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.

BIOSTAR Announce RACING H170GT3 Motherboard

BIOSTAR’s new racing series adopts a really intriguing chequered-flag PCB design and looks fantastic! In the past, I’ve been fairly critical of their consumer motherboards due to the fairly outdated appearance. Thankfully, the company has significantly improved in this area and I’m sure it will help them to become more successful in western markets. The BIOSTAR RACING H170GT3 is based on Intel’s H170 chipset and supports Skylake processors. Please note, the H170 chipset cannot in theory support overclocking or DDR4 DIMMs beyond 2133MHz. On the other hand, unofficial BCLK overclocking might be possible even with a locked multiplier providing the BIOS provides this functionality.

The motherboard also features a 32Gb/s M.2 slot for high-speed drives and SATA Express. Another highlight is the VIVID LED DJ and 5050 LED FUN which allows the user to customize lighting embedded on the PCB and heatsinks. As you might expect, there’s a high-end audio solution and decided section of the PCB to eliminate EMI. In terms of discrete expansion options, you can use two AMD GPUs in crossfire, although I’d strongly recommend using a single GPU solution on any H170 product. Furthermore, there’s two PCI-E x1 slots to add a sound card, or similar device. BIOSTAR opted for a 7-phase power delivery which is very impressive given the lack of overclocking on H170. As a result, the motherboard should remain perfectly stable and exhibit a great lifespan.

On the rear I/O, there are PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, DVI-D, two HDMI, four USB 3.0, RJ45, two USB 2.0 and 8 channel audio. The motherboard has a recommended retail price of $94.40. In the coming weeks, we should be receiving a sample and will compare the motherboard to similar H170 alternatives, B150 products and the higher-end Z170 options. So far, I’m really impressed with the aesthetic design, and BIOSTAR are renowned for using premium components.