Overclocking, Value And Conclusion
Overclocking is usually the most-difficult feat for a low-cost motherboard, but the Z170-HD3 did fairly well. We reached the highest 4-DIMM memory overclock and the second-highest 2-DIMM overclock with this board, but came up 100MHz shy of the CPU’s achievable 4.6GHz.
Overclocking ease was due to a well-developed firmware, while the slight deficit in CPU core overclocking was most likely due to its smaller voltage regulator. I’d like to put this to the test with the Core i5-6600K, since the lack of hyperthreading reduces its maximum wattage load, and the Z170-HD3 further looks like an excellent overclocking board for future, low-cost processors that will likely consume even less energy when overclocked.
The purpose of the DDR4-2933 bandwidth chart is to determine what happens when memory is overclocked. Tighter timings offer better performance with less stability, while looser timings have the opposite effect. On some motherboards, memory overclocking results in lower than stock performance!
The Z170-HD3 nicely produces better than stock memory performance when overclocked, bearing in mind disclaimers within this article’s firmware discussion. Setting XMP mode enables “Enhanced Stability Mode” timings, which reduces bandwidth to around 20GB/s, and the only way to find sought gains is to return that setting to “Normal Mode”.
This is the last time I’ll personally use this version of the “Performance Per Dollar” chart in a motherboard article, because it reflects price without consideration for the cost of features. I’m looking for a better way to chart value — and taking your suggestions. Still, the chart is relevant to anyone who’s looking only for a basic Z170 motherboard and is only concerned with price.