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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

Z170 Classified Circuit Analysis Continued

 

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The PLX8747 is a chip produced by PLX Technologies which was recently acquired by Avago. It's a PCI-E 3.0 switch that can take 16x or 8x PCI-E lanes and output 32x PCi-E lanes. Usually, the CPU provides all of its PCI-E lanes to the PEX8747 that in turn shoots out 16x/16x to two slots that can then be split to 8x/8x/8x/8x over four PCI-E slots. EVGA is also doing something with the CPU's PCI-E lanes before they hit the PEX8747. The CPU, in this case, sends half of it's PCI-E lanes (8x) directly to the first PCI-E slot, and the second 8x is sent to four PCI-E quick switches (each switches 2x PCI-E lanes), and can either go to the PEX8747 or back to the first slot for full 16x.

 

This configuration should deliver better single card performance because the PEX8747 adds some latency, but it still preserves the 4-way SLI capabilities that come with the PEX8747. Normally a standard PEX8747 requires a total of eight quick switches to switch two sets of 8x, in this case, there are 12 quick switches before of the initial switching before the PEX8747.

 

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Interestingly enough EVGA doesn't use the Realtek ALC1150 like most other motherboards and instead goes with the Creative CA0132, otherwise known as Core3Di. EVGA adds a sense amplifier and some Nichicon Gold series electrolytic audio capacitors, then divides the audio section from the rest of the PCB. There are 11 white LEDs that illuminate the audio PCB divide.

 

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EVGA uses two 1Gbit NICs from Intel; the first is the integrated NIC with i219v PHY and the second is WGI210AT.

 

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A single Texas Instruments quick switch is used to switch two PCI-E lanes between two SATA ports and the M.2 slot. For extra SATA, EVGA is using a Marvel SE9220 SATA6Gb/s controller. An ASMedia ASM1142 provides USB 3.1 through an internal header, but I am unsure if you get the same performance as through a dedicated USB 3.1 port.

 

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The main SuperIO is a Fintek F71889AD, which works with two NCT7802Y controllers to expand fan control.

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