Biostar's Hi-Fi H170Z3 mobo allows piecemeal Skylake upgrades

— 8:52 AM on September 14, 2015

Are you looking to upgrade to a Skylake CPU while holding on to your DDR3 memory? Biostar's Hi-Fi H170Z3 has slots for a pair of DDR3L DIMMs for today's memory, along with two more DDR4 slots for tomorrow's upgrades.

While the Hi-Fi H170Z3 supports both DDR3L and DDR4 memory, the board's manual warns against running both types at once. Caution aside, this H170-based motherboard supports either 16GB of DDR3L-1866 or 32GB of DDR4-2133 at a time. Keeping in the character of supporting both present and future tech,  the Hi-Fi H170Z3 has support for both SATA and PCI-Express storage. Biostar's micro-ATX board has four SATA ports, two of which are used in a SATA Express connector, and a single M.2 slot that can accept both AHCI and NVMe drives running at speeds up to 32Gbps. 

The Hi-Fi H170Z3 is caught between eras in other ways, too. A pair of legacy PCI slots stand alongside PCI-Express x16 and x1 slots.The back panel has VGA, DVI-D, HDMI, and DisplayPort connectors, allowing Intel's integrated graphics to connect to anything from an old CRT monitor to a 4K 60Hz display. 

Biostar touts its high-quality onboard audio solution, as well, from which the Hi-Fi H170Z3 takes its name. Thanks to a combination of EMI shielding, isolated audio traces, and metal-oxide resistors, the company claims this motherboard's analog audio output has a 100-dB signal-to-noise ratio. The special audio treatment seems to stand at odds against the pedestrian Realtek ALC892 audio codec, though.

Biostar expects the Hi-Fi H170Z3 to cost $105 when it hits store shelves.

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