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Z170 motherboard quality

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Friends,

 

If all goes well over the next 2 months, I will have sufficient budget for a new build for P3D and FSX.  I'm fairly well convinced to get an i7-6700k and either a 970 or 980.  But I'd like to save the video card debate for a different discussion.  My main struggle lately is deciding on a motherboard.  I've used many ASUS boards in the past and my current FS build features a ROG Maximus VI Impact, a nice mini-itx MB that has performed rather well.

 

For the new build, I'm not limiting myself to any form factor:  so full ATX or micro-ATX would be fine as I will choose a case after makig a decision about the motherboard.  The problem is I see an alarming amount of negative feedback for all Z170 motherboards, even the top of the line ASUS Hero, Formula, and Deluxe.  I don't know if this is merely a consequence of their popularity, or if it is a signal that their quality is slipping.  My requirements:  I just want a rock solid, stable, reliable board that is well suited for P3D/FSX.  No SLI, and just a moderate overclock (if that).

 

How worried should I be about these bad reviews?  Is anything basically a lottery and just have to chance it and hope I get a good board?

 

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My setup is ASUS z170 Pro Gaming 6700K 4.7ghz ASUS 980TI STRIX and GSkill 3200mhz DDR4 CL15 and I couldnt be happier, no problems with anything at all. 

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Same here Andrew, looks like a lot of Z170 boards of all brands are reported DOA. 

Hopefully the one you order will be in good shape, if not then they'll have to keep sending you one until you get a good one.

Reading these tails of woe from customers can be stressful..

 

I'm specing out a build also that's real close to what you have Ron. 

Have you posted any FS performance feedback with that rig?

 

 

I'm going with:

i6700k 4 gig Skylake Unlocked

Asus Z170 Maximus Hero VIII Hero Alpha

Asus Strix 980 GTX Ti

16gb Ripjaw 3200 DDR4 ram

Crucial MX200 500gb SSD

Power supply- undetermined

 

Pulling my hair out over a cooling solution which will determine what case I use.

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The fastest Asus MoBo for flightsimming with single gpu is without any doubts the Impact VIII.

The main reason it's the memory magnment , only 2 slots very close to the cpu.

The quality is great , I swap the Hero VIII for a Impact with sucsess.

Gone be a very nice system with moderate OC on the cpu and you can run the fastest mems out there with XMP settings up to +4000mhz about 200-300mhz higher than 4slots mobos.

 

Have 2 flight sim PC.s for P3D V3.2 with single Gpu , one 5960X @4.7ghz with extreme V Mobo and the second 6700K @5.0ghz 4000mhz cl16 men's on a Impact VIII, that's my fastest sim PC.

My personal opinion is that you get more out for less money if you go for a Skylake based system,

It can turnaround with the upcoming Broadwell-E after computex we now.

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Friends,

 

If all goes well over the next 2 months, I will have sufficient budget for a new build for P3D and FSX.  I'm fairly well convinced to get an i7-6700k and either a 970 or 980.  But I'd like to save the video card debate for a different discussion.  My main struggle lately is deciding on a motherboard.  I've used many ASUS boards in the past and my current FS build features a ROG Maximus VI Impact, a nice mini-itx MB that has performed rather well.

 

For the new build, I'm not limiting myself to any form factor:  so full ATX or micro-ATX would be fine as I will choose a case after makig a decision about the motherboard.  The problem is I see an alarming amount of negative feedback for all Z170 motherboards, even the top of the line ASUS Hero, Formula, and Deluxe.  I don't know if this is merely a consequence of their popularity, or if it is a signal that their quality is slipping.  My requirements:  I just want a rock solid, stable, reliable board that is well suited for P3D/FSX.  No SLI, and just a moderate overclock (if that).

 

How worried should I be about these bad reviews?  Is anything basically a lottery and just have to chance it and hope I get a good board?

 

 

 

Hi,

 

I was originally going for the Asus Z170 Deleuxe but at the last minute used my common sense, realised I didn't need the majority of the features and opted for the Z170-A. I'm kind of glad I did, as it seems some Deluxe owners have had issues.

 

To be honest, I don't believe the quality of Asus products is slipping at all. I would say what you have witnessed on the internet is pretty typical when a new CPU architecture is released. Namely, as it's a new architecture, there are the usual BIOS bugs to contend with.

 

Not unusual at all for this to occur, it's very common for a multitude of bugs to be present that need fixing and overclocking performance tweaking to be required.

 

The good news is that the Z170-A seems to be less affected by this phenomenon than the other motherboard variants from Asus. I would hypothesise that it may be down to the complexity of the board. I would guess that the more complex that boards are the more likely they are to require BIOS tweaking, and the less complex boards not so much. Same with any technology I would say.

 

The other point of course is that Skylake has been out for a while now, so I suspect that most of these BIOS issues have been resolved. So my advice is to pay attention to the date that these motherboard complaints were posted. Then in regard to the motherboard you opt for, check to see if the specific issues have now been resolved.

 

 

 

Pulling my hair out over a cooling solution which will determine what case I use.

 

 

Briefly, so as not to side track the OP's topic...

 

It would depend if you are a fan of closed loop AIO water coolers, or prefer big tower coolers. Once that decision is made the rest should be easy.

 

For big tower coolers, the Noctua NH-D15S is the way to go... No pump to fail, zero chance of leaks, awesome cooling and quiet. Very good RAM compatibility now too. Pretty much the D15 now perfected.

 

 

For closed loop coolers, my choice would be Corsair H110i... Nice big radiator, so lots of surface area. Big fans so should be reasonably quiet for an AIO.

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Same here Andrew, looks like a lot of Z170 boards of all brands are reported DOA. 

Hopefully the one you order will be in good shape, if not then they'll have to keep sending you one until you get a good one.

Reading these tails of woe from customers can be stressful..

 

I'm specing out a build also that's real close to what you have Ron. 

Have you posted any FS performance feedback with that rig?

 

 

I'm going with:

i6700k 4 gig Skylake Unlocked

Asus Z170 Maximus Hero VIII Hero Alpha

Asus Strix 980 GTX Ti

16gb Ripjaw 3200 DDR4 ram

Crucial MX200 500gb SSD

Power supply- undetermined

 

Pulling my hair out over a cooling solution which will determine what case I use.

 

 

Looks at the Corsair H110i...it keeps the 6700k temps belows 65C all the time and it looks cool too. I purchased a CorsAir case to go with it. 

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I recently bought a Asrock Z170 Gaming 7+ an di ma very satsfied.  Price point was somewhat less than a comparable Gigabyte or Asus board.  It has oodles of SATA ports, three - count em - three m.2 ports.  Four full PCIE slots.  I put an I7-6700K in it and I am completely satisfies.

 

Jeff

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The fastest Asus MoBo for flightsimming with single gpu is without any doubts the Impact VIII.

 

Interesting, I hadn't thought of that before. I'd expected the mini-itx to be a compromise. I have an older gen Impact and it is a solid board, but very cramped. I could barely manage to get a low profile noctua cooler on top of it.

 

What would be a good case and cooler for the Impact VIII? I have my eye on the new Noctua D15S, but I fear that would crush this small board, no? Especially with the daughter cards required to hang on top of it.

 

Is there a mini itx case that will fit a 970 or 980?

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Well be careful if you go MiniATX because then you'll probably buy a smaller case and then try and stick GPU like 980TI and no have enough room....I made this exact mistake. I now have a huge case and my GPU just about fits :D

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When I built my new system last fall I at first got caught up on ratings on various web sites. Then when I got more focused I noticed a significant difference in rear panel outputs. Since the reviews were all over the place I made my decision from among the major brands and chose the one that provided the best match for convenient I/O for me.  Just saying.....

 

Has worked out to exceed my expectations.

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Hi

The Fractal Design Core 500 fit the D15s and a 980 Ti Matrix Platinum, then they have i slightly bigger Nano S.

 

Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ITX is a bigger one but very nice

 

Hardware canucks have reviews on the tube.

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Thank you for the suggestions Ron and Martin!

I went with the Fractal Design Define S with Window case (plenty of room for the big cooler radiator) and Corsair Hydro Series H110i GT.

Andrew, I will let you know how the mobo checks out.

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The Fractal Design Core 500 fit the D15s and a 980 Ti Matrix Platinum, then they have i slightly bigger Nano S.

 

If I go with a mini-itx, the Design Core 500 will definitely be my top choice for case... amazing to be able to fit all that into just 19 liters!!

 

Frank, your Gigabyte motherboard is reviewed very highly as well and I will check it out. ASRock too is a worthy contender.  Thanks everyone for the input!

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Not so keen on mini-itx. Yes you can build quite a powerful system these days, but cooling will always be compromised in such a confined space. We serious enthusiasts should go big in my opinion. 

 

I went for the stunning [but expensive] Lian Li X510.

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Friends,

 

If all goes well over the next 2 months, I will have sufficient budget for a new build for P3D and FSX.  I'm fairly well convinced to get an i7-6700k and either a 970 or 980.  But I'd like to save the video card debate for a different discussion.  My main struggle lately is deciding on a motherboard.  I've used many ASUS boards in the past and my current FS build features a ROG Maximus VI Impact, a nice mini-itx MB that has performed rather well.

 

For the new build, I'm not limiting myself to any form factor:  so full ATX or micro-ATX would be fine as I will choose a case after makig a decision about the motherboard.  The problem is I see an alarming amount of negative feedback for all Z170 motherboards, even the top of the line ASUS Hero, Formula, and Deluxe.  I don't know if this is merely a consequence of their popularity, or if it is a signal that their quality is slipping.  My requirements:  I just want a rock solid, stable, reliable board that is well suited for P3D/FSX.  No SLI, and just a moderate overclock (if that).

 

How worried should I be about these bad reviews?  Is anything basically a lottery and just have to chance it and hope I get a good board?

 

Andrew, I'm happy to report that my Asus Z170 Maximus Hero VIII Hero Alpha booted with no issues and is purring like a kitten.

The bios screens are amazing in their functionality and must be seen to be believed.

I competed the build yesterday and everything went smoothly.

 

Here are the components I settled on:

 

Windows 10

Fractal Design Define S w/Window case

i6700k 4 gb Skylake Unlocked

Corsair Hydro Series H110i GT CPU Cooler

Asus Z170 Maximus Hero VIII Hero Alpha

Zotac Amp! Extreme 980 GTX Ti

16gb Ripjaw 3200 DDR4 RAM

Crucial MX200 500gb SSD

Cooler Master Gold 750W PS

 

P3D default flight w/ default sim settings and stock system settings- 240 FPS  :shok: 

​When I get everything installed into P3D it will probably be 22FPS..  :vava:

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Nice build, skully! I haven't decided yet but I still have 2 months before funds will become available so I'm still early in the planning stages. I'm still heavily leaning Asus despite the alarming reviews. In fact I see the same situation with all recent motherboards and I think it's mainly a consequence of the fact that people with a bad experience are more likely to write a review compared to people whose systems are working fine. It's also useless to see positive reviews from people who have only had their parts for a week! I'd prefer a random sample of owners after 6 months to get a better read on the long term quality, but such a sample is probably impossible to find.

 

I wonder if Asus publishes sales figures and RMA rates? Now that would be useful, but I doubt they would share those numbers.

 

So it's probably going to be Impact VIII, since my current system is an Impact VI and I like it a lot. Might look into Hero or Gene but I don't have the real estate for a massive tower case.

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I wonder if Asus publishes sales figures and RMA rates? 

 

 

 

I seriously doubt it. I often think that with AIO water coolers, in that we have no idea how many spring a leak because they don't publish the failure rates. 

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I seriously doubt it. I often think that with AIO water coolers, in that we have no idea how many spring a leak because they don't publish the failure rates.

 

Equally, it's worth mentioning that the vast majority of AIO coolers perform perfectly and, hence, the failure rate may not justify publication. AIO coolers generally have a good record for reliability and, as with all things, it tends to be only the relatively few complaints you read about as those pleased with the product tend not to go into print about it. The failures tend to be more environmental than mechanical; being stored in seriously sub–zero temperatures during delivery was one well-documented problem. It's not unknown for fans to fail on air coolers (they're by no means perfect) and manufacturers are just as unlikely to publish failure rates for them. Do the research and make a choice - there are always better and worse versions of both types of coolers.

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Equally, it's worth mentioning that the vast majority of AIO coolers perform perfectly and, hence, the failure rate may not justify publication. AIO coolers generally have a good record for reliability and, as with all things, it tends to be only the relatively few complaints you read about as those pleased with the product tend not to go into print about it. The failures tend to be more environmental than mechanical; being stored in seriously sub–zero temperatures during delivery was one well-documented problem. It's not unknown for fans to fail on air coolers (they're by no means perfect) and manufacturers are just as unlikely to publish failure rates for them. Do the research and make a choice - there are always better and worse versions of both types of coolers.

 

 

Oh yes, leaks are indeed probably rare. My only point is that we have no idea how many units fail, either from new or some time after use, as the figures aren't published. 

 

The reason failure rates aren't published of course is nothing to do with "majority of AIO coolers perform perfectly"  so failure rated don't justify publication...  if failure rates were very high, manufacturers still wouldn't make failure rates known, simply because it would result in the consumer loosing confidence in the product and sales would be lost.

 

Air coolers aren't at all perfect, as you say, and fans do fail, but a fan failing on an air cooler is a trifling affair, a simple matter of buying a new fan for very little outlay. On the other hand, when an AIO water cooler fails the heat sink itself becomes useless and motherboard and graphics cards are damaged. Then follows a couple of months or more, attempting to get compensation from the cooler manufacturer for the damaged components.

 

As you say, we must do the research and decide for ourselves. For many, AIO coolers are aesthetically more pleasing. And of course many are okay with a small risk of damage from leaks. For that reason there's no way I would deride anyone for making that choice. I have considered the H110 myself in the past.

 

The NH-D15S cools superbly, is very quiet, no pump to fail or become noisy, and absolutely zero chance of leaks. Compared to an AIO cooler with an admittedly small chance of a leak and subsequent component damage... it was an easy choice for me.

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Air coolers aren't at all perfect, as you say, and fans do fail, but a fan failing on an air cooler is a trifling affair, a simple matter of buying a new fan for very little outlay. On the other hand, when an AIO water cooler fails the heat sink itself becomes useless and motherboard and graphics cards are damaged. Then follows a couple of months or more, attempting to get compensation from the cooler manufacturer for the damaged components.

 

AIO coolers that have leaked have tended to do so in the packaging prior to fitting. I can't recall reading about a modern AIO leaking after fitting (that's not to say that they haven't) and if they have a pump or fan failure, which appears no more likely on a recent unit than an air cooler, then the BIOS over-temperature protection should shut the system down before damage occurs. We could argue, with reviews to back up the arguments, about which type is the best but, as I think we both agree, in the end it's down to personal choice.

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AIO coolers that have leaked have tended to do so in the packaging prior to fitting. I can't recall reading about a modern AIO leaking after fitting

 

 

 

Nope, not true plenty of AIO's have leaked damaging motherboards and graphics cards. Just as many that leak in the packaging. In fact it makes fascinating reading, the endeavours of owners attempting to claim for damaged motherboards and graphics cards. Corsair it has to be said are quite good now regarding this. Other companies aren't. 

 

 

if they have a pump or fan failure, which appears no more likely on a recent unit than an air cooler,

 

 

 

I've never come across a fan [simple tech] dead on arrival, air cooler or AIO. 

 

 

We could argue, with reviews to back up the arguments, about which type is the best but, as I think we both agree, in the end it's down to personal choice.

 

 

Certainly is personal choice. Some are fine with the small chance of leaks and subsequent component damage, some aren't, some prefer an air cooler that can't possibly damage other components as a result of a water leak. By the same token, some dislike the aesthetics of a huge air cooler and prefer the way the rigs look with an AIO. It's down to priorities.

 

But what we can say of course is that an air cooler heat sink can never fail, never leak and can last a lifetime. That can't be said for an AIO. Air cooler heat sinks have no moving parts, AIO's have a pump.

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The decision for me had nothing to do with aesthetics; it was based on the most headroom I could get with a big overclock so I went for the Corsair H110i GT. Noctua coolers are very good but ultimately if you want the lowest temperatures you get them with liquid cooling.

 

There's a recent article that reviews the NH-D15S: https://www.guru3d.com/articles-pages/noctua-nh-d15s-cpu-cooler-review,1.html. It does very well for an air cooler but if you look on page 8 at the overclocked processor under load, the Noctua is 10 degrees hotter than the Corsair. There are plenty of articles that put them closer together but they tend to either compare the older H110 (and not the later H110i GT) or they go for a smaller overclock at a lower voltage.

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 It does very well for an air cooler but if you look on page 8 at the overclocked processor under load, the Noctua is 10 degrees hotter than the Corsair.

 

 

 

Yep. 10 degrees sounds about right. You can equip the 15S with a second fan of course, which shaves another 2-3 degrees off due to increased static pressure. So that brings you to 7 degrees hotter than the H110i GT. 7 degrees isn't much to be honest. Yes it will increase overclocking headroom a tad, but given that overlcocking is linear in a properly balanced system, the increase in terms of frame rate is very small. Maybe 1 or 2 frames per second.

 

Having said that, if your objective is, as you say, to achieve the most overclocking headroom, all be it a modest improvement in frame rate, then fair enough. 

 

What you get for sacrificing a mere 7 degrees of course is as we've discussed, a heat sink with no moving parts and no chance of leaks. And of course very quiet, which brings me on to another important point...

 

Namely the fan variable! 

 

I believe the fans that come with your H110 are similar in terms of specifications to the D15S, apart from the Noctua having only one fan of course.

 

However, what many AIO manufacturers do is include very high RPM, and thus noisy fans. In a manner of speaking, cheating, to achieve better performance. The Kraken is a good example of this. For that reason, eliminating the fan variable and comparing heat sinks with the same fans is always useful. 

 

But yes, great cooler the H110i GT. Would certainly be my choice if I went AIO.

 

 

 

Direct comparison here, but as you say, not a high overclock. Only one degree in it at 4.4.

 

Where the D15S wins out of course is in terms of noise, much quieter than the H110i GT.

 

http://hexus.net/tech/reviews/cooling/80538-corsair-hydro-series-h110i-gt/?page=4

 

Pity they didn't try higher overclocks.

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I just installed the Corsair H115i in my new build, so far pleased with the performance.  I'm running it on the "quiet" (essentially silent) setting on a 6700K, and even at 4.6ghz with P3Dv3/PMDG 777 temps are in the 50C's.  Idle temps are ~22C.

 

Of course, there are also "balanced" and "performance" settings (balanced is still quiet but can be heard, where as performance sounds about like the inside of my Grumman ha).  Not sure when I'd really need these settings though, guess if I wanted to go crazy with voltage.

 

So, no complaints with the AIO Corsair, it's my first, but has met or exceeded my expectations and was simpler to install than I thought.  Was a bit more expensive than the D15S, which I too have read nothing but great things about.

 

Board wise, I went with the Gigabyte Z170MX Gaming 5, so far no complaints with it either.  Booted right up, has a decent enough BIOS, and has been totally stable, even while overclocking CPU/RAM.

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I had a very, very disappointing experieince with the Asus Maximus Hero VI board. Huge expectation and massive disappointment. Multiple issues that affected many people globally that can be read about on the Asus ROG forums for those that would care. One of the biggest was the fact that the BIOS clock would freeze. A problem Asus never did really acknowledge or fix. When this happened while flying NGX, all systems would go haywire and AP would disconnect and become broken. This being due to a security protocol in the NGX that requires the BIOS clock to keep time.

 

Bottom line, won't touch Asus boards for a good while, if ever again. I Have just upgraded to i7 6700K and went with a MSI board. Had been very impressed with two mid range boards of theirs that I purchased for my kids PC's (not Z170) - in fact they booted far quicker than my Asus Hero VI ever did.

 

So, I went with the MSI Z170 XPower Gaming Titanium Edition. Got good reviews on most tech review sites I checked in at. Everything I need and none of the features I do not need. Not the cheapest board for sure but if you are going for performance, this is where it starts, not the CPU, RAM or GPU. :wink:

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