Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ECS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ECS

The ECS Z170-Lightsaber motherboard is the newest offering in ECS' L337 product line with support for the Intel Z170 Express chipset. The Z170-Lightsaber builds on their previous Z170-based product, adding several enthusiast-friendly features like enhanced audio and RGB LED support to the board. With an MSRP of $180, ECS priced the Lightsaber as a higher-tiered offering, justified with its additional features and functionality compared to their previous Z170-based product.

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Courtesy of ECS

ECS designed the Z170-Lightsaber with a 14-phase digital power delivery system, using high efficiency chokes and MOSFETs, as well as solid core capacitors for optimal board performance. The following features into the Z170-Lightsaber board: six SATA 3 ports; one SATA-Express port; a PCIe X2 M.2 port; a Qualcomm Killer GigE NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; four PCI-Express x1 slots; 3-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, Quick overclock, BIOS set, BIOS update, BIOS backup, and Clear CMOS buttons; Realtek audio solution; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI video port support; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Gen2 port support.

Continue reading our review of the ECS Z170-Lightsaber Motherboard!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus VIII Impact is one of the Intel Z170 chipset offerings in the ROG (Republic of Gamer) board line. The board features the standard black and red ROG aesthetics in an mini-ITX form factor to accommodate space constrained system builds. ASUS chose to integrate black-chrome heat sinks into the board's build, giving it a sleek and modern appearance. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset integrates support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. With an MSRP of $250, the Maximus VIII Impact comes a price premium for a high-quality and feature packed product.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS integrated the following features into the Maximus VIII Impact board: four SATA 3 ports; one U.2 32Gbps port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; 2x2 802.11ac WiFI adapter; one PCI-Express x16 slot; on-board power, reset, Clear CMOS, and USB BIOS Flashback buttons; 2-digit Q-Code LED diagnostic display; ROG SupremeFX Impact III 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus VIII Impact features an eight phase digital power system, providing more than enough power to the CPU for any task you throw its way. The power delivery system itself consists of International Rectifier PowIRStage MOSFETs, MicroFine alloy chokes, and 10k-rated Japanese-sourced black-metallic capacitors.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Maximus VIII Gene motherboard!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Z170X-Ultra Gaming motherboard is among the latest offerings from GIGABYTE in their G1 Gaming product line, introducing Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1, and LED enhancements to thier Z170 boards. The board features a base black aesthetic with integrated red LEDs spread throughout its surface for a sleek look. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset gives the board support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. The Z170X-Ultra Gaming has a base sellng price of $160, a more than reasonable price for the integrated features and the board's performance.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE integrated the following features into the Z170X-Ultra Gaming mortherboard: two SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one U.2 32Gbps port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; 2x2 802.11ac WiFI adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; Realtek 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated mini-DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

Continue reading our preview of the GIGABYTE Z170X-Ultra Gaming motherboard!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus VIII Formula is the latest board in the ROG (Republic of Gamer) board line, featuring the Armor overlay common to the Formula and Sabertooth boards, integrated RGB LEDs throughout the board's surface, and support for the Intel Z170 chipset. The base board aesthetics feature the ROG standard black and red in an ATX form factor. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset gives the board support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. The Maximus VIII Formula can be found in the wild for an MSRP of $399, making it more expensive than most offerings but justified in light of the integrated features and design quality of the board.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS integrated the following features into the Maximus VIII Formula board: four SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one U.2 32Gbps port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; 2x2 802.11ac WiFI adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; on-board power, reset, MemOK!, Clear CMOS, and USB BIOS Flashback buttons; LN2 Mode jumper; Aura LED 12V power header; 2-digit Q-Code LED diagnostic display; Q-LED support; ROG SupremeFX 2015 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus VIII Formula features an impressive 10 phase digital power system in an 8+2 configuration, providing more than enough power to the CPU/GPU for whatever you choose to throw at it. The power delivery system itself consists of Texas Instruments NexFET MOSFETs, MicroFine alloy chokes, and 10k-rated Japanese-sourced black-metallic capacitors.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Maximus VIII Formula motherboard!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus VIII Extreme is the flagship in the ROG (Republic of Gamer) board line, offering supporting the Intel Z170 chipset. The board features the standard black and red ROG aesthetics in an E-ATX form factor to best accommodate the slew of features and supported options offered with this board. ASUS integrated black chrome heat sinks with integrated LEDs for a unique and customizable look. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset integrates support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. The Maximus VIII Extreme may not be very approachable for most users at its $499 MSRP, but the price remains justified given the sheer amount of features integrated into the board and the included accessories.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS integrated the following features into the Maximus VIII Extreme board: four SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one U.2 32Gbps port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; 3x3 802.11ac WiFI adapter; four PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; on-board power, reset, MemOK!, Safe Boot, ReTry, DirectKey, Multi-GPU, BIOS Switch, Clear CMOS, and USB BIOS Flashback buttons; Slow Mode and PCIe Lane switches; LN2 Mode jumper; ProbeIt voltage measurement points; 2-digit Q-Code LED diagnostic display; ROG SupremeFX 2015 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support. ASUS also included their Fan Extension controller card and OC Panel II device and accesory pack with the Maximus VIII Extreme board.

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS included their OC Panel II device with the Maximus VIII Extreme motherboard. This device can be used as an external panel or case-mounted using the included 5.25" device bay. The OC Panel II gives user access to a variety of OC settings as well as board bus speed, temperature, and fan speed monitoring settings. Additionally, the panel provides additional fan and temperature headers as well as headers used for advanced overclocking endeavors.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme motherboard!

Gigabyte's Z170X-UD3 for the middle of the road enthusiast

Subject: Motherboards | June 8, 2016 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Z170X-UD3, Intel Z170

At $150 Gigabyte's Z170X-UD3 is within the budget of many system builders but the question remains as to the value you get for that money.  The Tech Report delved into this topic in their recent review and the prognosis is good, especially if you can find it on sale for $120 like they did.  They did find the firmware somewhat limiting, though some of us do like the Classic Mode UEFI the fan speed control is quite limited.  Gigabyte did address that with their System Information Viewer utility for Windows which does allow for fine control and when asked Gigabyte did suggest they may address this in a new UEFI update.  With three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, USB 3.1 and a pair of M.2 ports you do not suffer for connectivity and the overclocking potential is certainly acceptable for this price point.  Check out their full review here.

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"Gigabyte's Z170X-UD3 is a mid-range motherboard that gives builders everything the Z170 chipset has to offer and more. We take an in-depth look at this board to see whether it lives up to the promise of its impressive spec sheet."

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MSI's Z170A SLI Plus, covering all the basics and a bit more to boot

Subject: Motherboards | May 9, 2016 - 05:51 PM |
Tagged: msi, Z170A SLI PLUS, Intel Z170

The MSI Z170A SLI Plus is a full sized ATX board with a lot of space on it, providing not only nice clean looks but also space for air to flow around components.  It is available for around $140, a decent price for the feature set it comes with. There are three x16 PCIe 3.0 slots, six SATA 6Gbps and an x4 M.2 slot which will accept U.2 with the proper adapter and a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port offering the full benefits of the new standard.  The Tech Report loved the simple design of the board and were more than impressed with the manual overclocking potential; check out their full review here.

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"MSI's Z170A SLI Plus is a mainstream board that gives builders everything they need and nothing they don't—at least on paper. We reviewed this board to see whether its real-world performance lives up to its promising spec sheet and relatively friendly price tag."

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Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ECS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ECS

The ECS Z170-Claymore motherboard is the newest offering in ECS' L337 product line with support for the Intel Z170 Express chipset. The Z170-Claymore is a more enthusiast-friendly design then some of their previous offerings with a slew of features sure to entice gamers and power users alike. ECS priced this board competitively with an MSRP of $159.99, a price point sure to appeal to a wide swath of users given the board's integrated feature set.

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Courtesy of ECS

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Courtesy of ECS

ECS took out all of the stops with the Z170-Claymore, integrating a host of features together with high quality components for a compelling product. The board was designed with a 12-phase digital power delivery system, using high efficiency chokes and MOSFETs, as well as solid core capacitors for optimal board performance under any operating conditions. ECS integrated the following features into the Z170-Claymore board: four SATA 3 ports; one SATA-Express port; a PCIe X2 M.2 port; a Realtek GigE NIC; five PCI-Express x16 slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power and reset buttons; Realtek audio solution; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI video port support; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Gen2 port support.

Continue reading our review of the ECS Z170-Claymore motherboard!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

The ASUS Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 motherboard is the latest addition to the TUF (The Ultimate Force) product series. ASUS updated the armored-version of their Sabertooth board for Skylake processor support using the Intel Z170 chipset, including other functionality upgrades and design changes to for a better user experience. The Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 comes with an MSRP of $259.00 with features to more than justify its cost.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS continues to evolve the armored Sabertooth board, enhancing and improving the last generation design with the Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1. The board includes the line's signature TUF Thermal Armor board overlay and TUF Fortifier back plate. With the new revision of the Thermal Armor, ASUS integrated to fan ports into the rear panel and middle of the board into its design as well as flow ports over the wrap-around CPU VRM heat sinks to adjust the airflow through the Thermal Armor. The board is designed with an 8+4 phase digital power system featuring alloy chokes redesigned to run cooler than previous generation chokes, 10k-rated Titanium capacitors, and military-grade TUF MOSFETs. Additionally, ASUS integrated on board ESD (elctro-static discharge) protection into the rear panel keyboard/mouse, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, LAN, and audio ports to protect the motherboard and integrated components from voltage fluctuations and power surges.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 motherboard!

MSI's mini-ITX Z170I GAMING PRO AC is versatile but perhaps not for the dedicated overclocker

Subject: Motherboards | February 16, 2016 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: Z170i Gaming Pro AC, msi, Intel Z170, lga1151, mini ITX

At $172 the price of the MSI Z170I GAMING PRO AC may be bigger than the actual board, as it is a mini-ITX motherboard.  As with many modern mini-ITX boards, the amount of features included is nothing short of amazing, apart from the single PCIe 16x slot which all boards of this size are limited to.  It does have a pair of DDR4 slots supporting up to 32GB, four SATA 6Gbps ports, a single SEx port and M.2 slot, five USB 3.0 and a half dozen USB 3.1 ports; connectivity includes wired, WiFi and even Bluetooth.  The overall design is quite attractive though the reviewers at [H]ard|OCP were not a fan of the overclocking ability nor the positioning of the M.2 slot on the rear of the board, see if those negatives outweigh the positives in their full review.

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"The Z170I GAMING PRO AC motherboard is poised to be a tiny powerhouse for SFF builds or for those of you looking to focus on "less is more." If you are looking to make the jump to an Small Form Factor build, or you want to update an existing build you won’t want to miss this feature rich Mini-ITX motherboard. "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP