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GIGABYTE Z170X-SOC Force (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Oct 26, 2015 2:23 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

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 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 Z170X-SOC Force is doing 5.0GHz just like other high-end boards. CPU overclocking is pretty much confined to the CPU these days, so I should be hitting 5GHz on the majority of motherboards, some might be lower, but not the Z170X-SOC Force. CPU-Z misreads VCore, and I used the OC buttons to change the multiplier.





I tested stability at 4.8GHz 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.




There are many voltage read points provided on the Z170X-SOC Force, you can measure every important voltage at the pads or by using the connectors that are quite handy. If you have eight different digital multimeters, then you can measure eight voltages at the same time because of the provided connectors. I also tested LLC through manual measurements.


Overclocking motherboards usually have one type of LLC that increase voltage under load and others that allow for small drops, this is because LLC isn't static, and an increase at 1.3v at 4.5GHz might be a slight drop at 7Ghz at 1.9v. The Z170X-SOC Force might have some of the best LLC I have seen using the second level, "Turbo" and its "Extreme" setting is perfect for higher voltage/current scenarios.


Memory Overclocking


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




The Z170X-SOC Force passed this test with flying colors. To be clear, this is two kits of 16GB Vengeance LXP memory not meant to be run together in most situations.


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 Z170X-SOC Force runs this kit at 3600MHz without batting an eye, all I needed to do was enable XMP and save and exit the BIOS.

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