Report Suggests High Pressure CPU Coolers Can Damage Skylake Processors

Intel’s latest architecture requires a new LGA 1151 socket and features an enhanced pin count. Additionally, the CPUs are built on a 14nm manufacturing process. Some of you might remember that Skylake retail samples do not ship with a stock heatsink which raised concerns about temperatures. Thankfully, Skylake is very efficient with improved thermal dissipation. Here we can see the difference in size between Intel’s official Skylake heatsink and the previous generation.

However, according to PCGamesHardware.de, CPU coolers exhibiting high pressure mounts could damage the 1151 socket and Skylake CPUs. One theory suggests this is due to Skylake’s reduced thickness which makes the CPU flex under pressure due to a lack of mechanical stability. Therefore, any cooler which adopts a hefty clamping force is capable of pushing the CPU into the socket and damaging both the motherboard and CPU pins.

This is clearly a very worrying turn of events, and PCGamesHardware contacted a number of cooler manufacturers to see clarification. Here’s is a complete rundown of the replies:

Scythe:

“The company Scythe EU GmbH announces that on several coolers from its portfolio, a change of the mounting system for Skylake / plinth is made ​​1151stAll coolers are in fact generally compatible with Skylake sockets, but it can in some cases result in damage to CPU and motherboard when the PC is exposed to stronger shocks (eg shipping or relocation). To prevent this, the pressure was reduced by an adjustment of the screw set. We will send the new set of screws you also like to charge. Please send your request via email tosupport@scythe.com or use the contact form on our website(http://www.scythe-eu.com/support/technische-anfragen.html).”

Noctua:

“Our SecuFirm2 mounting systems are subjected to prior to the release of new platforms an extensive compatibility testing. It could be determined with reference to the Intel LGA1151 platform (“Skylake”) no problems. Also on the part of our customers and our specialist resellers and system integration partners we have no reports of any problems. Our SecuFirm2 mounting systems access (with the exception of some more compact models of the L-series) for generating the necessary contact pressure on coil springs back, which allow a certain degree of flexibility both in terms of tolerances in the height as well as the case of vibrations or other forces. Compared with conventional spring-less installation systems where pressure is produced exclusively by the deformation of the mounting brackets, so can reduce the mechanical load on the CPU, and motherboard socket and any damage can be prevented by excessive force.”

EKWB:

“All EK Water Blocks EK-Supremacy Series CPU Water Blocks – Including the latest -MX and -EVO variants – are fully Complying with Intel Socket imposed H3 (LGA-1151) Mechanical force limitation. The clamping force, created by our PreciseMount spring loaded mounting mechanism, is well within the allowed mechanical limitations. The design of PreciseMount itself Prevents over-tightening and damage to mechnical Possible Either socket or the CPU packaging.

Older generation of (physically) compatible LGA-1151 Water Blocks with classic, undefined clamping ForceType mouting mechanism such as Supreme LTX – requires special attention When attaching the water block. As a result the use of search Waterblocks is not recommended with the LGA-1151 socket CPUs.”

Today, we received a statement from ARCTIC about their CPU cooler range and the effect it has on Skylake CPUs and 1151 motherboards:

ARCTIC:

“With this official statement we would like to assure that ARCTIC coolers are not affected by these problems and thus fully Skylake compatible. All ARCTIC CPU Coolers complies concerning the released sockets with the mechanical specification from Intel. With our coolers there are no problems on Intel CPUs of the 6th generation (Skylake) for LGA 1151. Depending on the parcel service drop heights of over 2 m can not be excluded. Therefore we recommend regardless of the CPU used to carefully evaluate the dispatch and the packaging used and to possibly mount larger and heavier CPU coolers by the end user.”

While this is far from ideal and illustrates a major flaw in Intel’s production, cooler manufacturers should be able to complete thorough testing and judge the probability of damage occurring. Thankfully, many have released statements pretty quickly, and it remains to be seen how much force is actually needed to cause damage. Currently, it seems like the issue is only effecting coolers with a very heavy mount point. As a result, there’s no need to panic but this is something which needs clarification from Intel and further research.

Do you use a hefty air cooler or water cooling setup?

FreshTech Solutions Stealth Gaming PC Review

Introduction


FreshTech Solutions has a fantastic repertoire of custom PC builds to suit various budgets and specific requirements. In addition to pre-configured machines, the company’s flexible service allows you to customize a gaming PC from scratch and select from a huge array of industry-leading components. Each integral feature from storage to water cooling functionality is divided into easily manageable categories. However, today we are looking at a pre-configured model entitled, Stealth, which utilizes Intel’s latest mainstream architecture and a host of other top-tier hardware.

This high-end configuration contains an Intel Core i7 6700K, 16GB Corsair DDR 2666MHz RAM, Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5 motherboard and the NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti. The core specification is accompanied by a 240GB SSD boot drive, 2TB mechanical data disk, Corsair 80 Plus Bronze 600W power supply and aesthetically-pleasing In Win 503 chassis. The company has also decided to offer a promotion and upgrade the default CPU cooler to the Corsair H80i GT for a limited time. Overall, I expect the system to excel in gaming benchmarks at commonly used resolutions and provide a superb desktop experience.

Specifications

  • Name: FreshTech Solutions Stealth Gaming PC
  • Case: In Win 503 Gaming Case with Glass front and Side Window
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 6700k Skylake @4.4Ghz (10% overclock)
  • CPU Cooler – Corsair H80i GT Liquid CPU Cooler
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX600 80 Plus Bronze Certified 600W Power Supply
  • System Memory: 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2666MHz Performance RAM
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5 LGA 1151
  • Main Boot Drive: 240GB Kingston V300 SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): 2TB Seagate Barracuda SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 980 TI 6GB With Assassins Creed Syndicate or Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Game
  • Optical DriveSamsung 24x SATA DVD Writer
  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit
  • Warranty: 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty
  • Price: £1336.00

Packing and Accessories

The FreshTech Solutions Stealth is protected by an extremely large external box which cushions the main chassis’ packaging and includes precautionary handling instructions. Additionally, the side handles make it easy to carry while the durable tape ensures the box retains its structural integrity.

Once opened, you need to carefully lift out the In Win 503 box and cut the top seal. After removing the flaps, we can see the durable foam supports and air padding to stop the system from moving around during transit.

Perhaps most importantly, the main components are protected by a high-quality piece of foam and air padding which can withstand sudden impact. Furthermore, the air wrapping surrounds the hard drive cages which is vital given the mechanical disk’s moving parts. On another note, the foam stops the graphics card from being dislodged and breaking the primary PCI-E slot. Attentive touches like these are essential and ensures the system arrives safely.

In terms of accessories, the system is bundled with a UK power cable, component documentation, RAM packaging, spare fittings and comprehensive setup guide. The package contains all the extras you need to perform manual upgrades in the future. Similarly, the FreshTech Solutions guide directs you to their customer service hotline in case of any technical queries or installation problems.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

Thunderbolt 3 Coming to Gigabyte Z170 Motherboards via a BIOS Update

Thunderbolt 3 is capable of 40Gbps via a USB Type-C connector and able to power dual 4K displays or a single 5K monitor at 60Hz. This astonishing amount of bandwidth is integrated into Intel’s Alpine Ridge USB 3.1 controller on the H170 and Z170 chipset. As a result, any motherboard passing Intel’s certification can theoretically access the enhanced speed. Although, it is in the hands of manufacturers to offer a software update to utilize this added functionality.

Gigabyte is providing a firmware update for the GA-Z170X-Gaming G1, GA-Z170X-Gaming GT, and GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 to offer the enhanced speeds. As a result, Gigabyte’s supported range is becoming quite comprehensive. It’s impressive to see such a quick reaction to the potential of Thunderbolt 3.0 and giving early adopters improved functionality. Whether any affordable consumer displays support Thunderbolt 3 is another topic for discussion. However, the interface could become essential in the future when displays surpass the 4K resolution.

Thunderbolt 3 contains 100w of charging power which might prove to be more useful for the average consumer. Whatever the case, I’m pleased to see motherboard partners offering firmware updates and adding more value to each z170 motherboard. Sadly, the 1151 CPUs are quite expensive at the moment which is limiting the amount of people upgrading from older sockets.

ASUS Announces Z170 ROG Maximus VIII Impact ITX Motherboard

ASUS has officially unveiled the Republic of Gamers, Maximus VIII Impact which supports Intel’s latest Skylake architecture and ultra-fast DDR4 memory. This incredibly compact ITX-design doesn’t skimp on features and utilizes a full-scale voltage regulator module. This allows for a reliable power delivery and headroom to achieve high frequency overclocks. The motherboard also integrates 5-Way Optimization auto-tuning and Pro Clock technology to reach the very limits of your CPU and DDR4 Memory speed capabilities.

There is also a bundled fan extension card to enhance the system’s cooling and maintain low temperatures across the main components. On another note, the SupremeFX impact III chipset contains illuminated audio jacks, supreme audio quality, and shielding. Additionally, the Sonic SenseAmp automatically detects the impedance of your headphones and adjusts the ohms rating up to 6000!

 

In terms of connectivity, the motherboard embeds a single HDMI port, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with all-new MU-MUMO, built-in so you don’t waste any USB ports, USB 3.1 Gen. 2 Type-A and reversible Type-C connections for up to twice the speed of USB 3.0, and the built-in U.2 connector delivers transfer speeds of up to 32Gbit/s. There is a wide array of special features such as an easy BIOS update switch and CMOS reset button. On the rear, an LED post-readout is positioned to help with fault checking.

We can also see the single PCI-e x16 gen 3.0 slot, attractive heatsink design and 4 SATA ports. From a visual standpoint, the board is absolutely breathtaking and we expect to bring you a review in the coming weeks.

What size motherboard are you currently using?

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information.

Asus Announces TUF Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 Motherboard

Asus has officially unveiled the latest addition to its TUF motherboard line-up which is based on Intel’s Skylake architecture. The Z170 Sabertooth Mark 1 features a number of specialities exclusive to the TUF range including TUF Thermal Armour, Dust Defenders, and a hefty backplate marketed as the TUF Fortifier. Additionally, premium components are used throughout such as the Japanese caps rated to 10K+, ESD Guards, 8+4 power delivery, Alloy Chokes, Titanium Cap MOSFETs and more! When combined, this creates a staggeringly reliable motherboard tested to 24/7 durability and comes with a 5 year warranty as standard.In a similar vein to previous models, the TUF Z170 Sabertooth Mark 1 contains the Thermal Radar 2 software to accurately analyse various temperatures and offers impeccable PWM fan control across 12 integrated fan headers. Another interesting inclusion is the 2 mini fans to help with airflow underneath the thermal armour. Personally, I never use these because they are obnoxiously loud and fairly ugly. Notice how the motherboard’s centre fan cover is now constructed from a premium metal plate instead of plastic.

Here is the backplate in all its glory and provides a rigid structure to withstand any pressure from huge coolers like the Noctua NH-D14. Aesthetically, it also looks rather lovely and adds a premium feel.

On the rear IO, there is an ample supply of connectivity options including 5 USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 3.1 (Type-A), 1 USB 3.1 (Type-C), USB BIOS Flashback switch, Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and a 7.1 audio solution. Storage wise, Asus provides 8 SATA 3 6 GB/s ports, 2 SATA Express and 1 M.2 slot. The 1151 chipset brings DDR4 to the mainstream and supports up to 64GB of memory with potential speeds in excess of 3000MHz. For multi-GPU configurations, the Z170 Sabertooth Mark 1 is superb and features 3 PCI-E 3.0 x16 (x16/x8/x8 Electrical) and PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots.

Do you feel the TUF Thermal Armour has any impact on temperatures, or is it a marketing gimmick?

ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Hero (LGA 1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


The Z170 chipset and Skylake CPU’s have been around for just over a week now and we have seen pretty much everything that each manufacturer has to offer. We now know that the huge connectivity options presented by the Z170 chipset that some manufacturers have included not one, but two, sometimes even three M.2 slots and multiple USB 3.0 ports. Along with those, you also have USB 3.1 Type A and Type C as standard on the vast majority of the Z170 series boards.

Today on the test bench, we take our first look at an ASUS Republic of Gamers (RoG) motherboard in the form of the Maximus VIII Hero (M8H). If you’ve heard anything about the RoG range, you’ll know that it is the go-to motherboard range if you want the highest performance, best quality components, more accessories than you could ever use and some of the best looks available.

Specifications

The M8H follows a similar process to the RoG ranges of old with huge amount of features, but things have changed slightly, ASUS has decided to almost ditch the red colour scheme; I’ll let that sink in. So instead of the red theme, ASUS has gone for a simply stunning grey with subtle red detailing. I think this is a step in the right direction because of every manufacturer jumping on the red scheme recently.

Manufacturers nowadays need to find innovative ways to stand out from the crowd, ASUS is no exception and has crammed a huge array of features into this motherboard.

RoG Key Features

  • Extreme Engine Digi+
  • OC Zone
  • RoG RAMDisk
  • RoG RAMCache
  • RoG Overwolf
  • KeyBot II
  • UEFI BIOS

Key Features

  • Dual Intelligent Processors 5
  • ASUS Exclusive Features
    • AI Suite 3
    • USB 3.1 Boost
    • AI Charger+
    • Push Notice
    • Disk Unlocker
    • Pc Cleaner
    • HyStream
    • Media Streamer
    • Mobo Connect
  • EZ DIY
    • USB BIOS Flashback
    • Crashfree BIOS 3
    • EZ Flash 3
    • Mem OK!
  • Q-Design
    • Q-Code
    • Q-Sheild
    • Q-Connector
    • Q-LED
    • Q-Slot
    • Q-DIMM

Packaging

The M8H is a key asset to the RoG series, the box itself is almost a direct replica of older RoG boxes with the changes to the features along the bottom and the name.

The back of the box has a small diagram of the board and the key features in detail.

Inside the box is a huge amount of accessories, including driver disk, install manual, door hanger, cable labels, case sticker and fan stickers.

Along with those are 6x SATA 6 Gb/s cables, 2 way SLI bridge, I/O shield, M.2 riser and screw, front panel connector riser and CPU locator.

ASUS Z170 LGA 1151 Deluxe Socket Pictured

In the past, we’ve known motherboard manufacturers to tweak the standard motherboard socket to add or increase the contact surface of CPU pins to aid in overclocking potential. Best known for this is ASUS and the OC Socket. Take the Haswell-e X99 motherboards, ASUS produced the ‘OC socket’, featuring additional pins to make contact with unused surface plates on the X99 processors. This allowed for more stable voltage to pass through to increase the overclocking potential; if your CPU has what it takes that is.

A source has come forward recently stating that the ‘OC Socket’ design lined up for the Z170 Deluxe variant will actually provide no benefits thanks to the 1151 socket actually utilising all of the available CPU pads available on the Skylake-S processors.

Along with this, the source has also provided what ASUS will be launching on the Z170 chipset:

  • ASUS (Z170) Maximus VIII Ranger
  • ASUS (Z170) Maximus VIII Hero
  • ASUS (Z170) Maximus VIII Gene
  • ASUS (Z170) Maximus VIII Extreme
  • ASUS Z170 Deluxe
  • ASUS Z170-K
  • ASUS Z170-A
  • ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

Certain boards will also feature the ‘AR’ suffix, which is an abbreviation of Alpine Ridge. This is the next generation of Thunderbolt Controller with the bandwidth of up to 40Gb/s and hugely decreasing the power consumption. Alpine Ridge also has the ability to provide HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.0 with charging abilities up to 100W.

Are you going to be updating to the new CPU’s and motherboards? Will you be choosing ASUS, what board will you go with and how much do you think it will be? Let us know in the comments

Two New Biostar Motherboards @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015: We’ve seen lots of cool stuff at the show this week, but one thing that really caught our attention, was the latest motherboards from Biostar. Their new Micro-ATX boards, the Hi-Fi H170Z3 is based on the H170 Express chipset, which offers up all the same features you’ll find on the Z170 chipset, minus the overclocking and multi GPU support. What is interesting however, is that the board has both DDR3 and DDR4 memory slots! Allowing you to use two or either at any one time, but not at the same time. The board will allow 16GB of DDR 1600 or 32GB of DDR4 2133 memory.

Another LGA1151 socket board, which again features the same dual DDR3/DDR4 memory configuration, but runs on the B150 Express chipset, offering more than enough features for a single GPU gaming system and features Biostar’s Hi-Fi 6-channel audio.

There’s lot of new motherboards coming this year and Biostar will no doubt have a lot more for us to show you, so stay tuned for more updates.