fac­tur­ers re­turn to im­ple­ment­ing volt­age reg­u­la­tion on the board it­self. This was the case prior to Haswell CPUs, but Z97 and Haswell/Broad­well pro­ces­sors saw In­tel cre­ate a fully in­te­grated volt­age reg­u­la­tor (FIVR) on the CPU it­self in or­der to re­duce moth­er­board costs and power con­sump­tion. How­ever, this also had a less de­sir­able con­se­quence in the form of ad­di­tional heat out­put in over­clocked CPUs. As a re­sult, over­clock­ing was lim­ited by tem­per­a­tures, and also by the vary­ing qual­ity of the FIVR on in­di­vid­ual chips.

With Sky­lake and Z170, In­tel has handed the task of volt­age reg­u­la­tion back to moth­er­board, which could re­sult in cooler pro­ces­sors, but slightly more pricey boards.

The top two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots fea­ture me­tal re­in­force­ments to sup­port heav­ier graph­ics cards.

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