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Help a newbie choose a z170 motherboard?

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UncleGrandpa

Registered
Joined
Nov 16, 2016
Howdy all :)

Or should I say Good Morning!? LOL

Anyways, I'm trying to build a gaming PC around the 6600k and GTX 1060 or RX480 with the possibility of upgrades. I'd like to get a mid-range motherboard that gives me the most for my money (up to $200) so I've been researching and came up with a list of middle of the road alternatives that I will look for on Black Friday.

So far these have made it into my list:

MSI Gaming M5 and M7
Gigabyte Gaming 5 and 6
Asrock Extreme 6
Asrock Gaming K6
Gigabyte UD5

I'm building this PC for a young gamer that will be using this computer for at least 5 years, so I am hoping to find a mobo that can handle overclocking to a decent degree and also has good quality materials. I've been trying to figure out this power phase business but haven't really succeeded so far lol. Though I assume the more power phases the better.

Feel free to suggest any mobos that you think are missing from my list and let me know which one you'd prefer among these (I've seen some of these for the same price so I would have a hard time choosing). Thanks! :)
 

dejo

Senior Moment Senior Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2001
if you arent planning to overclock to high levels- any z170 board will do the trick. The more power phases you have the more potential you should have for going crazy.
Personally I am a fan of the Asrock boards. They do their job well and are reasonably priced to the competition. But any board of equal build level (price) should be similar. Asus I do feel you pay a bit more than the rest of the majors, meaning you would need to step up on price to get the same ability from th em
 
OP
U

UncleGrandpa

Registered
Joined
Nov 16, 2016
Hi dejo, thanks for the advice :) I heard from someone else that the Asrock is very good. He said they tend to overclock better and have a nicer BIOS. I'll definitely keep that in mind. Yeah it seems the Asus boards sell for a higher price overall, I guess that's why I don't have any on my list haha. But yeah I definitely want the best/most features for the money.

If it came down to the MSI M5 and the Gigabyte Gaming 5 being on sale though, which one would be better in your opinion?
 

LutaWicasa

, Immutable, Administrator
Joined
Dec 22, 2000
Location
Huntsville, AL
To date I have done 3 builds with the Asrock Extreme6....solid boards.
Just get a board that offers whatever features are important to you and use :thup:
 

Mjolnir

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2009
Location
Sydney, Australia
The MSI Gaming 5 is known to have some problems when trying to OC. Avoid it (usually around lack of LLC). M7 has this.

IMO Go with Asrock Extreme4/6 or if similar price Asus Z170-AR/Pro Gaming. They'd be my choices :)
 

wingman99

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
Don't concern your self with phases on Intel when overclocking on ambient cooling, My 6 phase budget Gigabyte Z170 HD3 does fine at 4.5GHz.

I like Gigabyte the Bios is easy to work with and when it won't boot up do to a incorrect overclock settings the board will boot back into Bios default Automatically so folks can make changes. I would go for GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming.
 
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EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
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Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Hi dejo, thanks for the advice :) I heard from someone else that the Asrock is very good. He said they tend to overclock better and have a nicer BIOS. I'll definitely keep that in mind. Yeah it seems the Asus boards sell for a higher price overall, I guess that's why I don't have any on my list haha. But yeah I definitely want the best/most features for the money.

If it came down to the MSI M5 and the Gigabyte Gaming 5 being on sale though, which one would be better in your opinion?
It's going to be the same difference really out of any boards you listed. So long as it has the features you need, it's down to looks amd price. I'd buy any of those boards and they'd all take a 6700k to its air cooled limit. ;)
 

DaveB

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2000
I had a very easy and totally stable i5 6600K overclock to 4.6 GHz with a $70 ASRock Z170M Pro4S. If you buy a combo with the i5 6600K at Microcenter, you get another $30 off the motherboard so the out the door cost will be $179 for the i5 660K and $40 after rebate for the ASRock Z170M Pro4S. You could then either just pocket the savings, or upgrade to a GTX 1070 GPU or whatever else floats your boat.
 

Jeff G

Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
Two things I didn't look at when I bought my board - built in 802.11ac wifi and Bluetooth 4.0.
While the wifi is of no use to me (my computer never moves), the Bluetooth 4.0 would have been nice. I never realized how much I would miss not having Bluetooth until I needed it to connect something like a mouse/keyboard, game controller, headset, etc.

Several boards in the sub-$200 range offer these features (the Gaming 5 has a version with them). If the user is going to ever take the PC to a friends house or be mobile with it, the built in WIFI will be a nice bonus.
Really, any of them are going to overclock the same with a 6600k on air. Like others have said, find the one that has the features you want. Make a list of must-have features, and find the board that has them all. If there's several boards that meet your requirements, find the one that looks coolest!
 
OP
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UncleGrandpa

Registered
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Nov 16, 2016
It's going to be the same difference really out of any boards you listed. So long as it has the features you need, it's down to looks amd price. I'd buy any of those boards and they'd all take a 6700k to its air cooled limit. ;)

Thanks so much, this puts my mind at ease haha. I didn't want to buy something that might be too weak to overclock even with the H7. I might get a liquid cooler at some point later but I don't know yet. That's why I want to get something that isn't terrible for OC just in case.

DaveB, yeah Microcenter is great, I'm pretty sure I will be getting my memory from them as well. They have the EVGA SuperSC on sale every so often. I saw the 2800 cas15 DDR4 at only 69.99 about a month ago (and they often have $5 coupons). Once it hits that price again I plan to get 2x8GB :)

I saw an Asus Z170-Pro (not the "gaming" kind though) on clearance at my local store and it was cheap. I was wondering if these too are about the same as the other mb's in my list. I do like the color scheme on it a little more but can live with a copper colored mb if the Asrock is better. It's not like I'm entering my computer in a beauty pageant lol

I do plan to buy a windowed case, probably the Phantom 240 :)

I just read this about the Pro: "It should be noted that this is not a true ten phase design but in reality a 4 phase layout with each phase doubled up, and the additional 2 phases are dedicated tertiary functions."

It sort of left me confused. Does anybody know what the Asrock's true phases are?

Thank you all for the suggestions!
 
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wingman99

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2003

Some times I wonder if the review sites know what there talking about. Then Intel CPU has 3 separate rails, the cores, memory controller, ingrated GPU, So 8+2 does not add up.

Here is a link to read about everything You Need to Know About The Motherboard Voltage Regulator Circuit. LINK: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/ever...-the-motherboard-voltage-regulator-circuit/5/

On motherboards where the voltage regulator circuit provides more than one voltage to the CPU, the manufacturer will refer to it like "x+y" or "x+y+z", where "x" is the number of phases for the CPU main voltage ("Vcore"), "y" is the number of phases for the CPU integrated memory controller and "z" is the number of phases for the CPU integrated video controller.
Read more at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/ever...tage-regulator-circuit/5/#JbSrV9Biyz6lwdYD.99
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
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Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Voltage domains are typically what I hear that called. Rails are more often referred to on a psu and is a single voltage (where these others can be different). A 'rail' itself implies it's one value... like 12V rail.

Occasionally sites won't mention the igpu (also note, HEDT platform doesn't have igpu) so there are only two voltage domains for HEDT...well, depends on the processor really... because remember Haswell had the FIVR so it was only one voltage to the cpu and the cpu then broke it down. ;)
 

wingman99

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
Voltage domains are typically what I hear that called. Rails are more often referred to on a psu and is a single voltage (where these others can be different). A 'rail' itself implies it's one value... like 12V rail.

Occasionally sites won't mention the igpu (also note, HEDT platform doesn't have igpu) so there are only two voltage domains for HEDT...well, depends on the processor really... because remember Haswell had the FIVR so it was only one voltage to the cpu and the cpu then broke it down. ;)

Yes I know about Haswell. However the Asus Z170-Pro there are 10 chokes and the reviews say 8+2 phase so where is the phase for IGPU on the motherboard?
 

EarthDog

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Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Our review mentioned it as 8+2 as well (side note he tested a 6700k to 4.8ghz just fine ;)). Often, this is how it's presented to us in press materials. It is assumed (at least that is how i assume) it's integrated into the core phases when it's mentioned like that. Those that use igpu aren't buying motherboards like this so it's hardy worth a mention imo.

Would some motherboards have a dedicated phase for the igpu (meaning same phase is used for igpu and only igpu) so maybe on those boards it's mentioned in x+y+z instead of x+y?
 

wingman99

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
Well that does not make any sense if they incorporate the IGPU with with the core voltage circuit and they don't incorporate the memory controller voltage circuit.. There should be 3 separate voltages from the link I posted.
 

EarthDog

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Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Maybe. Sometimes they only give you one number....so who knows.

For this board, I haven't run across a review yet that split it into 3 values. I've seen 8+2 and 10 phase.