Skylake has quickly become the go-to platform for builders since its launch, but for some there’s the issue with memory, or rather an issue of the users wanting to upgrade their memory. DDR4 is upon us and while the current costs of DDR4 are about the same as DDR3, some users don’t wish to upgrade that part yet. BIOSTAR’s latest motherboard release is for just those people as it is one of them that support both DDR3 and DDR4 memory.
The new motherboard is the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z170Z5 and as the name suggests, it’s based on the Z170 chipset and comes with BIOSTAR’s enhanced audio features. You can use either dual-channel DDR3L 1333/1600MHz memory or dual channel DDR4 1866/2133MHz memory, but not both at the same time. It does however allow for a more seamless upgrade off individual parts along your upgrade way.
The motherboard is ATX sized and provides both modern and legacy connection types in a somewhat weird combination for these days. There are only two PCI-E x16 3.0 slots where one runs at x16 speed and one at x4 speed. There is also a single PCI-E x1 3.0 slot. The somewhat weird thing is the inclusion of three legacy PCI slots.
As the Hi-Fi branding and the heatsink layout suggests, this motherboard’s main features are the audio specific ones. The Hi-Fi Z170Z5 features Blu-Ray audio and built-in amplifier. The audio components use an independent power delivery system for significant reduction in electronic noise and good sound quality. BIOSTAR also included their SmartSpeedLAN software that’s essentially a QoS that prioritizes the traffic you want. Charge Booster allows you to charge mobile devices faster and you can remote control the system via BIO-Remote2 for Android and Apple devices, and much more.
BIOSTAR didn’t reveal a price at this time, but the Hi-Fi Z170Z5 should be available very soon and then we’ll find out. It should however be one of the cheaper boards judging from the feature list and available connections.