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Old September 15, 2015, 06:32 PM
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Default MSI Z170A Gaming M5 Motherboard Review Comment Thread

Is it possible to make a competent gaming grade, feature rich Skylake motherboard for under $200? MSI's new Z170A Gaming M5 dares to ask that question.

Read more here: MSI Z170A Gaming M5 Motherboard Review
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Old September 16, 2015, 12:11 PM
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It's strange that the RoG Hero keeps being mentioned as the value gaming motherboard and the equivalent to this when the Hero is not the entry level RoG. That's the Ranger. Ranger has less sata, less memory OC support, no RGB lighting. Although for some reason it costs more than the Hero, I think that has to do with supply as the ranger is hard to find.
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Old September 16, 2015, 12:43 PM
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Thank you for the review Sky. I'm curious to see how this board compare to the Gigabyte Gaming 5 which is pretty similar. The Asus pro gaming also falls in that segment I think but they seem hard to find, just like the RoG Ranger mentioned above, although i don't think the RoG line falls in that segment.

I personally went with the the maximus viii hero but I will be building another skylake rig in the next fews days for a friend and I've been looking at that particular segment since the value proposition looks pretty good.
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Old September 18, 2015, 12:18 PM
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Something has been nagging me about these ATX boards with dual 4x PCI-E 3.0 M.2 connectors.

As DMI 3.0 only has 40Gb/s bandwidth between the pch and cpu, and two powerful U.2/M.2 drives can theoretically take up 32GB/s bandwidth each (4x PCI-E 3.0), how is bandwidth priority determined? Will it throttle the drives to ensure ethernet/usb/etc connectivity is not adversely affected?

I suppose the only realistic usage scenario where this could happen is when Raid 0 thrown into the mix. Not something I personally care to do, but still curious what the outcome would be.
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Old September 18, 2015, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vittra View Post
Something has been nagging me about these ATX boards with dual 4x PCI-E 3.0 M.2 connectors.

As DMI 3.0 only has 40Gb/s bandwidth between the pch and cpu, and two powerful U.2/M.2 drives can theoretically take up 32GB/s bandwidth each (4x PCI-E 3.0), how is bandwidth priority determined? Will it throttle the drives to ensure ethernet/usb/etc connectivity is not adversely affected?

I suppose the only realistic usage scenario where this could happen is when Raid 0 thrown into the mix. Not something I personally care to do, but still curious what the outcome would be.
I think you are approaching this in an overly straightforward manner. While the DMI interconnect manages communications between the CPU and PCH, the CPU doesn't need to process every I/O request of the attached devices. A LOT of the processing is done locally on the SSD, GPU or other devices. Hence why every add-in card that requires significant bandwidth has onboard cache.
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Old September 19, 2015, 10:41 AM
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Thanks for the clarification!
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Old September 19, 2015, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bojamijams View Post
It's strange that the RoG Hero keeps being mentioned as the value gaming motherboard and the equivalent to this when the Hero is not the entry level RoG. That's the Ranger. Ranger has less sata, less memory OC support, no RGB lighting. Although for some reason it costs more than the Hero, I think that has to do with supply as the ranger is hard to find.
You just answered your own question mate.

Rightly or wrongly, at this point in time the Hero is the comparable model. ;)

At some point the market will correct this issue, but I can not go on future 'ifs'; rather I have to use the facts - as they are at the time of the review - to judge a board.
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Old September 20, 2015, 07:28 AM
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Another question for the M.2 ports : is it possible to have them in RAID? Bootable, not dynamic in Windows?
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Old September 20, 2015, 09:22 PM
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Not to the best of my knowledge. With M.2 it is best to consider them as different form-factor'ed PCIE SSDs not the typical 2.5" SSD in a different form factor. Basically each drive is separate and talks directly to the CPU. IE there is not any PCH 'controller' acting as a middleman like with SATA drives. Now it is theoretically possible with ACHI 'SATA' M.2 drives....but that would be stretching things and I honestly have never tried to see if it would be supported in a BIOS. It would be such a niche of a niche that I doubt it.
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Old September 21, 2015, 07:57 AM
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This article seems to suggest that while possible, it may not necessarily be very intuitive or fantastic in implementation right now:

Intel Skylake / Z170 Rapid Storage Technology Tested - PCIe and SATA RAID *updated* | PC Perspective
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