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Supermicro SuperO C7Z170-M (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 6, 2016 1:18 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Supermicro

Here are key points about the SUPERMICRO C7Z170-M.

 

What's Hot

 

Component Quality: The thermal analysis of the VRM was quite revealing. Even at 4.5GHz, the VRM surface temperatures are very low compared to other motherboards, and those motherboards all have more phases than this board. With only four CPU VRM phases, the C7Z170-M can overclock my CPU to its maximum with ease, and that is because of component quality. While it is true that Skylake has low power requirements, I have seen small VRMs the same size as this one throttle back the CPU, but Supermicro's component selection is why this board can overclock the CPU with ease. Audio quality is high in both real life and tests, and that is because of the way Supermicro has routed those traces.

 

 

Lots of breathing room: The C7Z170-M's layout is quite well done. There is ample room between the DIMMs and the socket, and between the top PCI-E slot and the CPU and DIMMs. Accessing the M.2 slot or the CMOS battery is also quite simple. Buttons are also easily accessible. There are two USB 3.0 headers, and they are situated to reach front or rear USB 3.0 internal cables.

 

Subtle Color Scheme: A lot of motherboards these days are flashy, and while a lot of people like flashy motherboards, many might also like something more modest. Supermicro did their best to ensure the majority of the motherboard was black and added hints of red to different parts of the board.

 

BIOS Recovery Feature: It's not typical for more affordable motherboards to have BIOS recovery options, but the C7Z170-M can recover the BIOS from a flash drive loaded with a BIOS ROM file.

 

What's Not

 

Fan Control: Fan control is almost nonexistent. Apart from the fact that only 4-pin PWM fans will have speed control, speed control is limited to two pre-loaded profiles in the UEFI. The lack of manual fan control might be a turn-off for some, but Supermicro's default profile does offer a decent level of noise control and performance.

 

Memory Overclocking: As more and more people start to buy memory kits above 3000MHz, it is imperative that motherboard vendors work to add support for higher speed kits. The C7Z170-M could use some work in that regard, so I would stick to kits that have been validated with this motherboard.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Supermicro's SuperO brand is coming along quite well; with their latest Z170 motherboards, I have seen some significant improvements when it comes to usability and performance. SuperO motherboards have always had excellent component quality, but in the past, they lacked usability.

 

The C7Z170-M brings usability to the SuperO line; its layout is optimized for usage and the latest features are present and easily accessible. The color scheme is even equivalent to that of a high-end enthusiast motherboard and takes into account community feedback.

 

supermicro-supero-c7z170-intel-z170-motherboard-review_89

 

Hardware-wise, the C7Z170-M is solid; it has everything you might want in a Micro-ATX motherboard, but just like every motherboard it has its pitfalls. The biggest of these is memory overclocking, but to be honest, benefits from DDR4 speeds over 3000MHz are marginal at this time. One other thing I really like is the lack of lanes switches or hubs; all connectivity is directly connected to the PCH increasing performance and compatibility.

 

At $163, the C7Z170-M is filled with value. Everything from layout to hardware design has been optimized; you really are getting a server-quality motherboard built for gamers.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking)90%
Quality including Design and Build95%
General Features90%
Bundle and Packaging90%
Value for Money95%
Overall TweakTown Rating92%

The Bottom Line: Supermicro's SuperO C7Z170-M is a solid motherboard with server-grade components and design, providing high value at a reasonable price.

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