In a house as huddled and competitive because the desktop-PC motherboard market, worth swings of $20 or $30, that typically happen daily, will create a large distinction in what makes one board a much better choice versus another.
Of the Z170 “Skylake” boards we’ve checked out up to now, MSI’s Z170A recreation M5 was our favourite, as a result of it packed several of the substantive options of the a lot of costlier Asus Z170 Deluxe into a beautiful red-and-black package. It enclosed, among alternative niceties, 2 PCI categorical x4 M.2 connectors and a try of metal-wrapped, bolstered PCI categorical (PCIe) graphics-card slots.
When we started testing Gigabyte’s black-and-gold GA-Z170X-UD5, we tend to in real time noted that its feature set was even a lot of expansive, together with 2 a lot of SATA ports than the MSI board, protecting metal wrapping around all 3 PCIe slots, and a collection of aboard action buttons. This, combined with Gigbyte’s clear labeling of most of the board connectives and also the inclusion of a connector for simplifying the installation of the disagreeable front-panel pin headers, created it simple to advocate paying concerning $10 further for the GA-Z170X-UD5 over the MSI board. that is significantly true if you would like a better install method and just like the look of gold accents over MSI’s a lot of aggressive red.
But as we tend to were wrapping up the review of the GA-Z170X-UD5, the value distinction between these 2 boards flipped. As of time period 2015, the computer memory unit board was the cheaper of the 2, at $159 on Newegg.com (with a further $10 rebate card), whereas the MSI Z170A recreation M5’s worth was holding steady at $179 (with a $15 rebate card).
To be sure, given all you will probably pay on a replacement “Skylake” computer, together with a replacement electronic equipment, DDR4 RAM, Associate in Nursingd no matter else you cannot (or don’t desire to) carry over from an older system, a $15 or $20 worth distinction between 2 boards is pretty minor and each stay nice decisions for those trying to create a contemporary recreation or enthusiast computer on an affordable budget. However if the GA-Z170X-UD5’s current worth sticks, undercutting the MSI board, we’d wholeheartedly advocate choosing this computer memory unit board. it’s a much better set of overall options, together with an additional USB header, and it’s easier to create or upgrade a system around whether or not you are a novice or a DIY veteran.
Of course, if your case incorporates a window and you are not keen on the Gigabyte’s gold accents, the MSI board is additionally value considering. And, as always, ensure you check costs before shopping for. By the time you scan this, there is not any telling what rating are. The apparatus could swing back the opposite approach, in MSI’s favor, between these 2 specific boards.
But supported options and style alone, we tend to just like the computer memory unit board slightly higher than the MSI recreation M5. Really, though, either choice is a superb price with options that ought to create most the foremost extreme builders happy.
Skylake Basics: New Socket, New Chipsets
Before we tend to get into the small print of the GA-Z170X-UD5, it’s value going over the most options of the Z170 chipset itself, to form positive you recognize usually what to expect from any Z170-based board.
The top-end Intel Z170 chipset, that works collectively with the new socket for “Skylake” chips (LGA 1151), brings some fairly substantive new options. For starters, Z170 boards can support up to twenty PCIe three.0 lanes, instead of the eight lanes of PCIe two.0 provided by most Z97 boards. (That’s additionally to the sixteen PCIe three.0 lanes provided by the electronic equipment, that remains an equivalent with Skylake.) the additional lanes come back due to Associate in Nursing upgrade to the DMI interface that connects the electronic equipment to the chipset, and that they area unit vital, given the rising prevalence of PCIe-based storage (via M.2, SATA categorical, or drives that plug directly into a PCI categorical slot, like Intel’s SSD 750 Series).
Considering we’ve however to envision a graphics card saturate even eight lanes of PCIe three.0 (which has doubly the information measure of PCIe two.0), you ought to be ready to install 2 graphics cards in an exceedingly Z170-based system, in addition as up to 3 PCIe x4 drives, and still have six lanes to spare for alternative peripherals (like, say, a Thunderbolt-based RAID drive box or two).
That’s enough for many mere mortals these days. those that would like even a lot of PCIe lanes, though, can still have to be compelled to improve to the pricier Intel X99 platform, and its dearly priced chips just like the Core i7-5960X Extreme EditionBest worth at Amazon. However we tend to suspect that every one however the foremost extreme enthusiasts and digital-content producers are glad with the PCIe information measure offered by the Z170 chipset.
The new chipset brings support for up to 3 PCIe-based drives in an exceedingly system, whereas holding support for 6 SATA 6Gbps ports. For memory device, Z170 currently supports up to ten native USB three.0 ports (up from six in Z97 boards) and fourteen USB two.0 ports. There’s no categorical mention of USB three.1, either Type-A or Type-C (see our primer, “The Basics: USB three.1 and USB Type-C”), therefore support for which will seemingly still depend upon supplemental chips else to specific board models, because it will with this board from computer memory unit.
Of course, alternative 100-family chipsets also will air supply with lesser options, or with options designed for business users. we tend to saw a number of those previewed in dribs and drabs at Computex 2015, and a wealth of boards supported these alternative chipsets (the B150, H170, Q170, and H110, among others) ought to launch within the coming back months (a few supported the B150 and H170 were here at this writing), alongside any details concerning what options they’ll supply. (This Techs pot piece lays out a number of the first data on non-Z170 chipsets.) However Z170 is that the highest-end chipset within the lineup, therefore those craving for the most effective options, in addition as support for high-end elements, shouldn’t stay up for those alternative boards and chipsets.