Aug 01, 2016 Written by: MajorLee

What's the difference between Z170, H170, B150 and H110 chipset motherboards?

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If you’re in the mood for a new Intel Skylake CPU, you’ll need a motherboard to pair it with. The second choice you need to make is the chipset to start with (the first choice being an ASUS motherboard). But which one: Z170, H170, B150 or H110?

You might guess from the names that the bigger numbers mean more features, so the 170s offer more than the 150 and 110. The Z part is the only overclockable one, which means if you’re buying an i5-6600K or i7-6700K then you must pair it with a Z170 chipset to make the most of it.

If you’re not interested in overclocking and are looking at price-performance, then the i5-6500, i5-6400 or even an i3-6320 may be your go-to chips. In this case you’ll likely want to consider a H170 or B150. The B150, like the Q150 and Q170, are technically for business users, but it also offers a good intermediate feature set-to-price ratio for consumers so it also makes a very attractive platform for gaming motherboards. Lower-end i3s and Pentiums are typically paired with B150s and then entry-level Pentiums and Celerons match up to the equally no-frills H110. 

 

Specifications Z170 H170 B150 H110
Processor Support LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151
CPU Overclocking Yes No No No
PCI-Express Configuration Options (from CPU) 1x16 or 2x8 or 1x8+2x4 1x16 1x16 1x16
Chipset PCI-Express Lanes (Gen)* 20(3.0) 16(3.0) 8(3.0) 6(2.0)
Max PCIe Storage (x4 M.2/U.2) 3 2 0 0
DMI Version DMI3 (8GT/s) DMI3 (8GT/s) DMI3 (8GT/s) DMI2 (5GT/s)
Independent Display Ports/Pipes 3 3 3 2
Memory Channels Dual Dual Dual Dual
DIMM per Channel 2 2 2 1
USB Total (USB 3.0) 14(10) 14(8) 12(6) 10(4)
Total SATA 6Gb/s 6 6 6 4
Maximum PCI-Express lanes available for devices 26 22 18 14
Intel Features Z170 H170 B150 H110
Intel Smart Sound Technology Yes Yes No No
Intel RST12 for SATA/PCI-E RAID Yes Yes No No
Intel Smart Response Technology Yes Yes No No
Intel Small Business Advantage No Optional Yes No
Intel Small Business Basics No Yes Yes Yes

 

Z170

ROG-Maximus-VIII-Extreme_AssemblyAs you can see the Z170 offers a lot more than overclocking support; the Z170 features with the most PCI-Express, USB 3.0, M.2/U.2 slots, then it's gotta be the Z. (that rolls off the tougne better if you use the American zee.) For anyone considering SLI or CrossFire, the flexible CPU PCI-Express configurations is an absolute must, too. You also get Intel core features such as smart sound, RST (version 12) RAID available across SATA and PCI-Express storage devices and Smart Response technologies, but it understandably lacks any business features. 

Who needs the Z170? Users who demand the "-st": Fastest, Best, Most. Overclockers, multi-GPU gamers and big, fast storage array users; anyone who wants to maximize their potential build without jumping into the X-series chipsets.

ASUS Z170 ROG and PRO Gaming motherboards to look out for:

 

H170

Next along the H170 and B150 appear quite close in spec in the top-half of the table, with the B150 offering a shade fewer USB ports, PCI-Express lanes but the B150 also lacks Intel Smart Sound, RST12 RAID and Smart Response (SSD caching) technologies. Both can use up to four DIMMs, six SATA ports and importantly the H170 can even use M.2/U.2 PCI-Express storage devices via CPU - a must for anyone looking to maximize their storage performance - although B150 boards will still support M.2 PCI-Express storage devices, but via the B150 directly, shaving a couple percentage performance in increased latency overhead.H170-PRO-GAMING

Both these keep at least the option of using the business features, although we'd recommending going for ASUS motherboards with Q170/Q150-series chipsets instead of the H170 as its a more specific business-orientated design.

Who needs the H170? Faster and upgradable: Single-GPU gamers who want fast system with big, rapid storage setups with the option of M.2/U.2 and plenty of other extra hardware and upgrade potential, but don't want to worry about overclocking.

ASUS H170 PRO Gaming motherboards to look out for:

 

B150

Who needs the B150? A fast, yet simple system: Single-GPU gamers who opt for a single, fast SATA boot device plus a few other drives and USB peripherals, but aren't concerned with RAID or overclocking.B150I-Pro-Gaming-WiFi-Aura

ASUS B150 PRO Gaming motherboards to look out for:

 

 

H110

Finally, there's the H110 supporting the entry level; here the DMI link between CPU and H110 (PCH) is limited to a slower 5GT/s vs 8GT/s, there's no PCI-Express 3.0, fewer USB devices and only two DIMM slots available on the board limiting upgrade options.h110m-a-dp

Who needs the H110? Entry level users who want a modern, very efficient and stable PC with a couple of SATA drives and USB peripherals, but aren't concerned to use advanced features or about future upgradability; set and forget. It also serves as an entry level business chipset offering Intel Business Basics, but not Business Advantage.

ASUS H110 Signature motherboards to look out for:

 

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