BIOSTAR GAMING H170T (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


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

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.

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.

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.

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

Samsung Started Mass Producing High-Density ePoP Memory

Samsung announced that they started the mass production of their ePoP (embedded package on package) memory – a single memory package consisting of 3GB LPDDR3 DRAM, 32GB eMMC Flash and a controller.

The tiny package is only 15 x 15mm which allows it to be stacked right on top of the processor, returning space for other components in the ever slimming mobile devices. The mobile DRAM inside the ePoP operates at a data transfer rate of 1,866Mb/s and sports a 64-bit I/O bandwidth.

“By offering our new high-density ePoP memory for flagship smartphones, Samsung expects to provide its customers with significant design benefits, while enabling faster and longer operation of multi-tasking features,” Jeeho Baek, Senior Vice President of Memory Marketing at Samsung Electronics. “We plan to expand our line-up of ePoP memory with packages involving enhancements in performance and density over the next few years, to further add to the growth of premium mobile market.”

In comparison, a dual chip solution would take up 374.5 square millimeters versus the ePoP’s 225, approximately a 40% reduction. The single-package configuration also meets the semiconductor package height ceiling of 1.4 millimeters (mm).

Thanks to Samsung for providing us with this information

Crucial Ballistix Sport XT DDR3 1866MHz 16GB Memory Kit Review

Introduction


Micron are on of the biggest DRAM vendors in the industry and Crucial is one of their main brands through which they channel their DRAM products. Today we are looking at Crucial’s revamped Ballistix Sport line which now comes with the XT moniker. These Crucial Ballistix Sport XT DDR3 modules we have come in a variety of capacities and speeds which you can see here. The key things to note are that they are available in either 4GB or 8GB modules and can have either 1600MHz or 1866MHz clock speeds. We have with us today the best dual channel kit of the Ballistix Sport XT series, more specifically we have the BLS2K8G3D18ADS3 kit which uses two 8GB DIMMs running at 1866MHz, CL10 latencies and 1.5 volts.

The packaging is pretty plain and simple and indicates all the key details about the kit on the sticker. The packaging is clear so you can get a clear glimpse at the memory kit.

The back is quite plain and tells you that this series is aimed at mainstream users and gamers. There is nothing included with this product other than the memory kit itself.