Intel’s latest Skylake architecture is built on the 14nm manufacturing process and designed to replace the previous generation, Haswell Refresh CPUs. However, the Core i7-6700K is currently a poor value proposition throughout Europe and costs upwards of £350. While the Z170 motherboards are an affordable proposition, some consumers are still waiting for CPU price cuts before considering making the switch. Furthermore, the i7-6700K is priced incredibly close to the X99-based Core i7 5820K which contains 6 cores and provides enhanced performance in multi-threaded workstation tasks.
Eventually, Skylake K-series CPUs should fall to reasonable pricing around the £250 mark and increase the sales of Z170 motherboards. The latest motherboard to arrive at eTeknix headquarters is the Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 TH which supports 3-way SLI, Turbo B-Clock Tuning IC, SATA Express, USB 3.1 Type-C and 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 capable of powering dual 4K displays at 60Hz. Gigabyte’s engineering team has developed a feature-rich motherboard which utilizes the fastest connectivity options on the market. As a result, I expect it to perform remarkably well in every benchmark.
Packing and Accessories
The Z170X-UD5 TH is bundled in a visually appealing black and gold box which clearly displays the unit’s Thunderbolt 3 functionality.
On the rear, Gigabyte focused on the huge connectivity options and impressive speeds which come from Thunderbolt 3, and Intel’s USB 3.1 controller.
In terms of accessories, the motherboard comes with a user’s manual, installation guide, I/O shield, SLI bridge and driver disk.
Gigabyte also includes a G Connector to easily conect front panel headers, SATA cables and Rear I/O dust covers. These covers should prolong the rear connector’s lifespan as dust build-up can cause damage over time.