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Supermicro C7Z170-SQ (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Oct 23, 2015 6:10 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Supermicro

Overclocking Results


CPU Overclocking


CPUID recently released their latest CPU-Z version that brings some major changes to the much-loved software. One of these changes has made it harder to get a validation at lower stability levels, so it becomes much more troublesome to validate 5.2GHz at 1.5v with every board. While CPU-Z has changed, many motherboards (not this one) don't have LLC. I have to set a higher voltage to compare all these boards at the same voltage. I have decided to reduce the CPU VCore to 1.4v applied (I will measure real VCore at the output capacitors), and see how high I can validate. On most boards its 5.0. I have also decided to add real voltage levels compared to what is set for all motherboards, if they don't have voltage read points I will mark where I got the readings from.




The C7Z170-SQ is doing 5.0GHz just like other high-end boards.





I tested stability at 4.7GHz CPU, 4.1GHz Uncore, and 2666MHz on the memory with 1.4v on the VCore.


I am using HandBrake to transcode a 2GB video, and it is very telling since it pulls all cores to the maximum frequency and load. Handbrake is good for a quick stability check, plus I get a log of the encoding speed and the number of errors. It is very easy for the queue not to finish all the way and just error out, and 1-3 hours of AIDA is about equal to this HandBrake test, so I am replacing it.




I have marked where you can measure the VCore manually with a digital multimeter, but the LLC is tricky. Supermicro has improved on their LLC (by adding in an LLC setting), so I am sure they can greatly improve on it in future BIOS releases. You have to enable and disable on the main overclocking page; enable allows for less voltage drop at load and disable increases VCore under load. Apart from that you also have AC/DC load line values in the UEFI under IA internal VR settings ( the standard part of the Intel UEFI source code, and is present on other boards as well).


These settings alter the feedback mechanism PWM chips use to control the VCore so that load line can be controlled by the CPU's internal mechanisms as well as external LLC. This internal LLC helps reduce the drop or increase it, any value above 350 (maximum is 6000) resulted in a constant 1.53v no matter what I set, so stay between 100-300, I preferred 200-250.


Be advised, that any software that engages the AVX extension (AIDA64, IBT, etc.) will incur a much larger voltage increase (around 500-700mv on average). I strongly recommend using a digital multimeter to read the VCore manually (CPUz isn't working). Otherwise, higher voltage will result in much higher temperatures and instability.


Memory Overclocking


Test 1: 4x4GB (32GB) Corsair VENGEANCE LPX 2666MHz C16




The C7Z170-SQ passed this test easily. I believe that Supermicro worked hard to improve XMP compatibility with higher-end DDR4 kits, and since a month ago it's possible to run high density at relatively high speeds compared to highest speed kits on the market. To be clear, this is two kits of 16GB Vengeance LXP memory not meant to be run together.


Test 2: 4x4GB (16GB) Corsair Dominator Platinum 3200MHz C16




This kit meant for X99 works just fine on the board, which is expected for a Z170 overclocking motherboard.


Test 3:2x4GB (8GB) G.Skill Ripjaws V 3600MHz C17




This kit doesn't work on all motherboards. Usually, only overclocking models can even boot this kit by just enabling XMP. The C7Z170-SQ runs this kit at 3466MHz pretty well but getting to 3600MHz proved troublesome when I tried just enabling XMP. Supermicro tells me that I have an older version of this kit (this is a pre-production sample from G.Skill) and that the latter versions work fine with XMP. Overall this kit wouldn't work with earlier BIOSes, but after updating the BIOS it worked.

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