No news is great news in synthetic benchmarks, which primarily show if a board is either misconfigured or secretly overclocked. The latter was formerly a problem when companies were trying to win benchmark shootouts by cheating, but has become much less common since Intel integrated most of its control components.
The only noticeable exception is memory, where companies can attempt to optimize timings for performance while not pushing the RAM so hard that the system crashes. The ASRock Z170 Extreme6 fell slightly behind with its beta firmware, while retail firmware motherboards such as today’s Z170-HD3 test subject finish in a dead heat.
The recently-tested Z170-Claymore stumbled in a few games, and the beta-firmware Z170 Extreme6 excelled by a similar amount in a single game setting, but the Z170-HD3 plowed through the entire gaming suite without incident.
The Z170-HD3 finished our Adobe Premiere workload a little quicker than its competitors, but any major advantages should have popped up in other applications. A difference this small in a single application hardly warrants an in-depth investigation, and we should note that each motherboard’s driver package differs slightly based on its onboard controllers (or lack thereof).
Power, Heat And Efficiency
The Z170-HD3’s power profile looks fairly ordinary compared to most competitors, though resting above ECS’ exceedingly poor power numbers helps the Z170-HD3 appear a little better in the chart. It’s actually the second-worst at full CPU load, and second-best at idle.
The previous ECS test sample consumed enough power to pull the entire group's average down. Gigabyte’s Z170-HD3 scores 3.9% above-average in the summary chart, but that only puts it in the middle.