Looking for Z170 Mobo Suggestion

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Sep 6, 2011
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Having trouble deciding.

Looking to spend ~$200-300
More interested in features.

I don't plan to upgrade after this for quite some time, so I want to make sure to get some USB 3.1 A and C connectors on the mobo, and the best bang for my buck.

I was looking at the ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero, Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 7 and the MSI Z170A Gaming M5

Looking for other suggestions/ opinions.
 

bonehead123

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I've had the rig in my sig since Feb '16 and have been extremely happy with it. Very quiet, fast, and cool, with all the features I was looking for in a standard ATX size with solid components and a little future-proofing too :)
 

jmilcher

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I've been using a gaming 7. Probably the best motherboard I've used in years. I'm glad I passed on Asus this build.
 

SolidBladez

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I've been using a gaming 7. Probably the best motherboard I've used in years. I'm glad I passed on Asus this build.

The only thing that I don't like about the board is that I get really bad monitor flicker using 2666MHz+ memory and also using the iGPU. If I lower my memory to say 2133MHz, no flicker. The latest F8l hasn't fixed this issue. :(
 

jmilcher

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The only thing that I don't like about the board is that I get really bad monitor flicker using 2666MHz+ memory and also using the iGPU. If I lower my memory to say 2133MHz, no flicker. The latest F8l hasn't fixed this issue. :(
I have no clue since I do not use the igpu. It is disabled. For me it has been a perfect board.
 

jmilcher

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jmilcher , bonehead123

The only thing I see on the Gaming 7 I don't like right now is the memory compatibility list. Nothing over 2400, and given how picky some boards are with faster memory, I'm not sure how much headache it might end up being. Thoughts?

http://download.gigabyte.us/FileList/Memory/mb_memory_ga-z170x-gaming7.pdf
If you look into it, you will find that memory speeds over 2400 show almost ne benefit, and are a terrible value when cost is involved.

But if you decide you must have it, tons of ram is supported by the motherboard but may not be on the QVL.

In the 20+ years I have been building PC's, ram has always worked as long as the voltage was supported by the motherboard.

Now if you are saying you want to "auto " everything and use XMP etc, then I guess you have a point.
 

rastaban

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Just wanted to mention that for a future looking board, you may want to consider Thunderbolt support. Some boards have implemented the Intel Alpine Ridge chip with TB support but there are only a few of them currently available. I can't particularly recommend my own Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 TH though mostly because of poor UEFI and fan controls.
 

NoxTek

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No complaints with my gigabyte gaming 7

I'm seriously considering this board to replace my current Asus Maximus VIII Ranger (Z170). Aside from being notorious for cold boot power cycling issues, Gigabyte boards have always been super solid for me. So much so that my last several boards have been Gigabyte (Z68XP-UD3, EP45-UD3P, P35-DS3L, etc).

This Asus board and my experience with their tech support has done a damned fine job of steering me clear of EVER buying an Asus motherboard again. It's ironic because I absolutely love their video cards, especially the STRIX / DirectCU builds.
 
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bonehead123

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The only thing I see on the Gaming 7 I don't like right now is the memory compatibility list. Nothing over 2400, and given how picky some boards are with faster memory, I'm not sure how much headache it might end up being. Thoughts?

But if you decide you must have it, tons of ram is supported by the motherboard but may not be on the QVL

Hummmm...perhaps that explains why my rig runs so well with 3400 then ?
 

Pillars

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I use a GB Gaming 7 with the 3600Mhz G.Skill on the QVL, the 2x8Gb kit. Nothing but a flawless A+ experience.
 

Pillars

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Also. I get no monitor flicker at 3600Mhz ram and 4.6Ghz on my 6700k. Using DP/1440p 165Hz.
 

lukart

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Have you considered Asrock? Usually they have great features for the pricing they ask for.
Had myself my number of issues with MSI and made the switch few years ago and never looked back. Solid mobos.
 

xLegendary

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You got 200$, get the Asrock Z170 Extreme 6+ it's amazing board and packed with features and ports.
 

Pillars

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Asrock just has a bad taste in my mouth from all the cheap boards they used to crank out in 1155 days :(
 

skeeder

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Anyone able to shine light on the bad reviews? seems every Asus board has RAM issues...

No complaints with my gigabyte gaming 7

Any significant reason to get the 7 over the Gaming 3?
 

Pillars

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Obvious feature sets, more robust phasing. Much higher dram support, etc etc.
 

Sw1sher

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Any significant reason to get the 7 over the Gaming 3?

I guess for OC'ers, the 12 power phase is preferred on the gaming 7 over the gaming 3's 8. Nothing really significant for me, i just got it at a great price ;)
 

rastaban

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I guess for OC'ers, the 12 power phase is preferred on the gaming 7 over the gaming 3's 8. Nothing really significant for me, i just got it at a great price ;)
Indeed the 4 extra phases are practically a moot point since 8 phases is already a lot. I woiuld feel very comfortable with 8 phases for a solid OC.
 

bonehead123

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I picked it because it ALL had the features I wanted, and I got it for a good price at the time as part of bundle deal (mobo/cpu/ram)...

Also, when buying new, major components, I tend to buy upper-mid to higher-end components.

A strategy that has served me well in past, and continues to do so now too :)
 

hakstarr

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Thanks everyone for commenting on this thread I too have been trying to figure out a decent build and could not decide on the MB. I was waffling over the Gaming 7 and not sure if I should risk it the biggest hesitation I had was because of all the complaints people had about the sound card creating static and loud noises.
 

NickJames

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Asrock just has a bad taste in my mouth from all the cheap boards they used to crank out in 1155 days :(

Opposite experience for me, I have a few Asrock Z68 boards still kickin in my servers and friends builds. They are my favorite for go to budget builds.
 

Hellstoaster

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I have a Maximus VIII Hero and can't say enough good things about it. I've had it for around 10 months or so now and it's been great. Rock solid and OC'd well. The sound quality from the onboard audio has been pretty good and everything else has worked flawlessly. If you do get an Asus ROG board just stay away from their horrible AI Suite monitoring tools.
 

Vudaz

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Asus ROG boards usually are overpriced. Go with MSI or GIGABYTE.
 

thesmokingman

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Go with the ASUS, but just know that if features you want? You won't find that on a Micro-ATX board.

If features you want, then the Asus Z170 Deluxe, that one is loaded with future proof accessories and for $100 it's the one to go if I were to build a system that would last for 5 years min.

But instead of the Gene, I'd take the Hero better, because it's an ATX.

ROG for gamers

Deluxe for features and added accessories.

If not, whichever one of the other two.

Get teh ROG, by way of the Formula and you get everything and the kitchen sink. The Max 8 Formula is probably the most well equipped of the whole asus lineup.
 

psy81

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I use a GB Gaming 7 with the 3600Mhz G.Skill on the QVL, the 2x8Gb kit. Nothing but a flawless A+ experience.

Thing is this board is picky about RAM as I found out early.

Tried several ram not on the QVL list that ran for 2800MHz and none of them worked. After several blue screens and trips back and forth I got the only ram sticks on the QVL my local computer store had (check the sig) so stuck with these unless I want to order online.

The guys that work at the store (Canada's Computer) are pretty clueless but they said they saw several customers returning RAM on this board and that is sucks for RAM compatibility compared to other boards.

The QVL also doesn't seem to list any 32 GB ram compatibility. Is this accurate?

Other than that, I'm pretty happy with this board. Got a small OC on a relatively low voltage bump, love how the rear IO lights up, and goes perfect with my case. Wish it had more USB at the back but no big deal.
 

D1RTYD1Z619

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I've been looking for a z170 as well and one of the features I've come to look for is HDMI 2.0(4k @60hz). I currently have a 4k monitor but my 2600k igpu is only able to push 1080p. I sold my GTX 980 and was going to get a GTX 1080 but now I'm thinking a 1080ti might come out by the end of the year so I should just wait. My point being if you think you'll find yourself in my situation with a 4k 60hz monitor and no vid card cause it died or you sold it for max value before the next big thing comes out then maybe consider a board with that feature. Just food for thought especially since you said you weren't upgrading for a while.
 

Pillars

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Thing is this board is picky about RAM as I found out early.

Tried several ram not on the QVL list that ran for 2800MHz and none of them worked. After several blue screens and trips back and forth I got the only ram sticks on the QVL my local computer store had (check the sig) so stuck with these unless I want to order online.

The guys that work at the store (Canada's Computer) are pretty clueless but they said they saw several customers returning RAM on this board and that is sucks for RAM compatibility compared to other boards.

The QVL also doesn't seem to list any 32 GB ram compatibility. Is this accurate?

Other than that, I'm pretty happy with this board. Got a small OC on a relatively low voltage bump, love how the rear IO lights up, and goes perfect with my case. Wish it had more USB at the back but no big deal.


Strange, I've had no issues with this kit : G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 3600 (PC4 28800) Intel Z170 Platform Desktop Memory Model F4-3600C16D-16GVK - Newegg.com - I figure only use 2x8GB as 16gb is all I need for gaming and I'm not certain if you can run 4 sticks at 3600Mhz easily on skylake. With this setup, I've had 0 lockups or issues. Just be sure to use the onboard voltage readout when overclocking as vdroop was pretty bad without LLC. Also, you're not stable until you're ROG Realbench 24+ hour stable. I could do all tests 4.6Ghz 1.3ish all day but GTAV and Realbench LONG runs were the real deal. All games run flawlessly and with a 950 duo this setup is really, really fast. Blows my 4790k build out of the water when it comes to windows/steam loads etc. After delid I also don't see above 60C. Good luck!
 

psy81

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Strange, I've had no issues with this kit : G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 3600 (PC4 28800) Intel Z170 Platform Desktop Memory Model F4-3600C16D-16GVK - Newegg.com - I figure only use 2x8GB as 16gb is all I need for gaming and I'm not certain if you can run 4 sticks at 3600Mhz easily on skylake. With this setup, I've had 0 lockups or issues. Just be sure to use the onboard voltage readout when overclocking as vdroop was pretty bad without LLC. Also, you're not stable until you're ROG Realbench 24+ hour stable. I could do all tests 4.6Ghz 1.3ish all day but GTAV and Realbench LONG runs were the real deal. All games run flawlessly and with a 950 duo this setup is really, really fast. Blows my 4790k build out of the water when it comes to windows/steam loads etc. After delid I also don't see above 60C. Good luck!

I see from your earlier post that the RAM your using is on the QVL list so that's probably why you've had no issues. I was using RAM not on the QVL list at the start which is where I ran into problems and blue screens. This was before I even started overclocking. I always get the memory steady first before moving onto the CPU. The sales guys were saying other boards aren't as picky as Gigabyte boards when it comes to RAM which if its true kinda sucks. I want to get a 32GB kit at 2800MHz or higher but I don't see any on the current QVL list. You're right about vdroop, I was seeing some really bad dips at the start before I set my LLC to high. Now everything is steady. I was actually steady at a lower voltage but gave it just a bit more juice just in case. When I started I did P95 for an hour, if passed moved it up until it failed. I didn't want to go near the 1.4 mark so kept it where it is and tested P95 for 4 hours to be sure. I've played hour and hours of Far Cry 4 and 2 months into this build and no crashes so I think I'm good!
 

Erisa

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I went with the ASUS Maximus VIII Gene and it has been great. After only a few minutes I had my i7-6700k overclocked to a stable 4.6 GHz. It was my first mATX build. The only issue I had was that my fairly large air cooler blocked one of the PCIe slots, but since I only intend to use one graphics card, it's not really a problem. It also runs linux problem free.
 

GeekVerve

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Consider the Gigabyte Z170 Designare. Sata Express, M.2 and U.2 connections with fullly-integrated Intel Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controller and 2-USB 3.1 Type-C ports. It doesn't get much more future-proof than that on a Z170 board.

Just understand that utilizing the 3rd PCIe slot, M.2 and/or U.2 connections disables some or all of the SATA3/Sata Express ports. This kind of feature availability shenanigans is practiced with pretty much all motherboards these days, though, and is not a concern for me, as my upcoming build will not utilize any SATA drives.
 
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magoo

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Little off the subject, but I have three builds with the ASUS VII Hero boards and I have found them to be the most trouble free, feature rich boards(for the price) I have worked with.
They have OC well and have been up and running for 18 months without a problem.

I'd buy Hero boards without thinking twice.
 
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