I saw this review pop up, and since BioStar doesn't honestly get much attention or even strive to create products that stand out, this caught me completely by surprise. Have a read:
So for those who want a little TL;DR, here's the scoop:
- $165 (As low as $140)
- IDT Clock Balancer for BCLK overclocking
- Quad PCI-E X16 with Crossfire and SLI support (SLI x2 or Crossfire X4)
- USB Type-C, 3x SATA Express, M.2 32GB/s
- RGB onboard + 5050 Lighting Strip included
- XMP DDR4-3200 support, with extended OC options up to 4133MHz
This is a massive array of options for what is decidedly an average to budget priced Z170 motherboard. On top of all that, it's got a debug LED, Ln2 switch and onboard power/reset for OC fun. This is one of the nicest boards I've seen Biostar make in at least 5 years, and it looks like they are really trying to make an impact.
If performance is all you care about than you might dismiss this board very quickly. It certainly doesn't seem to push any boundaries when it comes to CPU or GPU performance, but the memory response and bandwidth appears to be the best of any Z170 board on the market. Latency is insanely quick, and even with that 3200MHz official limit it looks like you could definitely crank down the timings to gain even better marks.
To me this looks like a winner of a board at the price point. Honestly the first Z170 board that has made me perk up and take a serious gander at Skylake.
Wow! I didn't even think Biostar was a company that cared about anything at this point. That's quite an interesting product from them. I was especially surprised to see the inclusion of USB Type-C.
That one is unexpected - last brand i was thinking of when it comes to somewhat decent and feature rich boards would have been biostar o.O
The last biostar motherboard was a cheap, awfull OEM contraption that was in a freinds PC she wanted upgraded back in Athlon XP days.
I am realy curious if they keep coming with such boards, or if it stays an experiment
Biostar had some killer 790FX and 880G (hell even a seriously competitive 890FX) motherboards for AM3 back in 2009, but they always sacrificed something for another. This is a nice departure into the full-feature build that Biostar has kinda avoided for the longest time.
I'm about as blown away as you are... Biostar? Really? rubs eyes thoroughly and takes a second look
Not realy worth its price point with a vrm cirquitry like that.
The vrm design consists of an ISL95855 which is an impv8 complaint hybrid model that supports 3+2+1 phase output.
The first 3 phases are doubled by ISL6611A doubler/dual driver, which results in 6 pwm phases for cpu vcore (VCC)
Each phase has a high-side powerpak SM4377 and a low-side powerpak SM4364 from Sinopower.
The igpu phases each have their own pwm line.
VCCGT phases have their own ISL6208 driver.
VCCSA and VCCIO come from the combination of a single phase uPI UP1514 controlled phase and a linear regulator.
Memory vrm: has a uP1514 single phase pwm (just like VCCSA) and 2x Sinopower SM4377 powerpaks.
Tl/DR 3 true phases doubled to 6 pwm phases for cpu vcore (VCC) ... meh.
This is realy a board that is aimed at the lowerend spectrum of the market.
As far as quality and goes.
i think wendell asked about this board
Its not aimed at the Enthusiast market if you ask me.
but but, the racing stripes!
also damn girl! you're like the resident power delivery expert
Yeah the pcb looks realy cool i have to admit.
But its not a motherboard that i would go for at a $165,- price point.
At that price point it should have had a better vrm design if you ask me.
i would qualify it at a $120,- price range board realy.
Thats a bit in the area of the Msi PC mates, gaming3´s and such kind of boards.
It will of course overclock but yeah, its not a board which i get excited about. ☺
I think it cost much for what it is. Some of Biostar mb's in the past have been okay ? As long as you dont overclock much.
Nothing special and everyonce in while they make a budget mb that is solid enough to last awhile. Massive problems with hit and miss.
You are right that the VRM is lackluster, but that's because this isn't a board that you are meant to reach for 5GHz on. The reason it's so stocked with features is because it has very little overclocking headroom in general, but since everybody wants a chance to push their hardware Biostar includes some OC features regardless.
You could still maintain a reasonable CPU overclock on the board.
You are right, it's a $165 board at MSRP which puts it squarely in the mid-range Z170 boards. What is astonishing is that while it's a mid-range to budget priced board it manages to pack in more features than some of the $200+ boards from more reputable brands.
I think Biostar get's ignored cause there's a stigma that there boards are of quality. so when they realize a product that is actually good, people would be indenial about it.
asks "Who's Biostar?"
lol unless you've been in the pc building game for awhile or do your research as i do this will be the question that most people will be asking. I'm really surprised to see Biostar come out with this type of a board because typically when recommending builds they are often the really low end boards that pop up on pcpartpicker that nobody ever considers. This is a board that could make someone actually consider going Biostar with their motherboard (as long as it is of as decent quality as the feature set makes one believe).
In terms of feutures it has a couple of cool things to offer indeed.
But at $165,- msrp, it heads towards the price league of the Msi Gaming Z170A M5 and Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 6, Asus Maximus VIII ranger etc.
And if you want to shop cheaper, at $150,- there is also the Asrock Z170 Gaming K6+.
So yeah in my opinnion, allthough the Biostar does offer some nice feutures,
its hard to pick it over the other options like the Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 6.
Or even the Asrock Z170 gaming k6+.
Yeah at $130,- its a good bang for buck board.
With its rgb light effects, debug led, ALC898 codec + 2 sense amps, intel 219V nic and m.2.
The vrm cirquitry design at that price point does make sense.
But at $165 msrp, it would have been a hard pick with the Gigabyte Gaming 6.
Which has a littebit more to offer.