Z270, H270 OR B250?


Steve Smith talks about Intel 7th gen Kaby Lake processors, and how to determine which processor and mainboard is right for your build.

Episode #8-30 released on March 17, 2018

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Processor and Mainboard selections can be an issue for some people. Deciding on which solution is best for each user is difficult if you do not know how each processor and mainboard environment can apply to you.

This week, we talk about Intel Kaby Lake, the 7th generation Intel Processor which can still be purchased online and computer stores. We'll talk about each processor type as it relates to the desktop, and mainboard types as it applies to usage scenario. This will give you a better idea of what to expect from a Kaby Lake Processor and Mainboard platform.

First step, how about we talk about the processors. There a many SKUs of processors, but Intel makes it easy for people to determine the overall specification of each processor by the naming scheme.

The i3 processor is a native dual core processor with hyperthreading and has no turbo boost. In practice this means that the i3 processor looks like a quad core processor to Windows, and other operating systems. However, due to a lack of turbo boost, lower caches, etc. it is basically good for multimedia applications, office work, and maybe only some light gaming. Important to note, that despite having a higher possible clock speed than i5, the processor itself does perform slower than an i5 because of the access of native cores, and turbo boosting.

The i5 processor is a native quad core processor, with no hyperthreading, and has turbo boost, meaning the processor can accelerate its clock speed to achieve some tasks even faster. While, this does have the same number of cores when read by Windows and other operating systems, it has for real, native cores, meaning it can process more information faster and natively with the help of turbo boost. A great middle ground processor that comes in both locked and unlocked variants, opening up the possibility of overlocking, as well. Unlocked i5 processors terminate in the letter K and do cost more than the locked counterpart.

The i7 processor is a native quad core processor with hyperthreading and turbo boost. Windows and other operating systems will read this processor as having 8 cores, perfectly tailored for higher end tasks that include gaming, 3d rendering, video editing. With 4 native processor cores, and the ability to hyperthread with turbo boost enabled, programs load faster, rendering is achieved in less time, and gaming is more fluid. As like for the i5, the i7 comes in both unlocked and locked variants. The unlocked variant for consumers terminates in K, which, also, costs more than the locked counterpart.

Now, let's talk about mainboards. I won't be telling you which mainboard is better than another, but I will help you decipher the code in the naming scheme, which thankfully is easier to decipher than most think.

Unlocked processors benefit most from unlocked mainboard platforms. If you intend to purchase an unlocked i5 or i7 Intel 7th gen Kaby Lake processor, take a look at mainboards from the Z270 lineup of your favourite lineup. These boards are designed for the unlocked processor, and can, also, handle any of the processors, too. With better power management when it comes to power stability and delivery to the processor, you will achieve much better overclocks. These boards are great for gamers, video editors, 3D graphics rendering, those who wish to have SLI or Crossfire support, and more. Note: while it is possible to do a bios update on a Z170 mainboard to accept a Kaby Lake processor, it may be easier to just buy from the Z270 line for most people.

Locked processors, which are any i3, i5 or i7 processor that doesn't end in K in the consumer space, can be used on the Z270 line. However, to save cash you can use the H270 mainboard line, instead of the Z270 line. You lose the ability to reliably overclock, but if you aren't interested in overlocking, this is a less expensive, and much more ideal solution for you. Some of the boards may not support SLI but do support Crossfire. You, also, have the option to use the B250 line, as well.

How-To Decide Which Processor and Mainboard combination for Kaby Lake

If you are only interested in multimedia viewing, office work, and maybe some really light gaming. You can opt for an i3 processor and a mainboard from the H270 or B250 line.

If you are interested in gaming, some video editing, and some heavier tasks, go with either the i5 unlocked SKUs with a Z270 board, if you want to overclock, otherwise go with a locked i5 processor and either a B250 or H270 mainboard.

If you do 3D rendering, heavy gaming, want SLI support, etc. intend to overclock go with an unlocked i7 and a Z270 mainboard. If you want all that and have no intentions on overclocking, you can choose from the B250 and H270 lines with a locked i7 processor to save a few bucks, too.

Note: when overclocking, please not that you should buy a power supply with a higher available wattage, and a better 80+ rating for stable operation during overclocking. You will, also, greatly benefit from better cooling solutions, whether by bigger air cooling fans, AIO cooling solutions, or custom water cooling solutions.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Dot Net

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