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EVGA Z170 FTW (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review (Page 2)

By: Steven Bassiri from Aug 10, 2015 @ 15:22 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: EVGA

Packaging and the Board

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EVGA has always had some of the best packaging. All accessories are sealed in anti-static bags, and the box itself comes shrink wrapped so you know that no one has tampered with the motherboard. The board also comes with all types of stickers on it so you know how to install everything correctly.

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Accessories include 2x SATA6G cables, IO shield, metal IO Cover, 2-Way SLI bridge, screw for M.2, driver DVD, case badge, and manuals. This is an early sample so there was no driver DVD.

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EVGA's Z170 FTW has pretty good fan control. All seven fan headers circled in red work as DC or PWM headers. EVGA's BIOS fan control is quite good, and while it doesn't have the most configuration options or a GUI, it will get things done. The motherboard itself is aesthetically appealing. While it might look odd at first glance to see such an over-sized VRM heat sink which only covers half of the VRM (all CPU phases are covered, iGP phases are left open aired), it looks pretty good inside of a case. The black on black design of the board makes it appealing to many who just want the motherboard to fade into the case and not stand out. The IO cover gets rid of the reflective glare of the IO panel, and its brushed aluminum construction provides an all-black montage. The back of the motherboard is bare except for 11 white LEDs, which illuminate the audio section's PCB divide.

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The IO Panel features 6x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0, a single NIC, HDMI, DisplayPort, 7.1 audio outputs with TOSLINK, and a clear CMOS button.

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The PCI-E layout is pretty simple; for starters all PCI-E slots are PCI-E 3.0. The top two PCI-E 16x slots run at 16x/0x with one card or 8x/8x with two cards. The third (16x) and fourth (4x) PCI-E slots are both 4x slots wired to the PCH. The last PCI-E slot (16x) is a 1x slot routed to the PCH. If running 2-way SLI, you are limited to double slot cards because only the first two slots are capable of supporting SLI. This PCI-E layout does have an advantage in that it supports many options for add-in PCI-E adapters, such as one for USB 3.1 or a sound card. There is a PCI-E 6-pin power input plug for extra PCI-E power if you need it.

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The Z170 PCH provides six SATA6Gb/s ports and EVGA is using all of them. A USB 3.0 internal header is located in the lower right-hand corner of the motherboard near the color coded case headers.

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The M.2 slot is a 4x PCI-E slot that also supports SATA based drives. There is one caveat; if you populate the M.2 slot, then SATA ports 4 and 5 will be disabled. A built-in speaker is present and it beeps out codes during boot up, and you can disable this feature if you want. EVGA provides on board power and reset button as well as a POST code display. The POST code display doubles as a real-time temperature display for the CPU core temperature.

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The audio section is physically divided from the rest of the PCB and EVGA made sure to minimize components on the audio section. The VRM heat sink is quite tall, but it shouldn't interfere with most heat sinks. A single 8-pin header is used to power the CPU VRM.

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All the heat sinks are screwed into the motherboard, and make great contact with the components. The VRM heat sink also cools the inductors, which tend to get pretty hot on all motherboards.

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