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ASUS Z170-A (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Jan 7, 2016 2:40 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ASUS

Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption

 

System power usage is measured at the AC/DC PSU (the Corsair AX1200i) which I have connected to another system to measure the test system, and as a backup, I have a wall meter to verify. The CPU power is measured through the 8-pin connector, which is hooked up to a hall effect IC, which measures current and puts out a voltage in proportion to the current. That voltage is logged by a National Instruments ADC, which logs the DC voltage level that I then convert into current.

 

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Note on Thermal Images: In the temperature section, we use our Seek thermal imaging camera to capture the surface temperatures of major components on the board. I look at the VRM and then all other things that light up the screen. If there is something to worry about, then I will state it. Otherwise, I will just show the hotter running parts of the board for fun. Unless some component is over 80-90C, then there isn't anything to worry about.

 

 

All systems will act differently, so I will look for commonalities, such as how far from the VRM the heat spreads through the PCB and the difference in temperature between the front side and backside of the PCB. Keep in mind, the majority of the heat from the VRM goes into the PCB as it is a giant soldered on copper heat sink. A larger difference in temperature between the back and front of the PCB points towards a more effective heat sink.

 

Thermal Testing at Stock Speeds:

 

The image on the left is always at idle, and the image on the right is at load. During ALL TESTS, fans above the VRM that cool the CPU cooler's (Corsair H110i GT) radiator are turned on to high (12v).

 

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Full frontal.

 

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Up-close of the front of the VRM.

 

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Up-close of the back of the VRM.

 

 

Thermal Testing at 4.5GHz Overclocked Speeds:

 

The image on the left is always at idle, and the image on the right is at load. During ALL TESTS, fans above the VRM that cool the CPU cooler's (Corsair H110i GT) radiator are turned on to high (12v).

 

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Full frontal.

 

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Up-close of the front of the VRM.

 

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Up-close of the back of the VRM.

 

The VRM on the Z170-A is what I like to refer to as acceptable for Intel Skylake overclocking. Many motherboards in the same price range carry the same type of phases and perform the same under the thermal camera.

 

Higher-end motherboards such as the ROG series obviously perform much better and should last longer with heavy overclocks, but this motherboard performs well enough, so it should easily be able to handle a 24/7 overclock at 4.8GHz if your CPU can go that high.

 

Anything under 60C is great, 60-80C is acceptable, and anything above 80C is a bit worrisome (if at stock).

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