BIOSTAR is a smaller motherboard manufacturer who traditionally had only produced a couple enthusiast motherboard models per chipset. For the Intel Z170 chipset, they have a handful of well-placed gaming centric enthusiast motherboards. I also took a look at their GAMING Z97X, and I was quite pleased with its performance and overall abilities compared to motherboards from larger vendors.
What made the GAMING Z97X stand out was its high features to price ratio, resulting in more features for a lower or same price as competitors with roughly the same performance. At first glance, the GAMING Z170X looks almost like an exact match to the GAMING Z97X. Besides the obvious differences in chipsets and features, they are aesthetic twins for the most part.
BIOSTAR introduced a non-traditional exchange with their GAMING Z97X, offering it on their official eBay store and sent a few to Newegg. These changes alter the business model, cutting out the retailer resulting in more immediate returns (and eventually higher returns to the consumer). While some might feel apprehensive about shopping on eBay because of product returns and warranties, a quick search on their eBay page reveals the motherboard still carries the same warranty. And there is a short term return policy if the product is broken (14 days money back). It is too early to tell how this new business model will serve BIOSTAR, but my contact told me they will also send a few boards to Newegg so it should show up there soon. Leaving the discussion of purchasing the board to rest, let's take a look at the motherboard has to offer; let's begin the adventure known as The GAMING Z170X.
The GAMING Z170X carries everything you can expect from a motherboard at the $200 mark. Dual NICs (one Intel and one Killer), USB 3.1 Type-C, two M.2 32Gb/s slots, and three SATA Express top the list of connectivity features. BIOSTAR has custom Realtek based audio on the motherboard, and they have a GAMING COMMANDER external front panel box that carries a CMedia codec (same as the Z97 model). The motherboard supports 3-way CrossFireX, but SLI isn't supported (same as their Z97 model).
The GAMING Z170X is currently $199.99 on eBay, which places it in the upper-middle class of motherboard. There are a huge number of cheaper Z170 motherboards that carry a lot of features, so at this price point motherboards need to start offering custom extras that other motherboards don't have.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and the GAMING Z170X]
- Page 3 [BIOSTAR GAMING Z170X Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [BIOSTAR GAMING Z170X Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup]
- Page 7 [Overclocking]
- Page 8 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption]
- Page 11 [What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]