BIOSTAR RACING H170GT3 (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


BIOSTAR might not be the most recognizable motherboard brand in western markets but their pedigree for creating reliable products is worthy of praise. When compared to MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS, the company struggles to entice consumers with unique aesthetic designs. Furthermore, the BIOS and software package has been sorely lacking and in dire need of change. Thankfully, BIOSTAR have acknowledged these criticisms and decided to forge a brand new range based upon a racing theme to please petrolheads with an avid interest in enthusiast hardware. Each RACING motherboard sports a chequered flag PCB and stylish LED illumination while introducing a new BIOS layout. Clearly, this is a major departure from BIOSTAR’s previous products which evoked a fairly mundane appearance.

The BIOSTAR RACING H170GT3 is based on the mATX form factor and supports up to 64GB DDR4 with a maximum speed of 2133MHz. Intel’s H170 chipset blocks multiplier overclocking which means you have to resort to your processor’s default turbo frequency. Of course, there’s been some controversy surrounding BCLK overclocking on H170 and B150 motherboards to unofficially achieve boosts fairly close to traditional multiplier overclocking. Sadly, Intel has voiced their displeasure regarding this phenomenon and pressurized manufacturers to disable BCLK overclocking via a BIOS update. As a result, we have to rely on stock figures to determine the motherboard’s performance. Previously, I’ve seen some astounding results when it comes to storage with BIOSTAR products, and I’m interested to see if this trend continues.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

Here we can see the absolutely stunning packaging which contains a carbon fibre inspired cover and vibrant text. This coincides with the RACING focus and feels quite reminiscent of a luxury sports car’s interior.

On the opposite side, there’s a detailed diagram showing the motherboard’s layout and explanation of its unique selling features. Once again, this is presented a superb manner and makes you inquisitive about the product’s specification.

In terms of accessories, the motherboard includes a user’s manual, Vivid LED DJ instructions guide, SATA cables, driver disk, and I/O shield.

SuperMicro C7H170-M (LGA 1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


SuperMicro might not be the most recognizable name among enthusiasts with the likes of MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte and other household brands being the logical choice for consumers. However, their pedigree is unparalleled when it comes to stability and creating the best server solutions available today. As a result, I’m always overjoyed to test any SuperMicro motherboard and see this level of expertise move into other markets. Slowly but surely, SuperMicro appears to be targeting the gaming audience and releasing visually appealing products with an impressive range of features.

Approximately two months ago, we reviewed the SuperMicro C7Z170-SQ and felt it offered excellent overclocking functionality for extreme usage scenarios. In contrast to this, today’s review sample is built on the H170 chipset which theoretically disables any chance of frequency boosts. However, recent evidence shows that BCLK overclocking can be attained on non-K series CPUs and H170 motherboards via a BIOS update. The C7H170-M has been proven to allow for BCLK adjustments and huge overclocking headroom using high-end cooling apparatus. Clearly, we’re not going to change our testing CPU to keep the results fair. Although, I’m fascinated to see the maximum frequency on a H170 motherboard and see how close it gets to traditional multiplier overclocks.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

The SuperMicro C7H170-M comes in a gorgeous box which evokes a sense of luxury. Its design is simplistic while being extremely unusual and looks stylish. I’m incredibly fond of bold cut-out for the lettering which makes this particular product stand out.

On the rear, there is a detailed overview about the motherboard and its core specification.

The package is quite barebones and comes with a layout diagram, I/O shield, driver disk, M.2 screws and server-style SATA cables. Please note, the included technical sheet also helps with the rudimentary installation procedure. Although, it’s much less detailed than other vendors. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t pose a major problem, and I don’t expect the type of customer purchasing a SuperMicro product to have limited experience in system building.

Gigabyte H170-HD3 (LGA 1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


Intel’s Z170 platform is designed for enthusiasts utilizing incredibly fast DDR4 memory and large frequency boosts on K-series CPUs. In contrast to this, the H170 chipset caters more towards the budget-conscience consumer running a CPU at stock settings and modest DDR4 speeds. So what are the key differences between Z170 and H170? Firstly, H170 motherboards cannot support memory speeds in excess of 2133MHz and limited to a maximum of 16 PCIe lanes 3.0 lanes compared to 20 on Z170. Additionally, the HSIO Lanes have been reduced from 26 to 22 and theoretically, motherboards are restricted to a single X16 graphics slot. However, motherboard vendors can offer dual card setups via Crossfire. The only other notable change is a reduction in USB 3.0 ports from 10 to 8 which should be more than enough for the average user.

The first H170-based motherboard to arrive for review is the Gigabyte H170-HD3. This particular model incorporates a wealth of connectors including HDMI 1.4, DVI-D and D-Sub. On another note, the motherboard supports 2 way Crossfire, SATA Express an M.2 expansion port and ALC887 audio codec. Overall, the H170-HD3 is a great value package and I expect it to compare surprisingly well against the higher priced Z170 competition.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

Gigabyte adopts a fairly clean and understated box design which outlines the motherboard’s Ultra Durable qualities.

On the opposite side, there are a number of detailed pictures illustrating the motherboard’s connectivity options and 2-way Crossfire support. Furthermore, Gigabyte also provides a brief synopsis of the integrated Realtek ALC887 audio.

In terms of accessories, the product comes with an I/O shield, user’s manual, G Connector, case badge and two SATA cables. It’s always great to see the G Connector’s inclusion on budget models which makes the install process much more user-friendly.

Apacer Unveils Panther Series DDR4 Memory

Since the release of Intel’s Skylake architecture, the price of DDR4 memory has come down at an exponential rate. Additionally, manufacturers are creating more lavish aesthetic designs to suit the gaming market. Typically, consumers chose memory based on a colour scheme as gaming tasks increased frequency has a minimal effect. Unfortunately, most companies appear to fixate on the standard red and black theme and it can be difficult to acquire DDR4 modules which suit yellow motherboards like the ASRock Formula series. Thankfully, Apacer has launched the Panther memory kits to provide a visually unique design which fits perfectly with motherboards sporting yellow or gold accents. In terms of its technical specifications, the memory comes in 2133MHz, 2400MHz and 2666MHz configurations with tight 15-15-15-36 and 16-16-16-36 timings. Furthermore, the DIMMs support XMP 2.0 and utilize 1.2 volts. This guarantees stability at low voltages and doesn’t require a boost to 1.35v.

While it’s not the fastest memory on the market, as many DDR4 kits reach speeds in excess of 3000MHZ, it’s still extremely fast and I love the colour scheme. Additionally, the black PCB adds to the overall look and makes for a superb finish. Hopefully, we should be bringing a review of this particular memory kit very soon.

MSI GT72S 6QE Dominator Pro Gaming Laptop Review

Introduction


MSI is an established player in the gaming laptop scene and produces a huge range of products to suit various usage scenarios. Whether you’re prioritizing portability or simply require raw horsepower, MSI has a laptop to suit your specific needs. The company’s quintessential styling and robust construction beautifully balances performance with unique features and includes a comprehensive software package. This magical combination has proved to be incredibly popular among the gaming audience. Previously, we reviewed the budget-orientated MSI GE62 6QD Apache Pro which performed remarkably well in 3D benchmarks despite its relatively affordable price point.

While the gaming prowess of laptops around the £1000 mark are good, some users have higher demands to reach 60 frames-per-second at extreme graphical presets. The type of laptop which caters to this demographic is the GT72S 6QE Dominator Pro and comes in a number of top-tier configurations. The review unit we’re looking at today features an Intel i7-6820HK, 16GB DDR4 2133MHz RAM, GTX 980M and 128GB NVMe PCIe SSD boot drive. Furthermore, the system opts for a 17.3″ 1920×1080 display, 9-cell battery, and 1TB data drive. As you can see, this is a stunning specification and more than capable of competing with high-powered desktops. On another note, the pioneering MXM graphics module offers an upgrade path for the future and makes the investment seem more worthwhile. Overall, I expect the system to shine in gaming tests at extreme graphical settings.

Specifications

  • Name: MSI GT72S 6QE Dominator Pro
  • Case: Brushed Aluminum Laptop Chassis
  • Processor: 6th Gen. Intel Core Skylake i7-6820HK @ 3.6GHz
  • System Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 2133MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: Toshiba 128GB NVMe PCIe SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): HGST 1TB 7200RPM  
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 980M 8GB GDDR5
  • Battery: 9 Cell Li-Polymer
  • Optical DriveBlu-ray Writer
  • Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n/ac Killer Double Shot Pro AC
  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit
  • Display: 17.3″ 1920 x 1080 FHD Anti Glare Wide View Angle with NVIDIA G-SYNC
  • Weight: 3.78Kg (With Battery)
  • Dimensions: 428(W) x 294(D) x 48(H)mm
  • Warranty: 2-Year Collect and Return (1 year global)
  • Price: £1962.20 as configured delivered.

Packing and Accessories

Given the laptop’s hefty construction, MSI decided to employ a thick cardboard box to adequately protect the sample during transit and reduce the impact of any small knocks.

The inner packaging adopts MSI’s iconic gaming dragon logo and outlines the system’s key specification.

Once opened, we can see the laptop’s accessories are divided into segments which makes the unboxing process a more pleasant experience. Furthermore, MSI opted for a durable plastic cover, and luxurious protective cloth which reduces the likelihood of damage occurring during shipping.

In terms of accessories, the laptop is bundled with a soft cleaning cloth, documentation, driver disk and power supply. The felt cloth feels beautiful in the hand and evokes a sense of luxury. While the power supply is on the larger side, this is expected given the laptop’s immense specification.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

Super Talent Announces 64GB DDR4 LRDIMM Modules

Super Talent announced a double up on their DDR4 LRDIMM modules with the new 64GB capacity modules (F21LQ64GS), double the capacity of the previous 32GB modules. Super Talent’s quad rank 64GB DDR4 load reduced DIMM modules are targeted at server environments which allow more DIMMs per channel to be used in order to take advantage of an increased memory capacity. A buffer chip replaces the register on these modules, in order to help minimize the loading on a system and increase the speeds.

You’ll need a Haswell-EP platform to take advantage of these modules that run at a speed of 2133MHz and come with CL15 ratings. As these are PC4-17000 DDR4 modules, they’ll only consume 1.2V and are of course ECC modules. There’s no need for fancy heat spreaders with a lot of colours and hip design on such modules, and you won’t find that either. They’re plain as they should be.

LRDIMM can be a big advantage as the amount of DIMMs per channel increase. LRDIMMs offer lower latencies and are able to run at higher speeds. At three DIMMs per channel, the bandwidth speed gap is increased while latency tax from increasing the DPC has been reduced. All modules are quality tested in-house and are built to JEDEC standard specifications. The DRAM vendor can variate, but it can be determined by the last Character X of the Part number.

KLEVV CRAS 3000MHz 16GB DDR4 Memory Kit Review

Introduction


Memory, the most vital part of any computer that gets overlooked the most. There’s not a lot to say about RAM apart from its expensive and very confusing. DDR4, the newest iteration of RAM is currently the fastest version of the consumer RAM, with speeds exceeding 3333MHz. RAM kits now come in a variety of shapes with the basic bare modules, right up to the simply stunning Ripjaws series.

Today we will be looking at the newly introduced KLEVV CRAS memory kit. This has already been released in other parts of the world and consumers are adoring the high-end finish and amazing performance on offer.

KLEVV was established in just 2014 by the parent company Essencore Limited (or just Essencore), but having close ties within the memory community has allowed the company to quickly gain traction and is quickly rising to contend for the top spot. The CRAS memory modules are an extremely high-end, they are fitted with huge solid metal heat sinks that not only keep these extremely cool, but also provide excellent aesthetics and strengthening properties. This particular memory kit comes out of the box with a speed rating of 2133MHz, however, a simple BIOS tweak to enable the XMP profile brings the modules up to the rated 3000 MHz advertised speed; which is something that you have to remember when buying high speed memory kits.

“Employing the most current and high-level IT developments, KLEVV, the vanguard of technological advance, brings PC enthusiasts the highly advanced KLEVV Cras DDR4 Memory. Ready to Beat’em Up? Your adventure is just beginning.”

That’s enough talking, let’s jump into testing.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The packaging on these is top class, solid outer casing with individual pockets for each module ensures the product gets to you in working order; well in most normal cases anyway.

A Closer Look

These are some seriously stunning modules, a black PCB wrapped in solid metal heatsinks with a brushed metal band sealing everything together.

DDR4 Industrial Grade Modules Announced by SMART Modular Technologies

SMART Modular Technologies has announced the availability of its highly reliable DDR4 industrial grade modules. The modules are said to join the company’s very successful DDR3 lineup and target the networking, telecom and industrial applications market, where operating areas consist of harsh environments.

As with all of SMART’s products, quality is extremely important and this is why each of the DDR4 industrial grade modules undertake extreme tests. The DDR4-2133 1.2V modules are tested with customized tensing programs, test flows and specialized equipment in order to eliminate weak bits and modules likely to fail under temperature tests.

It is said that SMART’s industrial grade modules are 100% system tested at high speeds, starting with a cold boot at -40°C and working upward to +85°C ambient operation. However, test duration may vary depending on each module’s density.

SMART’s DDR4 industrial grade modules are said to be ready to operate in a variety of harsh conditions, including base stations and telecom equipment exposed to the elements, single board computers used in industrial, defense, aerospace, kiosk, digital signage applications and densely configured computing applications with limited airflow.

The memory modules come in a variety of types, including SO-DIMMs up to 16GB, unbuffered and registered DIMMs up to 16GB and 32GB respectively, and Mini-DIMMs up to 16GB.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

Transcend Launched DDR4 Memory Module Series

Transcend launched their DDR4 memory module series including 2133 MHz UDIMMs, RDIMMs, ECC-DIMMs and ECC SO-DIMMs, which are fully compatible with the latest Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 server family processor, Haswell-E CPU with X99 chipset and micro servers. The new modules offer varying capacity depending on model ranging from 4GB to 32GB and up to 17GB/s of memory bandwidth.

The Very Low Profile (VLP) RDIMMs are a nice thing to see, removing any compatibility issues due to size. They measure just 0.74 inches in height, perfect for use in high-end space-constrained platforms such as blade servers. Both the ECC SO-DIMMs and VLP RDIMMs help lower cooling costs by significantly improving chassis airflow and memory heat dissipation thanks to the reduced vertical footprint.

Transcend’s DDR4 memory modules are fully compliant with JEDEC standards and undergo strenuous 64 bit kernel, single-core, and multi-core testing to ensure the best quality possible. All DDR4 models carry Transcend’s Lifetime Warranty.

Thanks to Transcend for providing us with this information

Crucial Launches DDR4 SO-DIMMs

DDR4 memory isn’t just for normal desktop systems and Crucial has launched their new DDR4 SODIMM kits for compact systems and laptops, to also give them the added benefits that come along with this new technology.

“Although broad adoption of DDR4-enabled laptops won’t be available until later in 2015, we are committed to the early availability of new technology to better enable our development partners and customers and to continue to lead the industry with our DDR4 offerings,” said Jeremy Mortenson, product marketing manager, Crucial.

Power consumption is key, especially when we’re looking at laptops. Compared to DDR3 we get a reduction on the power consumption of up to 40% while the speed is increased by 30%. The increased bandwidth possible with DDR4 memory should also make multitasking a lot better as the system is able to handle more data at once.

The new SODIMMs come as 4GB and 8GB modules with two-piece kits up to 16GB. The availability should be very shortly through Crucial’s own store and resellers around the world.

Thanks to Crucial for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Crucial

Century Micro Launches First Low-Profile DDR4 DIMMs

It doesn’t help much to have an entire system designed for low-profile enclosures if the default 31.25mm sized RAM modules will stick out the top. As such, the Japanese company Century Micro has launched the world’s first half-height low-profile DDR4 DIMM modules (CK4GX4-D4RE2133VL81).

These new 4GB modules have a height of just 18.7 mm and use DRAM chips made by SKHynix. The JEDEC speed is set to 2133MHz and with 15-15-15 timings while the module consumes the normal 1.2V DDR4 draw.

The spotted modules are selling in 16 GB kits consisting of four 4GB modules and costs 51,980 JPY including taxes, which is about £275.35.

Thanks to TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of TechPowerUp

Overclockers UK First to List the New ADATA DDR4 Memory

 

Some companies take new hardware releases very serious and want to offer their customers the entire range as soon as possible. Overclockers UK is one of them and they are now the first to list the new ADATA XPG Z1 DDR4 modules.

The ADATA XPG Z1 comes in a variety of speeds and sizes. The available sets range from 16GB to 32GB and are all 4 module quad channel kits. So it’s either four times 4GB or four times 8GB modules. They come in three speed categories, 2133MHz, 2400MHz and 2800MHz and with a CAS Latency of  15-15-15-35, 16-16-16-35 and 17-17-17-39.

Overclockers UK offers a direct Lifetime Warranty on the modules, showing the faith they have in them. They operate between 1.2 and 1.35 volt and otherwise comply to the DDR4 standard of 288-pin UDIMM and Haswell-E compatible.

When grabbing your wallet to check, it will need to have between £199.99 and £666.66 in it to be able to get these modules and you can check them all out right here.

Thank you Overclockers UK for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Overclockers UK.

G.SKILL Release Super Fast 32GB 2133MHz DDR3L SO-DIMM RAM

G.SKILL are no stranger to extreme performance, with their memory modules being at the heart of many high-end systems, from gamers to enthusiast overclockers. Now they look set to shake up the enthusiast world once again with the release of massive capacity laptop memory kit.

The new 32GB kit operates at just 1.35v with timings of 11-11-11-31, at a speed of 2133MHz. Designed in a 4 x 8GB format, the massive capacity and clock speeds of this memory should be more than enough to give any gaming laptop a significant performance boost.

G.SKILL have also release the screenshot below, showing the 32GB kit in the stunning MSI GT70 2OC gaming laptop, showing that the memory is stable under extreme load.

“As a world leading gaming brand, MSI Notebook’s goal is to become the most trusted name in gaming and e-sport. We stand by our principles of breakthroughs in design, the pursuit of excellence, and technological innovation as we have continued to raise the bar for ourselves and have accomplished a great deal of pioneering work in the industry,” commented Sam Chern, marketing director at MSI. “This time, G.SKILL’s F3-2133C11Q-32GRSL DDR3L memory kit clearly raises the bar for high performance gaming laptops and proves to be unbelievably stable on the MSI GT70 2OC gaming laptop, one of the best performance gaming laptops from MSI.”

We’re sure this kit is going to prove popular with gamers around the world, and it just goes to show how far the world of laptop based gaming have progressed over the years.

Thank you G.SKILL for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of G.SKILL.