Intel Z170 LGA-1151 Motherboard Roundup

Why you can trust Tom's Hardware Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Benchmarks, Power, Heat And Efficiency

We’re not able to use our reference test system’s LGA 2011-v3 processor or its motherboard to test LGA 1151 platforms, nor could we expect much memory overclocking from its DDR4-2400 quad-channel kit. But the rest of the system remains valid for this platform’s benchmarking and overclocking needs.

Test System Configuration

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CPUIntel Core i7-6700K (Skylake): 4.0-4.2 GHz, 8MB Shared L3 Cache, LGA 1151
RAMG.Skill F4-3600C17Q-16GVK 4x 4GB (16GB) DDR4-3600 Kit
GraphicsGigabyte GV-N970G1 GAMING-4GD: GeForce GTX970 1178-1329 MHz GPU, GDDR5-7012, Maximum Fan for Thermal Tests
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
GraphicsGeForce 353.30
ChipsetIntel INF 10.0.27

Synthetic Benchmarks

3DMark and PCMark show little performance difference between the three LGA 1151 motherboards in today’s test, but the Z170 Extreme6 does have a small glitch in Encoding/Decoding turnaround from Sandra Cryptography.

That small blip in the Cryptography module is caused by a small deficit in memory bandwidth. Perhaps ASRock was shooting for stability? Overclocking will help to determine that.

Gaming Benchmarks

All three boards look similar in games until we get to Far Cry 3. Several retests did not reveal the cause for performance differentiation in this one title, but the difference was small enough to negate the need for lengthier investigations. It is, after all, just one of the four games tested, and synthetics didn’t reveal a reason for the lowest-bandwidth board to have a 3D performance advantage.

Non-Gaming Applications

Less time means more performance in timed benchmarks. The Z170A Gaming M7 takes a small lead in the A/V encoding suite, but nowhere else, and by not enough to make a noticeable difference overall.

Power, Heat, And Efficiency

The C7Z170-SQ doesn’t have a bunch of added controllers, and it also has the lowest maximum and minimum power readings. The Z170 Extreme6 isn’t far behind, while the better-equipped Z170A Gaming M7’s extra components consume a little extra energy.

The result is a 2.5% efficiency lead against the average of all three motherboards for SuperMicro’s C7Z170-SQ. The Z170 Extreme6 takes second place, while the Z170A Gaming M7 is the part that pulls the entire class average for efficiency in the wrong direction.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • salgado18
    You i7 is two cores? XD
    (Last paragraph of first page)
  • Crashman
    16403363 said:
    You i7 is two cores? XD
    (Last paragraph of first page)
    Read it again :-) Notice anything about capitalization?
  • danlw
    Glad to see the Extreme 6 I bought from Newegg the other day fared well. Now, about i7 6700K US availability... amazon.DE and both showed the 6700k for sale yesterday... why is the 6700K (and 6600k) MIA in the US?
  • ern88
    No ASUS boards!!!
  • jezzjc
    no ddr3 vs ddr4?
  • Eggz
    Good preliminary data!
  • TechyInAZ
    Those motherboards are cool, looks great!

    No ASUS boards!!!

    No GIGABYTE either!?? :D
  • AdviserKulikov
    Tom's staff,
    Please get rid of the arrows covering the charts.
    -The Readers
  • Calculatron
    ASRock scores another victory!

    It's a shame that Asus and Gigabyte didn't send in a competing board.

    (Dare I say anything about Biostar again?)
  • littleleo
    What no Windows 10? What about testing Skylake and DirectX 12?