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Gigabyte H170-Gaming 3 preview – an affordable motherboard, suitable for overclocking and CrossFire configurations

With this article we begin a series of previews of one of the most important components of desktop configurations – the motherboard. And this name is not unintentional. It is the main reason for your machine to work properly. Of course, other components are also significant – all of them prove useful only when working together.

The first motherboard we shall review is Gigabyte H170-Gaming 3. You may be wondering why it is this model that we begin with. Well, this device offers a rich number of options (will be discussed further down) and its price is mroe than good (considering the specs it features). Gigabyte proved one of the best motherboard manufacturers and during the first quarter of 2015 reached sales amounting to 4.8 million, whereas the other Taiwanese competitor – ASUS – 4.5 million.

If you are interested in the purchase of this motherboard, you can check price and availability here.

Socket, chipset and supported CPUs

If you monitor the development of Intel’s generations of CPUs and that of motherboards (supporting these chips), then you know what models you can install on your new motherboard. However, for those of you who do a research only before buying a new CPU or motherboard (sometimes there is no need of replacing your motherboard) we can say that H170-Gaming 3 supports socket 1151. In other words – you can use latest 6th generation Intel CPUs.


tech spec

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The chipset can also indicate the support of Skylake chips. As the name suggests, the present Gigabyte model’s chipset is H170. Other more popular chipsets supporting the abovementioned chips are  H110, B150 and Z170. H170-Gaming 3 supports Intel Celeron, Pentium, i3, i5 and i7 CPUs, and the good news here is that you can add a chip with an unlocked multiplier and overclock it. Do not misunderstand us – you can install a CPU, whose name ends in “K”, on any motherboard. The problem is that low-end motherboards do not allow you to use your CPU to the max and thus the purchase of a higher-end CPU becomes meaningless. In comparison, higher-end motherboards have the option of increasing performance.

Installation of GPU and sizes

20151221182933_bigAs we mentioned earlier, our choice of this motherboard is motivated by its various features and price. Now that we know that we can use a latest generation CPU and overclock it, it is time to have a look at the GPU slots. Before this, we would like to share that we managed to overclock Intel Core i7-6700K to a frequency higher than 7 GHz. Of course, this depends on good cooling and one’s experience.

Below the socket there are two x16 PCIe slots. This means that you can install a GPU on each of them without loss of performance. Despite this, if you want to achieve SLI, you will be disappointed. When the two slots are engaged, the second one turns on x4 mode. However, NVIDIA has stated that their GPUs need an x8 slot in order to use their maximum capacity.

As far as “red” fans are concerned – AMD GPUs operate without any issues, meaning that the CrossFire mode is available. The new slots are reinforced with steel and thus have longer life, and also allow you to install bigger GPUs such as GTX 980 Ti. Also, the motherboard size is standard – ATX – and it can fit in Middle tower boxes.

Specs sheet

Socket1151
CPU SupportIntel Celeron, Pentium, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7
RAM4 x DDR4 (2133MHz) DIMM sockets, up to 64GB of RAM
ChipsetH170
SoundRealtek ALC1150 (7.1 channel surround)
ConnectivityKiller E2201 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mbps
Features
  • 2x USB 2.0/1.1
  • 1x PS/2 mouse/ keyboard
  • 5x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
  • 4x USB 3.0/2.0
  • 1x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 1x RJ-45
  • 1x DVI-D
  • HDMI
DimensionsATX, 30.5cm x 22.5cm