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BIOSTAR GAMING Z170X (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Sep 28, 2015 2:17 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: BIOSTAR

Circuit Analysis




The GAMING Z170X looks nice in the nude.





This motherboard most likely carries an 8+4+1+1 phase VRM (CPU, iGP, VCCSA, VCCIO). BIOSTAR is doubling 4+2 phases (they could also be doing 5+1 resulting in 10+2 phases, but it doesn't make a big difference) from a multiple output PWM to 8+4 using the proper doubler/driver combination. Each PWM phase is sent to an Intersil ISL6617 which is a phase doubler and outputs two phases. Each of those two phases has a single Intersil driver. The same thing is being done for both the CPU and iGPU phases for the VCC (VCore) and VCCGT (iGPU core). The VCCSA and VCCIO phases are located below the CPU socket.




The motherboard I received is a sample from BIOSTAR and has an engineering sample hybrid digital PWM on the board. Nevertheless, I can tell it's an Intersil PWM and that it supports multiple PWM outputs of at least 4+2 phases. It also looks to be more of a mainstream enthusiast PWM rather than a mobile PWM because there are no integrated drivers that are usually found on mobile PWMs from Intersil.


One high-side MOSFET and one low-side MOSFET are used for each phase, the SM4377 and SM4864 from SinoPower. The inductor specifications aren't well known, but the capacitors are 5K capacitors. On the right is an up-close of the doubler + two driver circuit used to expand the PWM outputs to each power phase (ISL6617 for the doubler, and maybe ISL6208 for the driver).




An Intersil ISL95857 provides outputs that drive the VCCIO and VCCSA. The memory VRM uses a uPI Semiconductor uP1514 for the PWM. A little chip located above the memory VRM is an eKT5201 from ELAN, which is the capacitive button controller.

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