MSI Z170A GAMING M5 (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction

Since the release of Intel’s Z170 chipset, MSI has unveiled a fantastic, feature-rich motherboard range which caters to contrasting user demands. For example, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON is an excellent choice for consumers wanting a stylish black colour scheme and great reliability at an affordable price point. In contrast to this, the MSI Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM Edition‘s gorgeous aesthetic design makes it one of the most innovative LGA1151 motherboards on the market. Of course, the iconic dragon styling on many MSI products have become a popular choice among the core gaming demographic. This red and black theme compliments mainstream hardware and retails at very competitive prices across various performance tiers.

The MSI Z170A GAMING M5 is a mid-range motherboard sporting an attractive design and impressive specification. More specifically, the product is capable of housing two PCI-E M.2 storage devices and has support for USB 3.1 Gen2 connectivity. Not only that, the motherboard includes a one year premium XSplit license and Nahimic audio enhancements. As you might expect, many of MSI’s leading technologies are incorporated such as DDR4 Boost, Game Boost and much more. Given this particular model’s astonishing software suite and military class components, I expect to see it rival higher priced offerings rather well. Could this be the best value Z170 motherboard thus far for high-end users? Let’s find out!

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

MSI always does a phenomenal job when it comes to packaging design and the Z170 GAMING M5 is no different. The bold colours and stunning product snapshot contrasts extremely well. This is one of the most eye-catching motherboard boxes I’ve seen and showcases the motherboard’s beautiful appearance.

On the opposite side, there’s a brief synopsis of the motherboard’s key selling points such as support for 3-way crossfire, 2-way SLI and Audio Boost 3.0. This is presented in a slick manner and doesn’t alienate the end-user with technical jargon.

In terms of accessories, the motherboard comes with a user’s guide, driver’s disk, metal case badge, I/O shield, SLI bridge, registration details, basic installation guide and four SATA cables. Please note, the press sample I received was previously used by another media so there’s only 3 SATA cables displayed in the photograph. Rest assured, the retail version will include four and be packaged without the need for an elastic band.

Overclockers UK Launches Incredible Value “8Pack Approved” Bundle

Ian “8Pack” Parry is one of the most respected overclockers in the world and renowned for setting various world records! Not only that, he employs his many years of experience and specialized expertise to help retailer, Overclockers UK produce extreme grade bundles as well as pre-configured dream systems. After focusing on the elite tier market, 8Pack has decided to cater towards the mainstream customer while only recommending hardware he would feel comfortable using.

The 8Pack Approved Gaming bundle includes an Intel Core i5-6400, 8GB (2x4GB) HyperX Fury 2666MHz DDR4 memory (upgradable to 16GB), ASUS Z170-E motherboard, Alpenföhn Brocken 2 CPU Cooler and 1g Thermal Grizzly which allows for multiple applications. This basic package retails for £329.95 and includes free next day shipping via DPD. By default, the CPU is capable of reaching 4.4GHz despite having a locked multiplier. This is because you can attain substantial speed increases using BCLK adjustments. If this seems like a daunting experience, then there’s nothing to worry about as 8Pack has outlined the recommended settings to easily reach the 4.4GHz figure. Furthermore, if you encounter any problems, he’s usually on hand to help out!

While the bundled air cooler is perfectly acceptable, some users might prefer a more visually pleasing alternative. For an extra £40.94, you can acquire the OcUK TechLabs 120mm All-In-One Watercooler which comes with a Silverstone FQ121 fan in black. This is one of the best water cooling fans on the market and maintains quiet operation. Overall, this is a fantastic bundle for users on a budget and incorporates possibly the best technical support available to consumers.

It’s also great to see a number of options in terms of memory capacity and cooler preference. Since the revelations about Skylake’s CPU strap, there’s no real reason to opt for an unlocked multiplier unless you want to simplify the overclocking process. However, in this case, the hard work has already been done by 8Pack with the hardware testing and recommended profiles.

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.

HyperX Releases High-Capacity DDR4 Kit Additions

If you are one of them who can’t get enough memory in their system, then you are in luck as HyperX added new high-capacity kits to both their HyperX Savage and HyperX Predator DDR4 memory series. The modules look sweet and bring impressive speeds, capacities, and timings for both X99 and Intel 100 series chipset users.

The Kingston HyperX Savage DDR4 memory is now available as a 2666MHz 128GB kit containing eight modules with a massive 16GB of RAM each. This new kit joins a family of the previously announced Savage DDR4 memory from 2133MHz to 3000MHz in various single modules and kits ranging from 4GB to 64GB capacities. While these new modules don’t get all the way to 3000MHz, they’re still very impressive with their 2666MHz and 15-16-16 timings.

The HyperX Predator DDR4 series is now available in 16GB DIMMs, meaning you can get 32GB kits of two modules and 64GB kits of four modules, all the way up to 3000MHz. The HyperX Predator DDR4 combines high frequency and aggressive CAS latencies to provide users with one of the fastest solutions in the market.

Both of HyperX’s memory series will be a great choice whether you using one of Intel’s new 100 series chipsets or the little older X99 chipsets. How much memory are you planning in your next build and what will it be used for? Let us know in the comments.

You can see a full list of available kits below.

Apacer Releases 64GB 3000MHz NOX DDR4 SO-DIMM

The times where the best hardware was limited to desktop PCs is long over and we can get all that power in portable units today too, may it be high-end i7 CPUs or multiple graphics card solutions. All this raw power also needs some memory and Apacer’s latest offering might come in handy here. The newly released Apacer NOX DDR4 modules take all that goodness and brings it down to the smaller SO-DIMM form factor.

The new Apacer NOX DDR4 SO-DIMMs are available with an impressive capacity of 64GB and speeds of up to 3000MHz while only consuming 1.2V. This is so far the most impressive and highest capacity SO-DIMM on the market. The NOX DDR4 SO-DIMM series also comes in slower speeds for those who don’t need as much. Other options include 2400, 2666, and 2800MHz.

The modules have all undergone strict testing and have been built with handpicked DRAM IC to create the best possible product. Apacer did not reveal the pricing at this point, but that will follow at the end of this month. Whether the availability will be at the same time is anyone’s guess. We will just have to wait and see. Either way, this is a seriously impressive memory module.

G.Skill Ripjaws 4 2666MHz 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 G.Skill Ripjaws 4 2666MHz 16GB memory kit. This is one of the more conservative memory kits that G.Skill produce with a rather tame 2666MHz clock speed, but this does let the manufacturing team set an impressive 15-15-15-35 timing. G.Skill are renowned the world over with how well their memory kits perform and most of the world’s memory overclocking records are set with G.Skill memory.

“G.SKILL Ripjaws 4 series performance DDR4 memory is designed for the ultimate experience on the latest Intel X99 platform! Whether you are processing large amounts of data or intense gaming, experience smooth system performance with the newest next-generation PC memory technology! All Ripjaws 4 memory kits are tested with G.SKILL’s extensive suite of testing software to ensure maximum performance and stability. Make Ripjaws 4 the ideal choice for your DDR4 system!”

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

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

We won’t dwell on the packaging too much as it is very plain and simple. Four modules neatly packed into a small rectangular box. This kit is a quad-channel variety so each module is 4GB in size.

A Closer Look

The design of the Ripjaws series is very unique and very recognisable to most enthusiasts. I think the design could be taken to the next level if the ‘Ripjaws 4’ logo was laser etched on or cut out instead of a sticker.

Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2666MHz 32GB Memory Kit Review

Introduction


When you’re building a tower, memory normally gets the last thought; you budget for all of the other key parts and then you find yourself having to readjust when you remember that you didn’t add any memory to your basket. With consumer memory kits roughly starting off where DDR3 left off, the speeds are blisteringly fast; some exceeding 3333MHz.

Kingston is one of the most well-known memory manufacturers, with many years in the business; it knows its way around a memory module. Kingston produced some of the finest RAM I’ve ever owned in my personal computers; reliable speeds with great overclocking headroom. Today we look at the HyperX Fury DDR4 memory kit.

“HyperX® FURY DDR4 can handle even the toughest battle. It automatically recognises its host platform and overclocks to the highest frequency published (up to 2666MHz1) — so you can wreak havoc. FURY DDR4 runs at 1.2V, even at 2666MHz, so it stays cooler while you play. You don’t need to alter the voltage to reach higher speeds, which means there’s more power for other hardware in the system. FURY’s sleek, asymmetrical black heat spreader provides enhanced thermal dissipation to help keep your cool and help you stand out from the crowd.”

Let’s jump straight into it and see what the kit can really do.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

Packing is very similar to the rest of what Kingston offers its memory kits in. Two halves, one black with ridges for the modules and one clear to see the modules. Well, you could see them if there wasn’t so many information stickers in the way.

A Closer Look

A very premium looking memory kit. Pressed metal casing with raised and diamond etched ‘HyperX’ logo. This is just two of the four modules.