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Z170n-WiFi or Z170n-Gaming 5?

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Hey guys, I'm looking to put together a mini-ITX build. I was gonna go with the H170n-WiFi as it's on the recommended list, but it doesn't let you overclock, and I've picked up a 6700k that I would like to overclock as this will be an editing rig.

That leaves the Z170 Gigabyte options, two of which are mini-ITX. The Z170N-WiFi and the Z170N-Gaming 5. I've searched through the forums, and there seems to be a tad more info on the first board, but no super thorough guide like there is for the H170N-WiFi. I think I can probably figure it out though. The issue arises when you look at the Newegg reviews. Many people have mentioned that this board throttles even without an OC, bringing almost all CPUs down to 800 MHz under load. That would be unacceptable for my use. Some people theorize that this is due to the lack of heatspreaders on the MOSFETs, but I dunno.

The next model up, the Gaming 5, is only $15 more and seems to have some north bridge cooling. Looking at the negative reviews, people don't complain about throttling, but there are a few dead boards, and people aren't too happy with the non-Intel (Killer?) NIC.

Does anyone have any insight into which model will be easier to Hac? My strategy is to use my Macbook and clone my installation (which I keep ready on a 64GB flash drive, with all the apps I need installed), and from my Macbook, run Multibeast on it and do whatever else needs to be done, then just pop it in and boot it up.

I'll be ordered the Dell m.2 WiFi board that I've seen mentioned for WiFi, but until then, I will absolutely need the NIC to work.
 
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How serious are you about going with ITX?

Why bother overclocking? Just buy the fastest processor possible, within reasonable cost. Figure that overclocking is going to cost you at least another $200 for a really good AIO. If it's an i7, say a 6700K, there's little room to overclock anyway and the overclocking will generate more heat and will probably need a better PSU in the first place.

IMO the real benefit of overclocking is being able to load XPM memory profiles, and again, go with the fastest RAM that you can afford, say DDR4 3200. Your going with ITX may limit you to 1/4 what the Skylake is capable of, and if you're lucky you'll be able to find 2x16GB RAM, like G.Skill, that will work in the ITX mobo. Typically most ITX boards are limited to 16GB of memory even though most say that you can install 32GB.

After you select your CPU, PSU and RAM what will really help in editing will probably be the strongest GPU that you can afford. You will then be limited by what length GPU board you can install, which again may create more heat. And if the case is too small the fan may be sitting right against the case floor. The ITX case itself will probably limit your cooling options, so it may run hotter than if it was installed in a bigger case with more fans. Because your case will limit your cooling, your cooling will limit your overclock. The higher the overclock the more voltage you will need to apply, the more voltage you apply the higher the heat, the more power used the higher the heat, the higher the heat the louder the AIO pump and case fan are going to turn, which means more noise. And let's say that you decide to go with an AMD GPU; they typically use more power, which creates more heat, so you'll need a more powerful PSU... It's a vicious cycle.

It might be better to go with a mini-ATX board, load it up with an i7-6700K and 64GB of DDR4 3200 RAM housed in a nice max airflow mini-atx case. And because it's a small case you can't go with bigger air coolers. I know, you want H2O... With an overclocked i7-6700K you'll probably want a case that can fit a 240mm radiator.

For all its limitations (heavy and expensive) the Silverstone Fortress FT05 is a nice looking case with nice cooling. The Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL PH-ES414DS is a nice looking case, too.The Fractal Design Define Nano S case is an ITX case with H2O cooling in mind. But I'd rather have the radiator on the top with fans flowing through the radiator. ymmv. Stay away from cases where the PSU sits over the CPU; it's better if the PSU sits above or below the mobo, rather than parallel to it. And I wouldn't go with a small PSU that has a small fan. A smaller fan means more RPMs which means more noise. Heck, I'd prefer one that has a 140mm fan...

IMO the ITX is too limiting. ymmv. If you go with an ITX build I sincerely hope that it works well for you. If it were a gaming rig, no problem - 16GB RAM, i5-6600, GTX960/2GB. 4K video editing and transcoding? Problem. But, then again you are coming from a MacBook so it may work alright. idkfs. After all, I got an iMac with 4GB of RAM running Sierra at work... I don't know how it's doing with Photoshop CS6, though. https://www.pugetsystems.com/recomm...-Adobe-Photoshop-139/Hardware-Recommendations recommends 16GB minimum and 64GB max. (You didn't say what kind of editing you're going to be doing.)

http://www.silentpcreview.com/Quiet_Mini-ITX_Gamer_Build_Guide Nice case, no?
 
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Going Bald

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I have had good luck with the Asus Z mITX boards. Both the P8Z77i Deluxe and the Z87I-Deluxe have worked very well with minimum problems since 10.8.5. With Clover, it is even easier to install and run these small boards. I have the Z77 in a Lian Li PC-TU200 case and the Z87 in a Fractal Design Node 804. I chose the 804 over the 304 because I wanted an optical drive and the 304 does not have a space for one.

I like the layout of the Asus boards better and I think they have a better CPU/PCH power/cooling setup than the Gigabyte boards.
 

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leaves the Z170 Gigabyte options, two of which are mini-ITX. The Z170N-WiFi and the Z170N-Gaming 5. I've searched through the forums, and there seems to be a tad more info on the first board, but no super thorough guide like there is for the H170N-WiFi.

The H170N-WIFI guide applies equally to the Z170 version. You can still use it if you buy the Z170N itx motherboard.
 
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Thanks for your reply kiiroaka! I have a strong preference for mini ITX for size reasons, and these days, you're not limited all that much. The 2x16gb (which Ive already purchased) will work fine on pretty much any Z170 board, that won't be an issue. Already have a nice mini ITX Lian-Li case ready to go!

I want to overclock because performance scales in an almost linear fashion with certain applications like Lightroom. I'll get an H80i or something similar for cooling, and I have a quality Corsair PSU that will be good for overclocking.

Using Intel 530 for now, until there are drivers for the 1000 series cards, then will pick up maybe a 1080 or the new Titan, although as you mentioned, I will be limited by my case, so might need to switch to a new one at that point.

I like the cases you've mentioned, especially Fractal Design!

I have more than one mscbook, the editing ring was a 15" pro high spec, but just got rid of that in favour of this hackintosh. Also have a 12" macbook for portability that I'm using at ye moment.

Doing photo editing (36mp RAWs) and 4K video editing.
 
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Going Bald, thanks for your reply! I'm gonna look into the Asus optionS if I have a problem with the gigabyte boards.

Trs96, thanks! I didn't know that! Now I'm thinking I should try the z170n-wifi out and cross my fingers that my board doesn't have the throttling issue.
 
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It would seem that an i7-6700K with two sticks of memory is simply too much for the Z170N-WIFI's power regulation system and cooling (or lack thereof) to handle -- a serious limitation in a Z170 chipset board. The chief benefit of Z170 over lower-end chipsets is the ability to overclock but doing so on this model would draw too much power and potentially cause instability if it's pushed too hard.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1497-page5.html
Jan-17-2016

But, I know you knew that.

I don't know if I'd take a chance. I'd probably go with another board known to not have that problem. I'd probably go with the ASUS ROG Maximus VIII since it has a 6 phase VRM daughterboard. Don't know if your memory will work with it, though.
 

trs96

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Doing photo editing (36mp RAWs) and 4K video editing.

If you are going to be pushing this system to it's limits for long periods of time it may be better to at least move up to a mATX case and motherboard. Then you can use a 4 x 8GB ram kit and have better airflow with larger fans spinning at slower speeds to keep the noise down. I would also think that a 1080 or Titan in a mini-ITX case is cramming a little too much into a small case and then expecting it to stay cool and quiet. It can be done but their are other ways that will leave more needed breathing room in your build. Take a look at the Asus and Gigabyte Z170 mATX motherboards and see if one of those can cross all the Ts and dot all the Is for you.
 
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