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BIOSTAR Racing Z170GTN Mini-ITX Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: 1 week, 3 days ago
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: BIOSTAR

Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption

 

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.

 

biostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-review

 

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).

 

biostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-reviewbiostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-review

 

Full frontal.

 

biostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-reviewbiostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-review

 

Up-close of the front of the VRM.

 

biostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-reviewbiostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-review

 

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).

 

biostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-reviewbiostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-review

 

Full frontal.

 

biostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-reviewbiostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-review

 

Up-close of the front of the VRM.

 

biostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-reviewbiostar-racing-z170gtn-mini-itx-motherboard-review

 

Up-close of the back of the VRM.

 

The VRM on the Z170GTN is small but formidable enough not to throttle under a 4.8GHz load with 1.35v VCore; this is partially due to the VRM heat sink. Many mini-ITX motherboards will throttle the CPU if the VRM gets too warm, but I did not encounter that with the Z170GTN.

 

Temperatures at the top were always higher than on the bottom of the PCB, indicating that the VRM heat sink was drawing the heat up and away. Temperatures did get into the 50s on the top of the VRM when overclocked, but that isn't anything to worry about.

 

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

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