8 Best Z170 Motherboards for Skylake: Reviews & Buying Guide

When it comes to computers, the best CPU is worthless if the motherboard your computer is connected to does not meet the same standard.

A computer’s components are all connected to the motherboard and are therefore connected using it.

Consequently, whether you are building a PC, or planning to upgrade your existing one, you must focus on choosing a motherboard that will give your computer the best performance.

You might be interested in a product that can be used with Intel’s Skylake processor, which you can look for in this article.

At a Glance:

As a core company in Silicon Valley, Intel was founded in 1968 and has helped make it the technological hub it is today. Xilinx produces the x86 series of microcomputer chips and is the largest semiconductor chip manufacturer in the world.

Intel introduced Skylake, its architecture that replaced Broadwell, in August 2015. Similar to its predecessors; Blue Lake, Coffee Lake, Cannon Lake, Whiskey Lake, and Comet Lake, Skylake CPUs have the same microarchitecture.

Our Recommendations For Z170 Motherboards for Skylake

DesignBest Picks MotherboardsRetailer
Best Pick Gigabyte Z170x Gaming 7
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Staff PickMSI Pro X299 Raider
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Budget PickAsus ROG Maximus VIII Formula
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 EVG X299 FTW K
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ASRock X-Series X299 Taichi
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EVGA Z390 Dark
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Gigabyte AORUS X299 Gaming 3
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ASUS WS X299 Sage
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Also, it’s the last platform in which Windows before Windows 10 will be supported by Microsoft. Despite Intel’s announcement in March 2019 that the Skylake CPUs will no longer be manufactured in LGA 1151, Skylake architecture is still immensely popular. It is not easy to pick the right motherboard though.

To name just a few, you should consider storage, memory, slots and connectors, expansion, and overclocking potential. Our top 8 Skylake motherboards are here for you though, so don’t worry.

A handy buyer’s guide is also available that includes things to consider. You’ll find the right motherboard for your computer on the list, so please take a look.

Gigabyte Z170x Gaming 7

Best Pick
LGA 1151Intel Z170
DDR4 RAM (4 sockets)ATX

The Z170x Gaming 7 motherboard is first on the list. It features four DDR4 DIMM sockets, which makes it similar to most of the motherboards on our list.

It also features an Intel Z170 chipset, dual M.2 port, eight SATA 6GB/s slots, and three SATA express slots, as well as the LGA 1151 processor socket and the Intel Z170 chipset. There are two USB 3.1 ports and five USB 3.0 ports, but it has no USB 2.0 ports. If you are looking for USB slots, you’re in luck; it has two USB 3.1 ports and five USB 3.0 ports.

Its audio capabilities make it a standout model among motherboards. The sound quality is great, even if you stick with cheap headphones. Even if you stick to your current portable speakers, you’ll notice how good the audio sounds on this.

Even though GPUs are heavy, this motherboard is capable of handling the stress well so you shouldn’t see sagging that is often seen in other PCI ports.

Pros

  • Creative SoundCore 3D Gaming Audio
  • Triple CrossFire and Quad SLI support
  • Futureproofed- it’s also compatible with Kaby Lake

Cons

  • UEFI fan control is not as extensive as some Z170 motherboards

MSI Pro X299 Raider

Staff Pick
  • LGA 2066
  • DDR4 SDRAM
  • Intel X299
  • ATX
  • 64GB Memory
  • VR Ready
  • MSI Audio Boost 4 with Amplifier

Our list of PC motherboards does not contain many models from MSI, but the MSI Pro X299 Raider is a great choice for those looking to get the most from their Skylake processor.

An RGB header makes it easy to customize how you want, as well as a USB 3.1 header and a U.2 slot on the front panel.

In addition, this motherboard is effective for overclocking as it can reach 4.6 GHz at 1.2 V, although ventilation may need improving as the single block of aluminum is for VRM cooling and doesn’t have a heat pipe.

In addition to its 24/7 reliability, this motherboard is recommended for users looking to optimize their desktop and laptop computers.

Pros

  • 24/7 reliability
  • Twin-turbo M.2
  • Great audio

Cons

  • No onboard diagnostic tools

Asus ROG Maximus VIII Formula

Budget Pick
  • LGA 1151
  • DDR4 RAM (4 sockets)
  • Intel Z170
  • ATX
  • 64GB Maximum RAM
  • Four memory slots
  • Multi-zone Aura RGB LED lighting

A motherboard that’s designed for overclocking would be a good choice if you regularly overclock.

It features an integrated overclocking function and a full VRM water block, so you can safely overclock it. Because this motherboard comes equipped with a CrossChill water block directly connected to the VRMs, it is even better suited for overclocking.

There are six SATA ports and two SATA Express ports, as well as one M.2 port on the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Formula.

Additional features include the ROG Aura RGB Strip Header, three-zone RGB illumination which can be customized using 1.6 million colors, and a 1.6-megapixel webcam. It is a motherboard that can be customized if you are an aesthete.

Pros

  • Overclocking is well integrated
  • Customized lighting options
  • CrossChill waterblock

Cons

  • The tendency for quite a few codes to show up when first booting up

 EVG X299 FTW K

  • LGA 2066
  • DDR4 RAM
  • Intel X299
  • E-ATX
  • 32GB maximum RAM
  • Two memory slots
  • Six SATA 6GB/s
  • Four PCI Express slots
  • Three M.2 sockets
  • Two U.2 ports
  • Fourteen USB ports

We finish with another EVG motherboard, and this time it is minimalistic as opposed to some of its competitors, but it also happens to be more affordable than some of the other options. This motherboard still appeals to gamers, even though it has a minimalist design and no flashy RGB.

Although the BIOS is simpler than many others, it still means you can adjust the fan headers to suit your needs.

In addition to four PCI Express slots, six SATA 6GB/s ports, three M.2 sockets, and two U.2 ports, this motherboard have periods processors cards entry of customization options that a lot of the more expensive solutions don’t include. These motherboards are a good choice for gamers who want to make a budget-friendly purchase.

Pros

  • Cheaper option
  • Two U.2 ports
  • Fourteen USB ports

Cons

  • Basic BIOS
  • Fewer RGB

ASRock X-Series X299 Taichi

+
  • LGA 1151
  • DDR4 RAM (4 sockets)
  • Intel Z170
  • ATX
  • 64GB Maximum RAM
  • Four memory slots
  • Multi-zone Aura RGB LED lighting

The Taiwanese motherboard company ASRock is now the number three motherboard brand in the world, so their X-Series X299 Taichi motherboard is backed by some serious expertise.

Also like its predecessor, the ROG Maximus VIII Formula, this motherboard supports RGB LEDs and headers, so you can create your colorful lighting system. The aesthetics of this motherboard aren’t the only thing that makes it a top choice.

Aside from three M.2 sockets, this motherboard also includes ten SATA3 6GB/s slots, so you can make any modifications you wish. The motherboard measures 129.60.1 inches, which is smaller than most, but it is still sturdy.

Pros

  • Simple to build color customizations periods processors
  • Top-quality VRMs
  • Three M.2 sockets
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Slower onboard wireless ACperiods

EVGA Z390 Dark

  • LGA 2066
  • DDR4 RAM
  • Intel X299
  • E-ATX
  • 32GB maximum RAM
  • Two memory slots
  • Six SATA 6GB/s
  • Four PCI Express slots
  • Three M.2 sockets
  • Two U.2 ports
  • Fourteen USB ports

In terms of design, this motherboard is a bit different from the other motherboards offered by EVGA, which is an American brand based in southern California. Black is the only color available in contrast to the many multicolored options we’ve seen so far.

With many features, including its cooling system, it is highly effective for overclocking. If you plan on running at higher core clock rates, the VRM is cooled via a large, passive heatsink.

On the side of the board are the 24-pin power connector and the 8-pin CPU power connector. Furthermore, it has six SATA ports and two M.2 ports.

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Effective cooling system
  • Well-designed for overclocking

Cons

  • Reports that some may arrive with a dead CMOS battery

Gigabyte AORUS X299 Gaming 3

  • LGA 2066
  • DDR4 RAM
  • Intel X299
  • ATX
  • Eight memory slots
  • Three M.2 sockets

With the Gigabyte Aorus X299 Gaming 3, you can’t go wrong for enthusiasts. It has a built-in turbo B-clocking IC, which overclockers can use to adjust BCLK frequency as needed.

As you can adjust from 90MHz to 500MHz, you won’t have any restrictions on what you can do when overclocking. Moreover, Smart Fan 5 has nine temperature sensors and eight hybrid fan headers that have interchangeable headers so that you can adapt the temperature sensors to different places according to the requirements.

There are many customization options for this device, so if you’re into customizing then it’s the perfect choice for you. The motherboard also has two M.2 sockets, 3-way graphics support, and eight memory slots, making it the ideal platform for maximizing the many features of Skylake processors. Newer technologies work best with this advanced setup

Pros

  • Turbo B-clock tuning IC
  • Advanced LED digital lighting system
  • Excellent cooling system

Cons

  • Very expensive

ASUS WS X299 Sage

  • LGA 2066
  • DDR4 RAM
  • Intel X299
  • SSI CEB form factor
  • 1GB maximum Ram
  • Eight memory slots
  • Two M.2 sockets
  • Eight SATA slots
  • Seven PCI Express Slots
  • 4200 MHz memory speed

A large motherboard, it’s 14.312.9910.7 at the longest end, and it’s not from the ATX or EATX families. It’s called an SSI motherboard. You should therefore verify that it fits your PC.

This motherboard is perfect for workstations or games, and its one-click overclocking process helps to ensure a comfortable gaming experience. It can also pump 460 W of power. When you have four GPUs in your system, you will need water cooling.

Seven PCI Express slots and eight SATA ports are on board. This motherboard makes the most of the PCI Express lanes in Skylake by providing two M.2 sockets and two U.2 ports.

It’s important to make sure that you’ll be able to take advantage of every slot on this motherboard before you purchase it.

Pros

  • Seven PCI Express slots
  • It can work both as a workstation and for gaming
  • 460 W of power
  • Huge amount of features

Cons

  • Larger than most
  • Expensive

What to Consider When Buying Motherboards

Expansion slots

Choosing the right motherboard is key when building a PC, and the amount of expansion slots is crucial. If your motherboard limits your processor, it will not matter how powerful your processor is.

Form factor

Its size is determined by its form factor. Despite this, the number of expansion slots is often dictated by the processor. ATX is the most common form factor, offering seven expansion slots.

There were also a few with the E-ATX form factor, intended for servers and featuring seven expansion slots. A larger SSI CCB form factor was then used.

Memory

As a result, if you can, opt for an option that has more memory slots as they can help with the performance of the computer and also tend to increase its lifespan. As before, the large sizes tend to be more expensive.

Cooling

If you tend to overclock or operate an expensive computer for longer periods of time, you should consider how much cooling can be extended by the cooling system. Be sure the layout will not cause excessive heat and that it has enough fan headers.

Conclusion

You should now be able to select a motherboard that fits your needs having gone through these factors. Various sizes and features are available, so there are many options out there.

If you are deciding on a PC, you need to consider its primary purpose and the extensions you are planning on adding. Now that you understand our recommended Skylake motherboards, it’s time to choose your favorite.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will skylake motherboards support coffee Lake?

The 300 series chipsets, while using physically identical LGA 1151 socket to the 100 and 200 series chipsets, are officially only compatible with Coffee Lake CPUs, meaning that older motherboards do not officially support Coffee Lake processors, and 300 series motherboards do not officially support Skylake or Kaby Lake

What is the difference between Z170 and Z270?

One of the major differences between the Z170 and Z270 platforms is the maximum number of PCI Express lanes the motherboard can support. On the Z170 platform, the maximum number of PCI Express Lanes is 20, while on the Z270 it is 24 lanes.

Does Z170 support 8th gen?

The story here is that while Intel’s 8th-gen processors are compatible with the pins on an older LGA 1151 socket motherboard – i.e. Intel’s Z270 or Z170 motherboards – they won’t officially work thanks to slight differences on the power front 


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Prashant Sharma
By Prashant Sharma

Hi, I'm Prashant Sharma. I love traveling, computer hardware, and software. I’m constantly trying to learn new skills and programming languages. Reviewing new pieces of hardware is one of my favorites hobbies. Drop by any time to leave me a message if you have any questions.

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