Z170 moth­er­boards: A sam­pling plat­ter

HWM (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

Of course, the afore­men­tioned tech­ni­cal­i­ties don’t do a lot for vi­su­al­iza­tion. We’ve rounded up a few boards from ma­jor man­u­fac­tur­ers to show you what’s re­ally on of­fer.

ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gam­ing K6

The ASRock Z170 Gam­ing K6 sports a matte black PCB and strik­ing ac­cents of red along the heat sinks, PCIe, and RAM slots. The PCH heat sink has also been em­bla­zoned with the sil­ver pray­ing man­tis em­blem of the Fatal1ty se­ries.

Net­work­ing is han­dled by the Killer E2400 Eth­er­net con­troller that also fea­tures on boards from Gi­ga­byte and MSI. Stor­age op­tions in­clude up to eight SATA 6Gbps ports and a sin­gle M.2 slot that sup­ports both SATA and PCIe-based drives. The M.2 slot also sup­ports a U.2 adapter kit for in­stal­la­tion of NVMe 2.5-inch drives like the In­tel 750 se­ries SSDs, and sim­i­lar adapters are also avail­able for boards from the likes of ASUS and MSI.

In ad­di­tion, USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports again make an ap­pear­ance on the rear I/O panel, cour­tesy of the fa­mil­iar ASMe­dia 1142 con­troller. Other stand­out fea­tures in­clude a macro pro­gram called Key Master to help you pro­gram hotkeys and macros on both key­board and mouse, and an ex­ter­nal base clock gen­er­a­tor for finer con­trol over over­clock­ing.

ASUS Z170-Deluxe

This board sits at the top of ASUS’ lineup of main­stream Z170 boards, adorned with a strik­ing white rear I/O cover and heat sinks. The Deluxe comes with pre­mium fea­tures like 3x3 802.11ac Wi-Fi, five USB 3.1 Type-A ports, and one USB 3.1 Type-C port. Z170 does not yet sup­port USB 3.1 on the chipset, so USB 3.1 func­tion­al­ity is pro­vided by the ASMe­dia 1142 con­troller, which is the go-to con­troller for se­lect boards from other brands as well.

There are eight SATA 6Gbps (in­clud­ing two SATA Ex­press ports), two more than the six sup­ported by the chipset. As with USB 3.1 func­tion­al­ity, ASUS has turned to the third-party ASM1061 con­troller to pro­vide the ad­di­tional SATA 6Gbps ports.

Net­work­ing is han­dled by dual In­tel I219-V and I211-AT con­trollers, yet another ex­am­ple of the third-party con­trollers needed to pro­vide ad­di­tional func­tion­al­ity like Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net. The first two ful­l­length PCIe 3.0 slots will run in x8/x8 mode (16 lanes from the CPU) with dual-graph­ics cards, but the last slot ac­tu­ally only runs in x4 mode off the chipset it­self.

An in­te­grated 5-way Op­ti­miza­tion fea­ture au­to­mat­i­cally takes into ac­count var­i­ous use cases and op­ti­mizes your sys­tem for ei­ther per­for­mance or energy sav­ings.

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