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EVGA Z170 Classified (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Nov 21, 2015 2:18 am
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: EVGA

Here are key points about the EVGA Z170 Classified.

 

What's Hot

 

Overclocking Features: The Z170 Classified has a ton of overclocking features aimed to make your life easier, but it also has strong power delivery so that none of your overclocks are power bottlenecked. While the board has relatively basic overclocking features, they go a long way to making things easier. The triple BIOS is also useful because it's quite hard to kill off three BIOS ROMs in a row, and you can replace one. I was also surprised that my new 3733MHz DDR4 kit worked flawlessly with XMP, showing that EVGA is keeping up with higher speed DDR4 support.

 

 

3 and 4-way SLI Support: Not only does the EVGA Z170 Classified offer 3-way and 4-way SLI support, but it also has a unique implementation so that a single card can operate off all CPU lanes. This makes it so that the motherboard doesn't hurt single GPU performance because of the PEX8747 chip. The lane allocation also makes it so that there are 40x PCI-E lanes available to GPUs instead of 32x which most PEX8747 implementations offer.

 

Dual Intel NICs and Core3Di: The EVGA Z170 Classified is one of few motherboards with dual Intel NICs, and it carries the Core3Di chipset with Creative software.

 

Fan Control: EVGA has done a great job of implementing many fan headers with pretty decent BIOS support. Five of the seven headers work in either DC or PWM mode, and you can adjust the fan curves easily.

 

What's Not

 

No back-panel USB 3.1: While the board does have an internal USB 3.1 header powered by a USB 3.1 port, the signal quality and throughput requirements of USB 3.1 require higher spec cabling and ports that aren't part of many of the cases on the market.

 

Price Tag: At $400 the Z170 Classified is one of few motherboards which has the PEX8747, but $400 is still a lot to pay for a Z170 motherboard, even if it does have extra PCI-E lanes. This is a premium product, and as such carries a premium price tag.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

EVGA's Z170 Classified is an interesting product. It combines overclocking with power features such as dual Intel NICs, 4-way SLI support, and Core3Di audio. With the Z170 platform, SLI is limited to 2-way unless the motherboard uses a special PLX chip. That PLX chip is what this motherboard is all about. The Z170 Classified is built to be a 3D world record breaker, offering an interesting PLX bridge implementation to expand the number of PCI-E lanes to its maximum of 40x.

 

evga-z170-classified-intel-motherboard-review_101

 

There are a few downsides to the product, such as the high price tag, but there is quality in and on the PCB to help satisfy buyers. The VRM is one of the most powerful on the Z170 platform, and thermal imaging reveals excellent VRM performance. EVGA has also worked hard on improving XMP support for higher speed kits; I was able to run at 3733MHz with XMP, and overall CPU overclocking was quite strong. While the board does not have any unique OC features except for triple BIOS, its OC features are still very useful and welcomed.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking)93%
Quality including Design and Build95%
General Features92%
Bundle and Packaging97%
Value for Money85%
Overall TweakTown Rating92%

The Bottom Line: Overall, the EVGA Z170 Classified has the right hardware, features, and quality for a super stable 24/7 overclocked gaming powerhouse, but it will cost you.

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