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Stuck choosing a solid Z170 board

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NewbieOneKenobi

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Location
Warsaw/Poland
I know what the boards are, and I know that what's the better pick is often dictated by the relative price. Deals and opportunities change faster than I type this.

Focus on stability and electrical protection, as well as good cooling. DDR4 only, mobo shouldn't fuss about the sticks. M.2 needs to be real 4-lane PCI-E, 2 slots would be welcome but not a must-have. USB 3.1 preferred. Both SLI and CF preferred. Bad rep is an absolute bar because I can't afford periods of instability or WTF-suprises from BIOS updates introducing new incompatibilities when I have an urgent deadline on a client project.

What I am considering:

Asus:
Z170-P (either NIB or used is available)
Z170-K used


Gigabyte:
Z170 Gaming K3
Z170 HD3P used (about $25 cheaper than most here)
GA-Z170X-GAMING 3 Z170X
Z170 XP-SLI

MSI:
Z170 Tomahawk
Z170-A used (about $25 cheaper than most here)
Z170 Gaming M3 used
Z170-A pro (not a fave)
PC Mate (not a fave)
Krait (not the cheapest of all, perhaps a bit more expensive)

Asrock:
Z170 Pro4S used (about $25 cheaper than most here)
Z170A-X1/3.1 used
FATAL1TY Z170 GAMING K4
FATAL1TY Z170 GAMING K6 (not the cheapest of all)
EXTREME 6+ (a bit more expensive)

Biostar:
GAMING Z170X Ver. 5.x (a bit more expensive)

Difference from the cheapest to the most expensive is within 25%, less after removing outliers.

Need a clear favourite but would also appreciate knowing which ones are best avoided e.g. due to high rate of DoA/poor RMA handling. I'm not on current terms with that, as I don't work in the industry or have many friends who are enthusiasts, so there's only so little information (basically what I pick up here or stumble on by accident when reading tests, reviews etc.).

HALP?

EDIT: Inclined to rule out ASUS due to BIOS issues and Asrock due to larger GPUs blocking M.2. Out of MSI, probably skipping Krait and Mate. Not sure about M.2 blockage, but in any case the location of M.2 always seems to be less than ideal — as in somewhere hot and less than accessible. Above the GPU is more accessible but hotter and more difficult to cool with heatsinks and fans. Below GPU is less accessible but will at least benefit from GPU cooling if mounted in parallel to mobo. There doesn't seem to be any mobo with M.2 moved to the edge or mounted perpendicularly or something else that could help. :/
 
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Jeff G

Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
I had the Extreme6 for 1 day (rma'd for a 1 in a million bios issue), but when I had it I was able to hit the xmp profile and my ram ran as advertised. No muss or fuss. Hit the overclock menu and had my 6700k running 4.6 in a few seconds. Very easy to work with. My only complaint on it was it seemed to take a bit longer to boot than normal (about 7 seconds longer than my last build).
It's a pretty solid board, and Im looking forward to getting my replacement.
Its one of the few boards that offers 6 usb3 ports on the IO.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Just get an M.2 SSD with one of the AIC adapters and use it...
 

MoGeo

New Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2016
It's more than you want to spend ($220) but the ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Professional Gaming i7 LGA 1151 has 3 M.2 slots, 10 SATA3, 3 SATA Express. Each M.2 removes 2 SATA3/1 SATA Express. This is currently my favorite board but finding the right board is a struggle.
Good luck
 

Steven90

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Location
USA
I have the a stock z170 extreme 4. The m.2 placement is under the first pie slot but its honestly not a big deal unless you plan on pulling out the ssd all the time.
 

wingman99

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
I'm very happy with my Gigabyte Z170-HD3 have not had a problem with the board, I did have some question to ask about Bios functioning, they have phone or messageing support and they answered all my questions.

If I was you go for the GA-Z170X-Gaming 3 or the GA-Z170-HD3P.
 
OP
N

NewbieOneKenobi

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Location
Warsaw/Poland
Thanks, guys. Wow, three M.2 slots. I've never seen that before. The though of a mini ATX/ITX crossed my mind, but I eventually decided against, because I've always been attached to full-size boards, and all habits die hard. Asus Maximus Gene was another candidate. But maybe my next rig. I'll all already be favouring a chassis with no drive bays if possible.

Extreme 4 and Extreme 6 were both candidates here. But eventually I found a good bargain on Fatality 6 and decided to jump on it. There was actually a good one on Extreme 6 too, but with the $18 difference I went for Fata1ty, as I was unable to decide otherwise.

Gigabyte Z170-HD3 definitely was a candidate, especially at $115 or so — solid board with external clock generator. I almost bought it before I found the K6 promo ($141).
 

captainthrall

Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2016
I feel your pain brother. It took me a week to come to a decision on a board. Here are a few basic questions you might want to consider:

Do you have a transparent or open-window case? If no, then appearance doesn't matter.

Did you get an xxxx-k unlocked chip? If no, then overclocking features don't matter.

Realistically, after the initial few weeks during which the board is new and fun and you're playing with it, will you ever mess with the BIOS? If not, then BIOS quality doesn't really matter.

How many SATA devices will you use?

How many USB ports do you need?

Do you need USB 3.1 (a/c/whatever)?

Does your case have any other special connections that your MOBO will have to accommodate? headphone jack, hdmi, etc.

Once you answer all of those questions, that should narrow your search down to about 9 billion different mobos:sly: Then just choose one you like, do a little research, watch some youtube reviews, and wait for it to go on sale. That's what I just did, and I feel confident and happy with my purchase. Good luck!