The mini-ITX form factor is becoming extremely popular with gamers who will be using a single graphics card because it allows them to build a system with premium components that is small and easy enough to take with them to LAN parties or other events. The problem with mini-ITX motherboards has been that they lack many features that their larger ATX counterparts offer. Well Gigabyte is changing that with their Z170N-Gaming 5 motherboard that has all of the features you would want in a full-size ATX motherboard, but in the tiny mini-ITX form factor. Gigabyte was able to pack in Killer E2200 gaming networking, Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 support, a PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 slot, two USB 3.1 ports (1x Type-C, 1x Type-A), and even 802.11ac dual band wireless. Gigabyte wants this to be the perfect board for gamers building in the mini-ITX form factor. Is it? Let’s take a look and find out!
MSI’s Z170 motherboard product stack is pretty full, there are so many motherboards it is hard to narrow it down to a single board for your Z170 build. MSI has put a lot of focus on their Gaming Series that their Pro Series is often overlooked. Today we will be taking a look at a motherboard that has everything that you would want in a Z170 motherboard, without many of the extras that you won’t use. With that it comes in at a price that won’t break the bank. The motherboard I am talking about is the Z170A SLI Plus which features two shielded PCI-Express slots that support SLI and CrossFire, a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, USB 3.1, and six SATA 6GB/s ports. As you can guess this board is designed for people who will be using two graphics cards and do not need all of the extra things on many of the motherboards we see on the market. Let’s see if the Z170A SLI Plus is the perfect board for your next Z170 build.
The X99 platform is an expensive platform to go into. The processors are expensive, the quad channel DDR4 is expensive, and the motherboards are expensive as well. With Gigabyte’s second round of X99 motherboards they wanted to bring out a fully-featured board that could get you on the X99 platform at a reasonable cost. This is where the X99-SLI comes in. It is very much like Gigabyte’s X99-UD4, with a few features left out. Probably ones most users won’t even notice. You still have an all digital power design, 3 and 4-way graphics support, dual M.2 slots, SATA Express, Gigabyte’s AMP-UP audio, and much more! If you are looking to get into the X99 platform and want a solid board that is not going to break the bank this could be the board for you. Let’s see what it can do!
Since the introduction of the Z170 chipset we have taken a look a quite a few different motherboards, but none from ASRock. They were kind enough to send us over their top of the line Z170 Extreme 7+ motherboard, which sits as the top board in their Extreme Series. The Z170 Extreme 7+ is build on ASRock’s Super Alloy Design, features a 12-phase all digital power design, three Ultra M.2 slots, four USB 3.1 ports, support for quad-SLI and 3-way CrossFire, ASRock’s Purity Sound 3 and more! As you can see this board has quite a lot to offer and that is only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a look at the Z170 Extreme 7+ and see what ASRock has in store for us with the Z170 chipset and Skylake platform!
Gigabyte’s G1 Gaming series motherboards have been some of the company’s most popular over the past few years, especially with the X99 and Z97 chipsets. Skylake and the Z170 chipset are here and that means an entire new line of G1 Gaming motherboards from Gigabyte! The board we are taking a look at today has been on radar ever since it was first revealed at Computex earlier this year. The Z170X-Gaming G1 sits as Gigabyte’s top of the line or flagship gaming motherboard. It has everything that a gamer and an enthusiast would want, and Gigabyte has pulled it off in style too! The board has RGB LED clusters in 3 different places on the board and on the rear I/O shield. Gamers will appreciate the 4-way graphics support, Killer DoubleShot X3 Pro gaming networking, and professional-grade audio. This is just the tip of the iceberg too, let’s jump in and see what the Z170X-Gaming G1 is all about!
Skylake and the Z170 chipset is here and we are going to take a look at one of MSI’s motherboard offerings for the Z170 chipset. MSI has done an interesting thing with their Gaming Series motherboards. Because other manufacturers have copied their naming scheme they have named their boards Gaming “M” to distinguish them. So today we are checking out the MSI Z170A Gaming M5 motherboard, this naming scheme makes me think of BMW models! The Z170A Gaming M5 sort of sits in the middle of MSI’s Gaming M series with the M3 below it and the M7 and M9 ACK above it. Each of MSI’s new Z170 Gaming motherboards are loaded with features and the Z170A Gaming M5 is no exception with Killer E2400 Gaming networking, USB 3.1 support, dual M.2 slots, MSI’s audio boost 3 audio solution, steel reinforced PCI-Express slots and much more! Let’s take a look and see if this is the Z170 motherboard for you!
Skylake is officially here! Since Skylake brings with it a brand new architecture and chipset that means we have a bunch of motherboards launching today! The biggest improvement on Z170 chipset is that you get 40% more high-speed I/O lanes (PCI-Express / USB 3.0) compared to Intel’s 9 Series chipsets. If you want the low-down on Intel’s Core i7-6700K processor be sure to check out our review, which went up earlier today. Our first Z170 motherboard review will be ASUS’s Z170-A, which is designed to bring you all of the features of the Z170 chipset, but at a very low cost. This motherboard has great hardware features like USB 3.1, SATA Express and M.2, but also great tuning options like auto-tuning, fan-tuning, and even the ability to use your mobile device as your keyboard and mouse. Let’s take a look and see what ASUS has in store for us with the Z170 chipset!
Mini-ITX motherboards have been extremely popular over the past couple of years. So much so that many case manufacturers have created special cases just for the form factor that have become some of their best sellers. Typically Mini-ITX motherboards have been reserved for mainstream systems, recently we saw many impressive Z97 Mini-ITX motherboards. But what about Intel’s HEDT (High-End Desktop) platform? Because of the size of the CPU package the thought of having an X99 motherboard in the Mini-ITX form factor was unheard of, until ASRock released the X99E-ITX/ac. They were able to fit the LGA2011v3 socket onto a Mini-ITX form factor and still have room for quite a lot of other features. The only real downfall of this motherboard is that you are limited to dual-channel memory and you have to use ASRock’s included proprietary CPU cooler, which we will get into a bit later in the review. But this board packs in ASRock’s OC socket, a SATA Express port, Ultra M.2 slot, Wireless 802.11ac + Bluetooth, USB 3.1, ASRock’s Super Alloy design and much more! Let’s see what this tiny, yet powerful motherboard is all about!
Gigabyte has three very distinct motherboard lines in their X99 lineup and offer quite a lot of motherboards compared to most brands. They have their G1 Gaming Series, Overclocking Series, and Ultra Durable series. While the specific motherboards in each category are targeted at a certain type of user, many of their features cross into each category. For example the G1 Gaming series motherboards overclock quite well. Since the X99 chipset has been out for a little while now we are seeing a second wave of motherboards from manufacturers. The X99-Gaming 5P from Gigabyte is one such motherboard and is the replacement for the soon to be retired X99-Gaming 5. Gigabyte has actually added new features to this motherboard to make it even better. Let’s jump in!
It is not often we see limited edition motherboards, maybe one or two a year maybe. So when ASUS said they were sending me a limited edition motherboard I was quite excited. The color white in the PC enthusiast scene has become extremely popular over the past couple of years. PC case manufacturers have really adopted it with a wide variety of all white cases, there are white power supplies, even a few all-white graphics cards, but a white motherboard is something very hard to come by. ASUS is changing all of that with their Sabertooth Z97 Mark S Limited Edition Motherboard. This motherboard is part of ASUS’s TUF (The Ultimate Force) line of motherboards so it has the TUF Thermal Armor and TUF Fortifier. ASUS has changed the colors of these to arctic (white) camo to give the motherboard a truly unique look. On top of that they have actually built the motherboard on a completely white PCB. Not only is this truly unique it really makes the motherboard look amazing. Being an ASUS motherboard that is part of the TUF series it has quite a lot of features as well, let’s take a look!
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