Skylake's launch caused some initial curiosity because of its split RAM compatibility. The Skylake memory controller is capable of running both DDR4 and DDR3L memory – but not both simultaneously – and is compatible with platforms hosting both memory slot types. Importantly, DDR3 is not the same as DDR3L (low voltage), so just re-using Z97 platform DDR3 sticks won't necessarily (but could) work with Skylake boards.
Biostar's Hi-Fi H170-Z3 motherboard is among the first options to support both DDR3L and DDR4. With four DIMM slots and two per memory type, you're limited to a single DIMM per channel (dual-channel supported) with a maximum of 2 sticks per configuration. Using DDR4, a maximum memory configuration of 32GB (16GB per slot) is supported, with just 16GB (8GB per slot) on DDR3L.
Today we're reviewing the Hi-Fi H170-Z3. We've gone through the board design, UEFI, and some basic objective tests. Being that the board uses the H170 chipset, overclocking was not possible and not tested.
EVGA's Z170 Stinger ($200) motherboard, something we reported on months ago, markets itself on enthusiast-level features in a mini-ITX form factor. The motherboard hosts Intel's newest “Performance” Z170 chipset, meaning it supports the latest i7-6700K, i5-6600K, and all the other forthcoming Skylake CPUs.
The Z170 Stinger is inherently restricted by opting for a mini-ITX form factor, but attempts to make the best of the space available with careful selection of supported I/O through the chipset. The unit hosts a single PCI-e slot and two memory slots – standard for mITX – along with a set of four SATA ports. This is reserved compared to larger motherboards, but allows a 6.7” x 6.7” size for use in SFF or gaming HTPC system builds.
Our review of the EVGA Z170 Stinger gaming motherboard will run through the specs, cooler clearances, BIOS, and relevant tests. Aesthetics aren't really something we like to discuss – the photos do that – but we'll talk through a few key points on that front, too.
Skylake is in full production – as is Broadwell. And the Kaveri refresh. And a lot of things, really – it's been a busy summer. With all the simultaneous product launches comes the industry-wide update to system integrator websites and pre-built offerings.
iBUYPOWER is the first SI we're reviewing for its implementation of Intel's Skylake platform. The company's “Gamer Paladin Z980” pre-built machine is now shipping with the Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, with our deployment hosting an i7, GTX 980 Ti, and 16GB DDR4-2800. The total build cost for our (loaner) review system is priced-out to ~$1824. That's a big sticker.
Our review of the Gamer Paladin Z980 aims to benchmark the system for gaming performance (FPS), thermals, and compare the pre-built option against a DIY approach. We've assembled a part-to-part price comparison and matched that against a GN-recommended build. Not everyone wants to DIY – and that's fair – but it's still important to ensure the prices match up.
Let's get to it.
Today marks the public release of Intel's codename “Skylake-S” platform, a new 14nm microarchitecture designated for use in the company's newest line of CPUs. The Core series CPUs see accompaniment from a new Z170 chipset, found on each of the motherboards included in our Skylake Z170 board round-up. Skylake is targeted heavily at the PC gaming userbase, which is currently experiencing a heavy surge in platform adoption.
Intel's platform flagship is the i7-6700K ($350), sticking to the well-known 4-core, 8-thread approach by way of matured hyperthreading technology. Prior to Skylake, Intel shipped its Devil's Canyon update to Haswell, a worthwhile, same-price replacement with slightly bolstered clockrates. The “Haswell Refresh” CPUs have been mostly forgotten at this point, but were released in close proximity to Devil's Canyon. This string of same-generation releases is uncharacteristic of Intel, who generally launch the mainstay i7 and i5 for each architecture before immediately shifting gears to the next platform release.
We recently got to visit CyberPower's offices in California, where the company had a few Z170 motherboards on display in a conference room. We're not talking Skylake specifics for a little while yet, but we did want to share these ASRock and Gigabyte Z170 motherboards with everyone.
Details and photos of the new ASRock and Gigabyte Skylake-S Z170 motherboards are below. No prices yet exist for any of these boards, though they likely parallel their 9-series counterparts.
Note that these boards may be incomplete versions, so some specifications could change in the final production run. The Gigabyte board is bare and not fully outfitted, but gives an initial look at the platform.
Intel’s newest CPU, Skylake-S, is coming up soon -- early August, rumor has it. Alongside a new CPU comes a whole new chipset and series of motherboards. The motherboard manufacturers are all showing off their latest Z-series Intel motherboards of late, hosting the newest Z170 chipset for the next iteration of Z-class motherboards for Intel CPUs.
Skylake isn’t the topic of discussion for this article as it is unreleased (and little is publicly sharable), so we’re instead focusing on the current information of the newest LGA 1151 Z170 chipset for Intel’s Skylake.
ASUS, ASRock, Biostar, EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI have all shown off their latest products – each not wanting the other to steal the spotlight. We have compiled the specs for the new Skylake Z170 chipset motherboards for our latest round-up. Our previous guide was the Z97 roundup. I suppose a yee-haw is in order.
Intel's Skylake-S PCs will soon be in-hand for analysis, with a launch expected in the first week of August. Gigabyte is among the first motherboard manufacturers to showcase its Z170 motherboards, starting with its high-end G1 Gaming board in red and white.
We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.