SuperMicro C7Z170-SQ motherboard review

by Jack @ UNIXPlus November 03, 2015

SuperMicro C7Z170-SQ
Server grade gaming motherboards?

In this review we test the SuperMicro C7Z170-SQ motherboard. Many of you have probably never even heard of SuperMicro. See, this brand is predominantly active in the server market. And even in the Guru3D server-stack there are two SuperMicro servers. However, they have a new gaming line of consumer grade mainboards, and that we have to check out. Armed with that new Core i7 6700K processor this product comes with okay aesthetics. But how will it compete with the big names like MSI, ASUS and Gigabyte? Interested? Great! 

A motherboard that promises to deliver a high amount of features and provide that Skylake processor the full infrastructure needed for a kick-ass gaming PC. Dressed to kill and with added benefits like USB 3.1, multiple M.2 slots and the fastest DDR4 support the product will shock and awe. These motherboards can (well, must) be paired with new Skylake-S series processors. We'll quickly dive into the two most important ones. Skylake Core i5 6600K and Core i7 6700K processors for the desktop platform have been released. We've tested both, yet have separate reviews on each of these processors. A new chip, a new package meaning both of them are Socket 1151. The new series Skylake processors are energy efficient, quite powerful and they need to be paired with a new motherboard series. For you guys that means the Z170 and H170 range. In this review we test the Core i7 6700K. An unlocked Skylake processor that has four cores and a slim 92W TDP, that is lower compared to Haswell with its 95W TDP thanks to the new and smaller 14nm fabrication process. The quad core CPU has 8 MB L3 cache, and an integrated memory controller that supports both DDR4 and DDR3 memory. The Z170 and H170 series motherboards will all be offered with DDR4 though. For the gaming community two processors are the most important; the Core i7 6700K has four CPU cores with Hyper-Threading, 4.0GHz frequency, 4.20GHz maximum Turbo Boost frequency. Then there is the Core i5 6600K with four cores, 3.50GHz frequency and a 3.90GHz maximum Turbo Boost frequency, both are based on the new LGA1151 socket package. Skylake is the code-name used by Intel for the 14nm processor micro-architecture under development and is the successor to the Broadwell architecture.

Right, back to the SuperMicro C7Z170-SQ motherboard. For the money it has decent features and positions itself in the somewhat more mainstream range of products. The SuperMicro C7Z170-SQ is a motherboard aimed at gamers, yet has server grade DNA, as the company is all about and oozes that in their product announcements. 

The first impression of the board? Honestly it looks a bit dull. But hey, black and red colors are used making this an OK looking motherboard, but compared to the ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI motherboards out there, there is much left to be desired. The target price for the SuperMicro C7Z170-SQ will sit at roughly 239 EURO, not cheap but not too expensive; perhaps a little steep for what it is and what it offers though. Features wise you may expect triple PCI-Express 3.0 ports, a Realtek audio solution, a single Intel gigabit Ethernet jack, multiple USB 2.0/30 headers yet also one USB 3.1 (10Gbps) Type C port (rear) and yes, a Thunderbolt AIC header. And then even more extras like DDR4 memory support up-to a whopping 3200 MHz, their M.2. solution is 32 Gbps allowing for the fastest speeds. Anyway, have a peek at what we review today and then head onwards into the review.




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Jack @ UNIXPlus
Jack @ UNIXPlus