BIOSTAR GAMING H170T (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

by - 5 years ago

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Introduction


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BIOSTAR’s retail presence in the western market is rather small as stockists focus on the more recognizable vendors among consumers. Despite this, BIOSTAR is one of the leading Taiwanese global brands and produces a huge range of affordable hardware. Back in 2013, the company launched the first motherboard with an integrated Wireless LAN module which shows their commitment to innovation. Granted, BIOSTAR’s aesthetic design is an acquired taste and I strongly believe this is an area which needs fine tuning especially if they want to appeal to enthusiasts. While some users don’t really care about a motherboard’s appearance, it’s becoming quite common for system builders to have colour coordinated builds. Nevertheless, it’s always fascinating to test any BIOSTAR product and determine how well it stacks up against the competition.

As its name suggests, the BIOSTAR GAMING H170T is built on Intel’s H170 chipset, which supports the latest Skylake processors. Unlike the more expensive Z170 platform, overclocking is theoretically disabled on H170. However, BCLK overclocking is possible on H170 motherboards with the correct BIOS and even allows non-K CPUs to reach an impressive frequency boost. On another note, it’s essential to check every H170 motherboard’s specification as some models opt for DDR3L compatibility while others use DDR4 DIMMs up to 2133MHz. This particular example caters to the lower-end audience and features a maximum capacity of 32GB DDR3 memory, dual Gigabit LAN, 32Gb/s M.2 connector, and Realtek ALC892 audio codec. As a result, the GAMING H170T offers an attractive package for the budget-conscience user and I expect it to master the price to performance ratio.

Specifications

biostar specs

Packing and Accessories

The motherboard comes in an attractive box which clearly displays the model name on a leatherette background. This evokes a premium feel and reminds me of the Logitech G27’s leather rim. The overall design is understated but striking enough to appeal to the gaming clientèle.

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On the rear, there is a brief synopsis of the motherboard’s connectivity options, power phases and other essential features. Furthermore, graphical diagrams are used to explain the benefits of high-end components such 10K rated capacitors and durable ferrite chokes.

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In terms of accessories, the motherboard comes with a basic guide to use the Smart Ear 3D Utility, product catalogue and user’s manual. Unlike many booklets these days, the product catalogue is in colour which encourages the end-user to browse BIOSTAR’s extensive product range.

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Other additions include a driver disk, I/O shield, SATA cables, and M.2 screws.

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A Closer Look


From a visual standpoint, the GAMING H170T’s brown and black colour scheme doesn’t elicit any enthusiasm and looks quite mundane. On the other hand, anything which strays away from the absurdly overdone red and black gaming theme is a positive step, but I’m not entirely convinced this particular design will win any awards in the aesthetics department. It seems BIOSTAR have taken some inspiration from the ASUS Sabertooth range and added a plastic cover over the rear I/O and audio path. Personally, I quite like the commander logo and silver accents on the heatsinks. This combines rather well to create a sophisticated and unique appearance. However, the cover’s plastic is extremely fragile due to its thin construction which makes the end result appear gimmicky. Similarly, the BIOSTAR logo’s red insert doesn’t really match with the motherboard’s other heatsinks and creates a fairly haphazard finish. Overall, this is one of the best BIOSTAR motherboards I’ve seen in terms of looks, but it still pales in comparison to alternatives from ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI.

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Here we can see the DDR3 memory slots supporting up to 32GB 1866MHz, touch control panel, 24-pin connector in its optimal position, and LED post for diagnostics. It’s surprising to see an LED readout for a non-overclocking motherboard as you shouldn’t experience many booting issues due to the fixed RAM speed and CPU frequency. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt it have it on board and makes fault checking a simpler process. The touch control panel contains a power and reset button to test stability without having to attach the front panel connectors. I’m slightly perplexed why BIOSTAR didn’t use manual buttons but it seems to work pretty well. My only complaint is the panel’s LED illumination which can become obnoxious. This is especially the case when the power button LED keeps blinking at a frantic pace.

Near the CPU socket, two 4-pin fan headers are positioned adjacent to each other which lends itself to closed-looped-cooling apparatus. However, using any kind of water cooling on a stock frequency CPU is almost pointless unless you want to dramatically reduce the fan speeds to maintain silent running. Despite this, the CPU fan arrangement near the top makes cable management a breeze. There’s another three 4-pin system fan headers, two on the bottom and one near the rear I/O to give the end-user a huge amount of cooling options.

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Despite its lack of overclocking ability, the motherboard utilizes a 9 phase power delivery, and X.D.C (eXtreme Durable Capacitors). This means the power circuitry can easily cope with an i7-6700K’s stock voltage and it’s pretty overkill for these basic requirements. However, perhaps this exceptional level of circuitry could become vital if BCLK overclocking is unlocked via a BIOS update. The CPU area isn’t overly cluttered and provides enough space to work with larger air coolers. Furthermore, BIOSTAR have used a “Moistureproof” PCB to cope with extreme temperature variation and atmospheric changes. This should prolong the motherboard’s longevity and reduce the possibility of hardware failure.

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The GAMING H170T expansion configuration includes a 32Gb/s M.2 connector, two PCI-E x1 slots, two PCI-E x16 slots, and finally, two PCI slots to house older add-in cards. As you might expect, the motherboard supports Crossfire but I wouldn’t recommend this due to the x16/x4 electrical setup. Realistically, I don’t expect anyone opting for a H170 motherboard to go down the multi-graphics card configuration route. Please note SLI is not possible due to the chipset’s 22 HSIO lanes.

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In terms of audio, the motherboard has an embedded independent power design with an integrated amplifier. This dedicated section of the PCB reduces electromagnetic interference and produces enhanced audio clarity. BIOSTAR’s Hi-Fi utilizes a high sampling rate of 192Khz/24-bit and 110dbB SNR to create extremely crisp multi-channel audio.

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The GAMING H170T contains six SATA3 connectors and two SATA Express. While SATA Express is being phased out, it’s always a welcome addition and improves the motherboard’s flexibility.

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The rear I/O contains a PS/2 port, four USB 3.0 ports, VGA, DVI-D, DisplayPort, HDMI 1.4a, two USB 2.0 ports, two Gigabit RJ45 ports and 6-channel audio. It’s quite peculiar to see a dual network configuration on a budget motherboard, and I cannot see any reason why you would want to opt for the Realtek NIC instead of the highly acclaimed Intel i219V.

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Testing & Methodology


Before we delve into any testing we would like to take this opportunity to review our test system. All tests are conducted three times and the average taken to use in our charts.

Hardware

  • Motherboard varies by review
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 6700k
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 980Ti
  • RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport XT (2x8GB) 1866MHz (only used on Skylake without DDR4 support)
  • Cooling: Thermaltake Water 3.0 AIO with Gelid GC-Extreme
  • Case: Lian Li T80 Test Bench
  • Storage Drives: Main storage: Crucial MX200 250GB, Test Devices: SanDisk Extreme Pro 240GB SSD, Plextor 256GB M6e M.2 SSD and Patriot SuperSonic Magnum 256GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive
  • PSU: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 850W
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 64-bit
  • Networking: ASUS RT-AC68U router

Software

  • SiSoft Sandra Engineer – available here
  • WPrime – available here
  • Cinebench – available here
  • 3DMark – available here
  • Bioshock Infinite – available here
  • Tomb Raider – available here
  • AIDA 64 Engineer – available here
  • Latencymon – available here
  • Rightmark Audio Analyser – available here
  • LAN Speed Test Lite – available here
  • Passmark – available here

Memory

For our memory tests, we use the built-in memory benchmarks in AIDA64 Engineer and SiSoft Sandra. For more details on each of the benchmarks please see here and here respectively.

Storage

To test the storage performance in our motherboard reviews we use AIDA’s Disk Benchmark utility built into their AIDA64 Engineer Edition software package and run linear read and write tests. We run each of the benchmark tests on a SATA III, USB 3.0 and M.2 device. For SATA III testing we use a SanDisk Extreme Pro 240GB, for USB 3.0 testing we use the Supersonic Magnum 256 GB USB 3.0 flash drive and for M.2 testing we use Plextor’s 256GB M.2 M6e SSD. The drives are always formatted before use.

Networking

For our networking tests we connect the test system up to our Intel Gigabit-enabled ASUS Rampage IV Extreme X79 motherboard test system through the ASUS RT-AC68U router and run our tests. We opted for this over a direct point-to-point connection because we wanted to simulate real-world performance. For our WiFi tests we do the same except we connect the test system to the ASUS RT-AC68U router via WiFi at a distance of 2 metres from the router. The testing software we use for these are LAN Speed Test Lite and Passmark, available here and here respectively.

Lan Speed Test

LAN Speed Test was designed from the ground up to be a simple but powerful tool for measuring file transfer, hard drive, USB Drive, and Local Area Network (LAN) speeds (wired & wireless).  It does this by building a file in memory, then transfers it both ways (without effects of windows file caching) while keeping track of the time. Download the free Lan Speed Test Lite utility from here.

PassMark

The PassMark Advanced Network Test (which is part of PerformanceTest) is designed to test the data transfer rate between two computers both of which must be running PerformanceTest. One of the computers must act as the server and will sit waiting for a connection. The other computer acts as a client. It connects to the server machine and sends data to it for the duration of the test. You can download a trial version of PerformanceTest from here.

Power Usage

To measure power consumption we, use a “killawatt” meter and measure the total system power draw at the wall. We run three different use-case scenarios for 5 minutes and take the average reading.

RightMark Audio Analyser (RMAA)

RMAA suite is designed for testing quality of analog and digital paths of any audio device. The results are obtained by playing and recording test signals passed through the tested audio path by means of frequency analysis algorithms. A more common mark is also provided for those unfamiliar with measured technical parameters. Available here. We run the RMAA test using a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable connecting the line out to the line in to test the quality of the motherboard audio codec not any external audio devices. We run the complete playback and recording test at default settings and then get RMAA to interpret the results giving the below outputs. We sync the playback and recording audio devices to the same setting as the test for accurate results.

DPC

DPC is a Windows tool that analyses the capabilities of a computer system to handle real-time data streams properly. It may help to find the cause for interruptions in real-time audio and video streams, also known as drop-outs. This software is available for download free here.

wPrime

wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton’s method for estimating functions. wPrime is a free utility that is available for download here.

Cinebench R15

Cinebench is a widely respected benchmark for testing the performance of x86 CPUs. The program allows you to test single and multi-threaded performance as well as GPU performance by rendering with Open GL. Download here.

3D Mark

The new 3DMark includes everything you need to benchmark your hardware. With three all new tests you can bench everything from smartphones and tablets, to notebooks and home PCs, to the latest high-end, multi-GPU gaming desktops. Download here.

Tomb Raider

In Tomb Raider, the player is confronted with a much younger Lara Croft who is shipwrecked and finds herself stranded on a mysterious island rife with danger, both natural and human. Tomb Raider is a demanding game offering up ultra quality textures, full DirectX 11 support, SSAA, FXAA, MSAA and AMD TressFX technology.

Bioshock

BioShock Infinite is the third and last game in the BioShock series. It is a first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games. BioShock Infinite supports dynamic shadows, post-processing, light shafts, ambient occlusion, object level of detail, Diffusion Depth of Detail, FOV adjustment controls and other advanced DirectX 11 features.

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BIOS and Overclocking


There is no easy way to say this but the BIOS’s user-interface is ghastly and convoluted. Admittedly, it’s perfectly functional once you begin to overlook the horrid theme and become accustomed with the general layout. However, first impressions are key and the BIOS seems like a throwback to systems from a bygone era. When you consider how streamlined many modern UEFI BIOS setups are, it’s extraordinarily difficult to accept the flaws in this incredibly dated GUI. BIOSTAR desperately need to overhaul the BIOS’s visual design and navigation to create something which reflects hardware in 2015.

Complaints aside, the BIOS has the functionality required to monitor key system attributes and make manual tweaks. This page outlines the motherboard’s model name, BIOS version, memory capacity and frequency.

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The Advanced tab contains a huge array of options including Smart Fan Control, NVMe Configuration and ACPI Settings. As a result, it’s quite easy to alter many of the motherboard’s settings within one menu.

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Here we can see the fan control section which allows you to set a manual fan curve based on temperature readings. One excellent inclusion is the CPU Fan Calibrate which automatically gauges the RPM values to optimize your cooling hardware. Ideally, the BIOS would work better with RPM speed tweaks instead of a set start value. Although, I didn’t have any problems setting up a custom fan profile using this method.

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This page informs the end-user of key system readings including CPU temperatures, fan speeds, CPU vCore, and DRAM Voltage.

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It’s also possible to enable or disable key features of the i7-6700K including Hyper-Threading and Adjacent Cache Line Prefetch. However, for the majority of users, I would recommend leaving this on the default configuration.

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The Chipset menu allows you to change the PCH-IO, System Agent and Onboard Devices. Once again, unless you have very specific requirements, I wouldn’t modify anything here.

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Next, the Boot tab is useful to enable/disable foot booting, and change the drive order priority.

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It’s remarkably simple to set up an administrator password to prevent other users from accessing the BIOS. This is a welcome feature as I’m always concerned about family members going into the BIOS by mistake and changing values to unsafe limits.

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Given the furore surrounding BCLK overclocking, I couldn’t wait to see if this particular motherboard supported any frequency boosts in the BIOS. Rather unsurprisingly, you cannot adjust the BCLK. To be fair, the overclocking process on H170 is extremely new, and unofficial. Subsequently, I didn’t expect the BIOS to have this option but an update in the future could add overclocking functionality. On another note, the CPU Ring OC Ratio has a maximum figure of 42, and cannot be extended by this. In basic terms, this means you can only set the CPU to its core (x42) turbo multiplier.

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This page provides a great deal of information about memory timings and it’s possible to manually adjust these figures. However, unless you’re technically proficient and enjoy tweaking, it’s not worth your time.

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Even though the H170 chipset doesn’t support overclocking, it’s possible to undervolt the CPU and set your own Vcore. This should help to reduce CPU temperatures although it’s not really required given the stock frequency’s thermal efficiency under load. Here, you can also change the PCH Voltage, and DRAM Voltage.

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If the previous memory screen wasn’t detailed enough, it’s possible to browse each DIMM’s CAS rating, voltage, and frequency.

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The final page displays the system’s disk boot priority, allows you to load/save profiles and finalize any changes you’ve made in the BIOS.

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Overclocking 

As previously mentioned, Intel’s H170 chipset disables multiplier overclocking even with an unlocked CPU like the i7-6700K. Additionally, the current BIOS version doesn’t have an option to change the BCLK and force an enhanced frequency with a revised CPU strap. Nevertheless, it’s not a major issue on a budget-orientated motherboard and showcases how new the H170 BCLK process is.

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Software Overview


BIOSTAR’s software package is sorely lacking and feels like an after-thought. Honestly, I wouldn’t personally use any of these for a long duration as there are free alternatives with more polish. Each of the included programs don’t integrate well in a modern operating system and look like relics from the past. BIOSTAR should focus on creating software you actually want to use with enhanced functionality and adopt a similar visual style to the competition. Thankfully, this is an area which is easily fixed and with the right guidance, I’m sure BIOSTAR can create a superb software suite.

The first application replaces the start-up screen with an image of your choice or allows you to update the BIOS. At first I was flabbergasted by the software’s tiny size and found it difficult to focus on. Nevertheless, I quite like the idea of creating a custom splash menu and think it’s a novel idea. BIOSTAR just need to work on the GUI to make it more user-friendly.

software 1

I honestly hope the eHot-Line branding was lost in translation because it sounds like a piece of primitive malware. Not only that, it also looks suspicious and if someone had this installed on their PC, I’d remove it as a matter of urgency. While it might seem a bit harsh, I’m only trying to help BIOSTAR here, and inform them how to give the consumer a better experience. In this application, you can insert your e-mail, memory module details, and power supply maker to access technical help. The other concept is to simply e-mail their RMA department through a secure server which makes much more sense. To be blunt, the eHot-Line creates a terrible impression and shouldn’t exist.

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The Smart Ear 3D formulates a virtual surround space using headphones and allows you to adjust the volume, gain setting and choose between a good range of environmental presets. Graphically, it reminds me somewhat of a WinAmp skin and takes up far too much screen real estate. On the other hand, it provides enough features to be useful but there’s better options out there on the market.software 3

BIOSTAR’s BIOS Update application is designed to create a backup, or update the BIOS from a file or directly via their servers. It also outlines the current model number, and BIOS version so you can easily cross check a downloaded update with the current install. Once again, the program’s window is tiny which might be an issue for people with huge resolutions.

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The Green Power Utility displays key system statistics including CPU temperature, fan speeds, CPU voltage and CPU utilization. Furthermore, there are 4 default settings which tweaks the CPU’s frequency and power saving features depending on the usage scenario. Furthermore, the software can detect your specific requirements and automatically configure the CPU to the most suitable default profile. I’m not overly keen on the monitoring though as there’s no information relayed to the end-user. For example, what do the 4 green bars mean in terms of wattage? This needs to made more transparent.

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BIOSTAR’s TOverclocker utility underlines the CPU’s specification, core frequency and BIOS details.

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The most important tab here is labelled OC Tweaker which allows you to adjust the Power Limit, multiplier per core, and other advanced voltage settings. Please note, this isn’t a pathway to overclock the CPU as the multiplier is locked at x42 just like the BIOS. Despite this, the software offers a great deal of flexibility, but once again, the GUI doesn’t encourage the end-user to use it for prolong periods.

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Another piece of software entitled, ChargerBoosterII wouldn’t work on my test bench, despite re-installing the application twice. Perhaps this is due to a strange incompatibility issue in Windows 8.1 and needs to be run with specific parameters.

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CPU & GPU Performance


Cinebench

The GAMING H170T achieved a respectable Multi score but fell behind in the Single core benchmark. This is most likely due to the DDR3’s reduced bandwidth at 1866MHz impacting on the CPU’s performance.

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WPrime

In WPrime, the motherboard reported good results for a H170 chipset and almost defeated the server-grade SuperMicro C7H170-M.

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SiSoft Sandra

Here we can see the motherboard matched the SuperMicro C7H170-M in both tests and remained competitive.

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3DMark

To reiterate, any differentiation in 3DMark scores is usually down to driver updates. Nevertheless, the GAMING H170T almost reached first position during the Extreme preset benchmark which illustrates how capable the H170 chipset is.

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Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is optimized extremely well and always provides consistent results. In this particular case, the motherboard didn’t encounter any problems and performed superbly at 1920×1080 and 2560×1440.

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Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite has the propensity to throw up some weird anomalies, especially at 1080P. It’s still useful though to gauge performance across various motherboards and the GAMING H170T reported results within the integrated benchmark’s margin of error. At first glance, the performance might seem disappointing, but that’s down to the benchmark itself and not the motherboard.

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Memory Performance


AIDA64 Engineer

As you might expect, the DDR3 1866MHz DIMMs struggled to compete with faster DDR4 solutions, although the gap is less than pronounced than I initially anticipated.

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SiSoft Sandra

The motherboard’s memory bandwidth exhibits a similar pattern here and lingers behind our standard DDR4 bench system memory which operates at 2666MHz.

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Combined Latency Test

In terms of latency, the GAMING H170T scored rather well during AIDA64’s benchmark and didn’t falter against competing DDR4 modules.

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Storage Performance


Linear Read

The motherboard’s M.2 performance is absolutely phenomenal and way beyond what I expected. As you can see by the data below, there was a marked improvement over 200MB/s which almost defies belief. Clearly, the 32Gb/s M.2 port is working its magic and catapulting our testing drive to another level. Also, notice how well the SATA drive benchmarks.

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Linear Write

Unfortunately, there’s a complete reversal of fortune in linear write testing as the M.2 drive posts a fairly average speed. Although, it’s within a margin of error and only a minuscule amount from rising up the table. The motherboard’s SATA performance is much better and matches the best linear write rate we’ve encountered thus far.

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Networking Performance


LAN Speed Test Lite

During the review, I tried both network interfaces to give the motherboard a fair chance of achieving its maximum potential. In every single test, the Intel i219V came out on top and was selected for this reason. Here we can see fairly mediocre network performance but once again it’s very close to rising up the field and looking much better. This means I wouldn’t be overly concerned about the final figures.

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Passmark Performance Test 8 – Ethernet

In contrast to this, TCP throughput edged quite closely to 950Mbps and UDP performance defeated an impressive number of the competition.

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Passmark Performance Test 8 – CPU Work Load

The GAMING H170T’s CPU load results are exemplary, especially during TCP load testing.

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Audio Performance


In terms of audio quality, the motherboard’s isolated PCB design and Realtek ALC892 combine to create impressive performance grades across a wide range of sampling rates. Clearly, it’s not the best integrated audio solution on the market, but it’s very good when you take into account the codec and budget focus.

16 Bit, 44KHz (DVD Quality)

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16 Bit, 96KHz (Studio Quality)

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24 Bit, 96KHz (Studio Quality)

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DPC Audio Latency Analyser

In recent weeks, I’ve become slightly sceptical about Latencymon’s accuracy as the last few reviews have reported higher figures than I envisioned. However, even 300 is well below being problematic and perhaps another driver is causing an increase in our typical latency testing numbers. Currently, I’m looking to find a remedy to this problem. Whatever the case, the GAMING H170T achieves a low latency time and stays within a respectable range of the other results.

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Power Consumption


Under extreme stress, the motherboard consumes a very respectable 346 watts and helps to create an energy-efficient system.

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Final Thoughts


Pricing 

The BIOSTAR GAMING H170T is available for £83.99 from online UK retailer, eBuyer.com. Apart from that, it’s almost impossible to acquire the motherboard from any other leading store. In theory, this means the price is unlikely to fall as a result of market competition. Even worse, US customers can only purchase the product through BIOSTAR’S eBay store which involves a lengthy delivery period because the item is sent directly from Hong Kong. The total cost in this region is $119.99 plus $44.90 shipping. In terms of value, the GAMING H170T is dangerously close to affordable Z170 motherboards which feature full multiplier overclocking and unlimited frequency DDR4 memory support. For example, the Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3P retails for £89.99 and provides much better value for money. That’s not to say the GAMING H170T is poor value, but I honestly believe the price needs to be around the £70 mark.

Overview

BIOSTAR’S product line traditionally revolves around a military theme which emphasizes the durable qualities we all come to expect. This colour scheme is often misinterpreted and can appear quite unpleasant which doesn’t fit in with the spectacular designs seen throughout the gaming market. The GAMING H170T is far from being heralded as a beautiful motherboard, but I honestly believe it’s the best visual design BIOSTAR have created by a considerable margin. As a result, this sets a good foundation for the motherboard vendor to formulate more ostentatious design ideas and really innovate in the aesthetics department. They need to catch people’s attention by creating something unique which acts as a marketing tool in western territories. It’s important to find a balance though as a wacky finish could ruin the sense of professionalism.

The motherboard incorporates extremely high-end components such as a 9-phase power delivery, 10K rated capacitors, MoistureProof PCB, dedicated audio path and much more! Furthermore, the overall layout is absolutely fantastic which makes cable management and the initial setup process a breeze. For example, there are two easily accessible CPU headers towards the top section of the motherboard to connect water cooling hardware. While this might seem a little unnecessary considering Intel’s H170 overclocking restrictions, it’s a welcome addition which might become useful in the future if BCLK adjustments are allowed. On another note, the integrated touch control panel is fascinating and works alongside the LED read out to conduct fault checking, However, it seems like a result of over engineering as mechanical buttons would have sufficed. Similarly, the blinking power LED and inability to change the panel’s brightness began to distract me very quickly. I’m also baffled by the LN2 switch, which just doesn’t make any sense on an H170 motherboard.

Sadly, the BIOS’s user-interface requires a comprehensive visual overhaul and doesn’t leave a good first impression. The low-resolution assets, and dated graphical style pales in comparison to the slick menus I’m accustomed to. Despite this, the BIOS is functional and includes detailed categories to tweak system settings. BIOSTAR also need to work on a brand new software package because the current offering is lacking in functionality and once again looks like sort some of antique from a computer history museum. In many cases, consumers dismiss the bundled software and prefer to run an operating system with reduced memory utilization. Nevertheless, it’s important to have the option and choose from a wide range of utilities which enhance the product’s value proposition.

In terms of performance, the motherboard attained excellent results across the board and excelled in linear read testing. I was absolutely stunning by the M.2 read speeds which set a new bench record by a huge amount. On another note, the DDR3 memory support did prove to be a determining factor in certain benchmarks and impacted on the final scores. It’s not a huge deal though and at least it allows the end-user to upgrade while utilizing their older memory kits. To conclude, the GAMING H170T managed to compete with other H170 alternatives in the majority of usage scenarios and only really struggled during our memory testing procedure.

Pros

  • Ample supply of SATA3 and SATA Express ports
  • Breathtaking linear read speeds especially with an M.2 drive
  • Excellent audio
  • Elite grade 9 phase power delivery, and eXtreme Durable Capacitors
  • Great motherboard layout
  • Low network CPU utilization
  • Moistureproof PCB
  • Perfectly positioned 4-pin fan headers
  • Rear I/O offers marvellous display connectivity options

Cons

  • Clunky BIOS design
  • Currently unavailable in the USA
  • Software package is sorely lacking in both functionality and visual polish
  • Z170 motherboards are within a similar price range

Neutral

  • Aesthetics could be improved, but it’s far from being an unattractive colour scheme

“The BIOSTAR GAMING H170T is a reliable motherboard featuring great connectivity and high-end power delivery, making it a great choice for gaming systems, although it faces tough competition from super cheap Z170 motherboards.”

gamers-choice

BIOSTAR GAMING H170T (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Thank you BIOSTAR for providing us with this sample.

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. A Closer Look & Layout Analysis
  3. The Test System and Test Software
  4. BIOS and Overclocking
  5. Software Overview
  6. CPU Performance
  7. Memory Performance
  8. Storage Performance
  9. Networking Performance
  10. Audio Performance
  11. Power Consumption
  12. Final Thoughts
  13. View All

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