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ASRock's Combo Motherboards Support DDR4 And DDR3, Making Skylake Upgrade Easier

Want to try Skylake but don't want a pricey Z170 motherboard? Until now you were out of luck, but ASRock is about to bring you 29 -- yes, twenty-nine -- more choices based on the new Intel H170, H110, Q170, Q150, and B150 chipsets. The most unique of these are ASRock's Combo motherboards.

B150M Combo-G

Of the 29 motherboards that ASRock announced, four motherboards are given the designation of being a "Combo" motherboard: H170 Combo, B150 Combo, B150M Combo-G, and H110M Combo-G. Although these motherboards share many similar specs with others announced by ASRock, their key feature is that they can accept either DDR4 or DDR3 memory. The full ATX motherboards will be equipped with four DDR3 and two DDR4 slots, while smaller micro-ATX boards will have only two of each.

H170 Performance

This ability makes upgrading to the Skylake platform easier, as anyone who owns a DDR3 system can make use of their older RAM. Even if you don't have DDR3 RAM you can use on hand, DDR3 is significantly cheaper than DDR4, and you can save money on build. Later, after the price goes down, you can then purchase faster DDR4 RAM to increase performance.

It should be noted that you cannot use DDR3 and DDR4 RAM together. Even RAM from the same manufacturer with identical specs can run into compatibility issues with each other; RAM is sold in kits to avoid this issue. If RAM that is nearly identical can't work together, DDR3 and DDR4 have no hope of running in tandem.

For specs on all 29 motherboards, we prepared this table listing their primary features. There isn't a lot to be said about them as a group. The only universally shared features are support for Skylake CPUs and specs present across all 100 series chipsets, like USB 3.0 and SATA 3 support. The list is almost split evenly between DDR4 and DDR3 motherboards, too. Any motherboard that ends with "/D3" uses DDR3, while any motherboard using DDR4 does not. The only exception to this is the Combo motherboards mentioned above.

ASRock 100 Series Motherboards

MotherboardForm FactorMemory SupportM.2 SupportSATA SupportPower PhasesLANUSB Type-C
H170 Pro4ATX4 x DDR4-21331 x Ultra6 x SATA 310 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
H170 Pro4SATX4 x DDR4-21331 x Ultra6 x SATA 310 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
H170 Pro4/D3ATX4 x DDR3-1866None6 x SATA 3N/ARealtek LANNone
B150 Pro4/D3ATX4 x DDR3-1866None6 x SATA 3N/ARealtek LANNone
H170 ComboATX2 x DDR4-2133 4 x DDR3-18661 x Ultra6 x SATA 310 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
B150 ComboATX2 x DDR4-2133 4 x DDR3-1866None6 x SATA 310 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
H170M Pro4mATX4 x DDR4-21331 x Ultra6 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
H170M Pro4SmATX4 x DDR4-21331 x Ultra6 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
Q170M vPromATX4 x DDR4-21331 x Ultra6 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
B150M Pro4mATX4 x DDR4-2133None6 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
B150M Pro4/D3mATX4 x DDR3-1866None6 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
B150M Pro4SmATX4 x DDR4-2133None6 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
B150M Pro4S/D3mATX4 x DDR3-1866None6 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
B150M Combo-GmATX2 x DDR4-2133 4 x DDR3-1866None6 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
H110M Combo-GmATX2 x DDR4-2133 4 x DDR3-1866None4 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
B150M-HDVmATX4 x DDR4-2133None6 x SATA 3N/AN/ANone
B150M-HDV/D3mATX4 x DDR3-1866None6 x SATA 3N/AN/ANone
H110M-HDVmATX4 x DDR4-2133None4 x SATA 3N/AN/ANone
H110M-HDV/D3mATX4 x DDR3-1866None4 x SATA 3N/AN/ANone
H110M-DVS/D3mATX4 x DDR3-1866None4 x SATA 3N/AN/ANone
H110M-GL/D3mATX4 x DDR3-1866None4 x SATA 3N/AN/ANone
H170M-ITX/acMini-ITX4 x DDR4-2133None4 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerDual LAN (Intel + Realtek)None
H170M-ITX/DLMini-ITX4 x DDR4-2133None4 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerDual LAN (Intel + Realtek)None
B150M-ITX/D3Mini-ITX4 x DDR3-1866None5 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
H110M-ITX/D3Mini-ITX4 x DDR3-1866None4 x SATA 36 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LANNone
H170 PerformanceATX4 x DDR4-21331 x Ultra6 x SATA 310 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LAN1 x Rear USB 3.0 Type-C
H170 Performance/D3ATX4 x DDR3-18661 x Ultra6 x SATA 310 Phase, Digi PowerIntel LAN1 x Rear USB 3.0 Type-C
B150 Gaming K4ATX4 x DDR4-2133None6 x SATA 310 Phase, Digi PowerKiller LANNone
B150 Gaming K4/D3ATX4 x DDR3-1866None6 x SATA 310 Phase, Digi PowerKiller LANNone

Availability and pricing information is not currently available.

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  • Darkbreeze
    MJ, are you sure these boards support standard DDR3? My understanding was that the only combo boards that were going to be released would support only DDR3L, the low powered modules, on Skylake platforms that supported it at all. Because if that's the case, most current DDR3 users won't be able to use their RAM on these boards.
    Reply
  • rgd1101
    I think so, most of the 170 board that only use DDR3, support both DDR3/DDR3L
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    MJ, are you sure these boards support standard DDR3? My understanding was that the only combo boards that were going to be released would support only DDR3L, the low powered modules, on Skylake platforms that supported it at all. Because if that's the case, most current DDR3 users won't be able to use their RAM on these boards.

    Hey Breezey. The news team actually had a bit of a discussion about this yesterday. ASRock simply states DDR3, and doesn't specify low-power DDR3. Intel probably specifies DDR3L, but like with previous memory controllers, it will likely work with higher power RAM. For example, Sandy Bridge - Broadwell specifies DDR3 1.5v, yet DDR3 running at 1.65v is commonly used on these systems.

    So, 1.35v is likely the standard Intel sets for Skylake, but 1.5v RAM will probably work fine too. I wouldn't want to risk 1.65v RAM in it, however. It is still a little unclear at the moment.
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    I'd like to get Tradesman to weigh in on this before I make any recommendations to members that regular DDR3 will work in one of those boards, or see it used in a review. Might look kind of bad to start telling people it will work and then find out it doesn't. Not that I don't believe you, but we've seen these kinds of issues before. Like dual graphics that works, but doesn't.
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    MSI also specified DDR3 or DDR3L with their motherboards that should be listed on our site now. Going just by the specs we have, it should work. Additional testing never hurts though.
    Reply
  • junkeymonkey
    seems like if I were investing in skylake I would not look at ddr3 anyway better off stivcking with hasewll skylake supports native 1866/2133 ddr4 and just 1333/1600 ddr3 then it seems haswell does better then skylake on gaming ???

    ''In our discrete gaming benchmarks, at 3GHz Skylake actually performs worse than Haswell at an equivalent clockspeed, giving up an average of 1.3% performance. We don’t have much from Intel as to analyze the architecture to see why this happens, and it is pretty arguable that it is noticeable, but it is there''

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/9483/intel-skylake-review-6700k-6600k-ddr4-ddr3-ipc-6th-generation/23

    so why ??
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    On word, latency. Much lower latency on DDR3 units. DDR4 and DDR3L use less power, but DDR4 has a much higher latency than DDR3. And for now at least it's a lot cheaper and a lot of people already have DDR3 so it's one less thing to have to buy.
    Reply
  • Tradesman1
    From what I've seen, while the 'Standard' per in Intel is the 1.35, 1.5 and even 1.65 seem to be fine, Asus has a number of 1.65 sets on the QVL for their DDR3 based Z170-P D3 and the Rock has them listed (at least for the K4/D3 model. Saw something on an MSI mobo listeing 1.65 sticks also.
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    Well, that's excellent. Thanks for the clarification, and to you MJ for the write-up.
    Reply