Today's Z170 tease of choice is a flagship overclocking motherboard from GIGABYTE, originally posted on iTFree4U.com and republished by TechPowerUp. The post has since been taken down by iTFree4U.
The motherboard in question is GIGABYTE's Z170-SOC (or Super OverClock), the latest in a now quite extended line which has its roots in the 2011 vintage X58A-OC. Designed for extreme overclocking, they all feature GIGABYTE's unique black and orange livery and a huge number of features specifically to make life easier for enthusiast and professional overclockers alike. The Z170-SOC features 24 power phases, the most elaborate design we've seen thus far on a Z170 motherboard, which reinforces the board's overclocking credentials.
Most noticeable on this new ATX board is a far more widepread use of metal covers than previous editions. It doesn't go nearly as far as the ASUS Sabretooth designs, but does mimic other premium boards which have been teased thus far. In the past GIGABYTE's OC and SOC designs typically left much of the PCB revealed, which makes it far easier for high-end overclockers to make anti-condensation and other preparations to the board. In all likelihood all the metal accoutrements are easily removable, but users of water cooling will be drawn to the VRM heatsinks with integrated WC ports.
Alongside the top-right edge is the OC-Touch panel, a new innovation that makes the on-board overclocking tools more prominant and accessible for tech-bench installations. Also close is the debugging LED (always handy), voltage measuring points, PCI-Express lane troubleshooting switches and more. The motherboard comes equipped with two USB 3.0 front panel headers.
Moving down to the storage section reveals a couple of interesting points. Three SATA-Express ports (each doubling as two SATA-III ports) is more than most motherboards in its class, and this is mirrored by three M.2 slots (although there's not indication that these slots are X2 or X4) which would need an immense number of PCI-Express lanes available to fully populate. One 6-pin PCIe power connector will supply plenty of extra power to the board for multi-GPU configurations (this motherboard can cater to up to four cards thanks to 4 x16 slots), whilst two USB connectors may seem a little out of place.
Finally, the rear I/O is pretty much as you would expect from a high-end motherboard. Legacy USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 are supported (2 and 4 ports respectively), triple-display outputs (HDMI, DVI-D and mDisplayPort), USB 3.1/Type-C, ethernet, multi-channel audio and two additional USB ports likely supporting UEFI BIOS flashing and high-speed charging.
Overall the Z170-SOC is dressed to impress and likely to have overclockers salivating. It's due for release on or after that of Intel's Skylake platform later this year.
SOURCE: TechPowerUp & iTFree4U