Here are key points about the Supermicro C7Z170-OCE.
Quality Everywhere: The C7Z170-OCE has top shelf components in basically every corner. The VRMs are either from Infineon brands such as IR or Primarion or from Texas Instruments. Both of these companies make premium power circuitry components usually used on enterprise products, but the C7Z170-OCE carries them. Consequently, the motherboard should last a long time even with a high CPU overclock and overclocking will not be bottlenecked by the motherboard's power.
PEX8747 Without A Crazy Premium: Current Skylake CPUs are limited to a maximum of 16x PCI-E 3.0 from the CPU to the PCI-E slots, by adding in the PEX8747 Supermicro has increased the lane count to 32x. This brings support for more GPUs in multi-GPU configurations, and combinations of GPUs with PCI-E based storage devices.
PCI-E spacing is also unique on the C7Z170-OCE since Supermicro only is providing three full sized slots. This spacing allows the GPUs to breathe better since they are further apart and allows for the use of larger CPU heat sinks (NH-D15). The PEX8747 also can allow a single GPU to run at 16x while other 16x slots are filled with PCI-E based storage devices. While other Z170 motherboards with the PEX8747 cost anywhere from $400-$500, the C7Z170-OCE only costs $300.
No storage bandwidth sharing: There are only four PCI-E quick switches on this board to allow 8x of PCI-E 3.0 to hop between 16x PCI-E lanes. The M.2 slot, SATA ports, and all USB 3.0 get their own hardwired PCH bandwidth. This should result in faster performance depending on your power settings. The reason I mention this is because many other motherboards might list a ton of features, but rarely are you able to utilize all ports at once; many times SATA ports share with M.2 or USB 3.0 is on hubs, but that is not the case on the C7Z170-OCE.
Uniquely Green: I am a fan of green motherboards, and they have become very rare in previous years. However, Supermicro's desire to stand out has led to a nice green motherboard. Supermicro did a great job of trying to make the motherboard look like an enthusiast product (larger heat sink, plastic IO cover). If you want a green themed build, this board fits the bill quite well.
Dual Intel NICs: Dual Intel NICs are actually demanded by a lot of users, and the C7Z170-OCE delivers on that front.
I don't get the buttons: I do actually understand what the buttons do and I understand the different auto OC buttons and their purpose, which is valid, but there are two things I should point out. First, there is no reset button (which is as or more useful than the power button), and the power button might not look like a power button at first glance. Second, I am glad Supermicro decided to move the power button a few millimeters away from the CPU socket to the edge of the motherboard, but why are the ClearCMOS and BIOS Recovery buttons so close? I have to be careful to press the right button.
Not many rear I/O USB Type-A: There are only four USB 3.0 type-A ports on the back of the C7Z170-OCE and a single type-C connector also resides on the backpanel (but type-C isn't common yet). If you want more, you will need to buy a PCI-E bracket to expand internal ports to the back, and Supermicro has provided a USB 3.1 controller to power the USB 3.0 internal header closest to the PCI-E slots.
Supermicro's C7Z170-OCE is, in my opinion, their best attempt yet at an enthusiast motherboard. Regarding aesthetics, the green is quite appealing. I liked this shade, but I am still waiting for someone to do UV reactive green ports. I also commend Supermicro for sourcing green fan headers and doing a decent job of matching the green on the heat sinks and ports. Regarding hardware implementation and quality, the motherboard is both very useful and durable, it should last a long time. Obviously, the product has its drawbacks, memory overclocking above 3200MHz needs some tweaking, but I am told that should be done very soon, and I will update the review when I get a new BIOS.
The BIOS was complete and felt like a high-end UEFI, but of course, it takes some getting used to since it is much different than UEFI's offered by top brands. I was impressed with the improvements to CPU overclocking, it is easier to do on the C7Z170-OCE than any other enthusiast Supermicro motherboard, plus the motherboard carries non-K overclocking abilities.
Supermicro has done a great job with their C7Z170-OCE, and the inclusion of the PEX8747 adds a cherry on top. For $300, the C7Z170-OCE is the most affordable PEX8747 motherboard by a long shot and doesn't skimp on quality to meet that price.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Performance (including Overclocking)||90%|
|Quality including Design and Build||95%|
|Bundle and Packaging||90%|
|Value for Money||95%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||93%|
The Bottom Line: Supermicro's C7Z170-OCE is an enthusiast gaming motherboard that offers expansive storage and graphics capabilities along with solid performance and durable components, all at a fair price.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and C7Z170-OCE Overview]
- Page 3 [Supermicro C7Z170-OCE Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [Supermicro C7Z170-OCE 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]
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