What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

All about them.

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

Post Reply
plexman
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:56 pm

What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by plexman » Thu Dec 31, 2015 4:01 pm

Hi all,

I've just put a new system together using a Asus Z170 Pro Gaming. With the bios that shipped with the board version 0802 I was able to run my scythe kotetsu fan pwm at 20% / 450 rpm in the bios using q-fan. Unfortunately with the last couple of bios updates, versions 1202 and 1102 I can now only run my Kotetsu fan at 50% / 700 rpm using q-fan. I can still run the kotetsu fan as low as 260 rpm using fan xpert 3 software but I really dom't want to use any software.

Also to add to this I'm getting pops and crackles from the on board alc1150 audio chip which after searching seems like a common problem.

My first idea was to swap it out for a Asus Z170-A as this has different onboard audio but I'm not sure if asus has also removed the low % rpm option with the latest Z170-A bios updates. They should be adding lower % not taking them away :)

Another option could be going with a MSI or Asrock board as I only need low bios fan control for my kotetsu pwm fan as my 2 case fans are running at 5v with the built it R5 fan controller. Might even be a better option as I believe with an asrock or msi board I may be able to get as low as 260rpm in the bios just like the asus boards can do in fan xpert.


Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

Abula
Posts: 3639
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Location: Guatemala

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by Abula » Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:55 pm

plexman wrote:Hi all,

I've just put a new system together using a Asus Z170 Pro Gaming. With the bios that shipped with the board version 0802 I was able to run my scythe kotetsu fan pwm at 20% / 450 rpm in the bios using q-fan. Unfortunately with the last couple of bios updates, versions 1202 and 1102 I can now only run my Kotetsu fan at 50% / 700 rpm using q-fan. I can still run the kotetsu fan as low as 260 rpm using fan xpert 3 software but I really dom't want to use any software.
This is the main reason im not running Asus on my PCs, Asus lies and changes stuff, on sandy bridge their limitations on pure bios for CPU_FAN were 20%, but on haswell they moved them 40% (in all bios i tested), i even open threads on Asus ROG forums ASUS Bios fan control request, which got ignored, thus i changed toward MSI, and been really happy with their Bios fan control.

Btw have you run the tunning/calibration on the bios of the CPU_FAN? I wrote to Asus JJ about it, is his response,

2) Restrictions per header, minimum % on PWM and voltage control for each header, in the past CPU_FAN was very low, but SYS_FANs were very high. Would be great to see the least Asus allows for each header, specially for someone like me perusing pure bios fan control.
This is based on not knowing what the fans can operate at. This is why the board now have calibration built into the UEFI. Once calibration is run you have the exact range the fan has been profiled at available to adjust.
plexman wrote:Also to add to this I'm getting pops and crackles from the on board alc1150 audio chip which after searching seems like a common problem.

My first idea was to swap it out for a Asus Z170-A as this has different onboard audio but I'm not sure if asus has also removed the low % rpm option with the latest Z170-A bios updates. They should be adding lower % not taking them away :)
I had the issue with Asus Maximus Gene VI and also present with my MSI Z87-GD65, i never could fix it, i blame realtek, but an aftermarket soundcard should fix it, i manage to fix it by getting an Omega eClaro. Or search for a mobo that doesn't have realtek, i haven't seen many on Sylake, one that does, but its expensive, is the MSI Gaming Z170A GAMING M9 ACK LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 ATX Intel Motherboard, seems to come with C-Media 6632A (my omega eclaro also uses cmedia), but for the price of this mobo, my suggestion is go with aftermarket sound card and the choice of board that fits your budget.

Another thing worth considering, but take my comments with a grain of salt, when i was with sandy bridge with my Asus Maximus Gene IV, there was no realtek 1150, was more the older cheaper codec from them, and i never have had issues with popping or crackling, so if the problem is the realtek 1150 (i think it is, because i had the exact issue with two different mobos, but i cant say for sure), is to go with lesser motherboard that has the older Realtek ALC892, here are some examples,
MSI Z170-A PRO LGA 1151 Intel Z170 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 ATX Intel Motherboard
ASRock Z170 Pro4S LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
plexman wrote:Might even be a better option as I believe with an asrock or msi board I may be able to get as low as 260rpm in the bios just like the asus boards can do in fan xpert.
MSI did some changes on Skylake, to little i was able to play with (about couple of hours after finishing a friends built), the CPU_FAN1 and 2 seems unchanged for PWM fan control, its still as good as it was on haswell, with 12.5% increments (now they aprox it 13%) but overall no changes, the lowest you can go is 12.5%. Where they mess up, or at least from what i was able to test, is the SYS_FAN, i can no longer control 3pin voltage controlled fans with smart option checked, i can either run without the smart in a steady speed (40% to 100%, on 10% increments), and but once i activate the smart it goes full rpms, assuming goes 12V, not sure why this is happening, the only guess that i have is that they wtih smart the headers change to PWM, but i was not able to test them as my friend had to leave ='(, but one day im going to visit him, as i need to know for when i do a future build for planning fans, until then i can only vouch for the bios pwm fan control on their CPU_FAN headers.

AsRock is a brand that i really want to test, from haswell i seen very good CPU_FAN bios fan control, specially for PWM, where it seems you can do 1% increments with no restrictions.... the only thing that steer me from them back in the day was that this kind of control was only available on the cpu_fan header, the others were like Asus with presets, where in most cases is fine, but i personally like to tweak my fans by testing and loading, so preset might or not be good, still they seem very good, wondering how they are on skylake.
Another option could be going with a MSI or Asrock board as I only need low bios fan control for my kotetsu pwm fan as my 2 case fans are running at 5v with the built it R5 fan controller.

Any recommendations would be much appreciated
If you only want the CPU_FAN control by the bios, i would recommend MSI, i tested the MSI H170 Gaming and its pretty good on PWM fan control, as good as mine, better i would say because you have multiple breakpoints (mine is limited here to one). I was able to drop down on my friends build the Thermalright TY143A PWM to 315rpms, but remember that MSI is binded to 12.5% (13% display) increments, so you will have 13%, 25%, 38% as your three available breakpoints, you have to test your fan and see what works for you, but you can get an idea if you run FanXpert on your current and see the graph of your fan.

Image

Now AsRock could be another good option, on Haswell they had 1% increments with 4 breakpoints on the CPU_FAN header, not sure how they are on skylake.

plexman
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:56 pm

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by plexman » Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:19 am

Hi Abula,

Thank you for your very detailed reply.
Btw have you run the tunning/calibration on the bios of the CPU_FAN? I wrote to Asus JJ about it, is his response,
Yes I used the tunning/calibration but on the newer bios versions is will only detect 60% as the lowest range in manual mode. In the pre set silent mode it can still drop to 20% but as soon as the cpu reaches 25 degrees the rpm starts to climb due to the pre set cuve/graph. Just for reference you can flash back to the older bios which gives the 20% in manual mode but I really don't want to be stuck on a old bios which is likely to have other problems.


I really liked the look of the MSI Gaming Z170A GAMING M9 until I saw the price. Regards msi boards in general I'm not sure if I want to limited to 12.5% (13% display) pwm increments.

Another option might be the asrock z170 extreme4 which seems to have a much better implementation of the realtek 1150 + TI® 5532 amp from what I've read on head-fi.org. The only problem with this is I have also seen a few threads on asrock forums in regards to Z170 boards where poeple are having problems running their fans below 50% on the cpu fan header and also where fans on other headers will only run at 100% regardless of bios settings.

At this stage I may take a gamble on a Z170-A as I remember JJ mentioning that is has better audio than the pro gaming due to it's implementation on the board even though it's only a realtek ALC892. As a fallback a can a buy a separate card as you suggested and also use the fan xpert software if this board also has bios fan control problems.

I've just read the post by mrmurphy stating that the pro gaming also has the Fake 4pin PWM headers. I'm thinking of upgrading my stock r5 case fans to pwm fans very soon so that would have also been yet another problem with the pro gaming board.

Currently it seems like you can't get any guarantee when it comes to bios fan control. Hopefully this will change once the Z170 platform matures.

Abula
Posts: 3639
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Location: Guatemala

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by Abula » Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:41 am

plexman wrote:Regards msi boards in general I'm not sure if I want to limited to 12.5% (13% display) pwm increments.
Its not so bad, although it could be better with let say 5% increments to tweak it more. But you gotta understand these are breakpoints, so the line between two breakpoints will go accordingly using the full range, its not jumps, but presetablish inclination of the graph that fan will follow. Very few fans go below 12.5%, none are worth considering (imo). Here is a brief example

Image

In the picture you can see the lowest the fan can idle on FanXpert is 630rpms, even though fanXpert displays 596rpms as the minimum, well Fanxpert has like a safty margin where it bumps fans to not be at the lowest since fans don't stead steady but vary a little bit over time. But this speed is also meat with MSI under the 12.5% and 25% setups, and very close to 37.5% setup, so this would be like the starting point with the MSI, then you can chose the rest of breaking points, where you have a ton of options, even though this are jumps, the bios smooths them to create the behavior as uniting two points with a line, achieving all the speeds in between with the inclination of the temp/pwm. So at the end you can the graph very close to what fanXpet can, just with the bios, and you can reach 12.5% on pure bios, there are fans like Noctua that can get very close to this and reach 200rpms, and MSI has no problems managing this, overall to me 12.5% increments is really not a big deal.

If you upload the graph of you CPU FAN on FanXpet, i can tell you how i would setup initially on an MSI bios, keep in mind that this later is for you to tweak depending on your desires of temps/niose, but its easy to do with the FanXpert graph.
plexman wrote:Another option might be the asrock z170 extreme4 which seems to have a much better implementation of the realtek 1150 + TI® 5532 amp from what I've read on head-fi.org. The only problem with this is I have also seen a few threads on asrock forums in regards to Z170 boards where poeple are having problems running their fans below 50% on the cpu fan header and also where fans on other headers will only run at 100% regardless of bios settings.
Wish i could help you here, but i havent tested AsRock bios, it seem very nice on haswell, but things change.
plexman wrote:At this stage I may take a gamble on a Z170-A as I remember JJ mentioning that is has better audio than the pro gaming due to it's implementation on the board even though it's only a realtek ALC892. As a fallback a can a buy a separate card as you suggested and also use the fanxpert software if this board also has bios fan control problems.
Well the problem here could be the bios restrictions, but you can do FanXpert if as a fallback, but i personally dont like the bloated amount of stuff AI Suite comes with, i wish FanXpert was a stand alone app.
plexman wrote:I'm thinking of upgrading my stock r5 case fans to pwm fans very soon so that would have also been yet another problem with the pro gaming board.
If i was in your situation, i would go with MSI Z170-A PRO, since it comes with the Realtek ALC892, and it will have two full PWM fan headers controllable on the bios, if you are planning on swapping the case fans, i would go with Noctua NF-P14s redux-1200 PWM and connect all the case fans to Criotech PWM fan splitter or Swiftech 8W-PWM-SPL-ST 8 Way PWM Splitter-Sata and connect the splitter to the CPU_FAN2, leave the CPU_FAN1 for the CPU Cooler fan, you will be able to control the CPU fan separetly from the case fans on the bios (the case fans will all behave the same but you can do the graph on the group fine).

Either way, good luck with whatever you decide,

plexman
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:56 pm

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by plexman » Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:20 am

Thanks once again for another very detailed reply. On second thoughts and after your very good breakdown of how the msi board works regards fan control I'm now leaning more towards an msi board. My original plan was to not to use any software and to be honest I don't really want to compromise.

Do you have any idea how low the Kotetsu fan can go rpm wise on a msi board via bios? The lowest actual rpm fan xpert 3 is reporting is 300rpm and was closer to 460rpm with the older asus bios.

On another note would I correct in saying that the R5 stock case fans run around 450rpm at v5 and around 500rpm via fan xpert? I've not tried them connected to the motherboard headers yet.

Abula
Posts: 3639
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Location: Guatemala

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by Abula » Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:03 pm

plexman wrote:Thanks once again for another very detailed reply. On second thoughts and after your very good breakdown of how the msi board works regards fan control I'm now leaning more towards an msi board. My original plan was to not to use any software and to be honest I don't really want to compromise.
This is for you to think and decide, what i mean is i do think Asus does great motherboards, but they do have issues as other manufactures, for me they didn't work out because their restrictions in bios and because i didn't like the bloatware AI Suite is, asus didnt use the CPU core temps, but they design an algorithm to reproduce what they called a more "real" temp, weather its true or not idk, if it was similar i would have passed it, but it was higher than core temps on idle and lower on load, so for me was confusing, and i believe its wrong, i always have guided with core temps, but to each to its own.

That said, i do think Asus makes the best software based fan control in the market, extremely easy to setup, so i continue to recommend them, but no longer for me. I had hopes to return to Asus in a future build, but with what you have posted, im probably not moving from MSI, but i do have research MSI more on the SYS_FAN headers, as its a functionality that in my current setup i need
plexman wrote:Do you have any idea how low the Kotetsu fan can go rpm wise on a msi board via bios? The lowest actual rpm fan xpert 3 is reporting is 300rpm and was closer to 460rpm with the older asus bios.
I personally never ran a Kotetsu Glidestream on an MSI motherboard, but it should be very similar to what you get on the Asus FanXpert, thats why i ask you to post a graph of your fanXpert of the CPU fan. SPCR did review the Kotetsu, and this is the graph they got on their sample,

Image

According to the above graph is around 400rpm or so, but at the same time Scythe samples do vary, like for example, in your case you say it can reach 300rpms, what i wanted to see was the % PWM to reach there, my guess is around 25% or so, but it would be best to post the graph you have.
plexman wrote:On another note would I correct in saying that the R5 stock case fans run around 450rpm at v5 and around 500rpm via fan xpert? I've not tried them connected to the motherboard headers yet.
I only have tested the old Fractal fans, not the new ones that come with R5 (which are suppose to be better). The following is the graph of the included fans on R4 ran on with Asus FanXpert2 on CHA_FAN2 (on voltage controlled headers),

Image

From the picture you can 356rpm is the lowest, but since FanXpert bumps the idle rpms a little to be on the safe side, the lowest is around 405rpms (you can see this on the CHA_FAN2 below the graph). I would expect similar behavior on R5 fans, but its easy, simply plug the fan to CHA_FAN header on your motherboard and run fanXpert tuning, if you can post both graphs, it would be useful to have one of the R5 fans for people considering the case and Asus motherboard.
Last edited by Abula on Sat Jan 02, 2016 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

plexman
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:56 pm

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by plexman » Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:58 pm

Image

Image

Image

Please Note all the above are with with Bios version 0802. With the latest asus bios the cpu fan header seems to be limited to 60% and not 20% as shown with my kotetsu fan.



Image

Image


The controllable range of the scythe kotetsu fan seems to be 20%. I've seen the kotetsu fan rpm as low as 260rpm but fan xpert 3 seems to detect slightly different rpm ranges every time you run the fan tuning software. It looks like the R5 case fans can only go as low as 500rpm in fan xpert and a little lower at 470rpm via the bios. I think they must be around 450rpm using the R5 case fan control at 5v.


Hope the above info helps others.

Abula
Posts: 3639
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Location: Guatemala

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by Abula » Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:44 pm

Thanks for the pics plexman,
The controllable range of the scythe kotetsu fan seems to be 20%. I've seen the kotetsu fan rpm as low as 260rpm but fan xpert 3 seems to detect slightly different rpm ranges every time you run the fan tuning software. It looks like the R5 case fans can only go as low as 500rpm in fan xpert and a little lower at 470rpm via the bios. I think they must be around 450rpm using the R5 case fan control at 5v.
Seems its minium is a little above the R4 fans. Running it at 5V should be between 40% and 50% on the table, so it should be around 550/575rpms, if you with to take it a step ahead there is way to measure the rpms, you can use a cheap laser tachometer that you need to attach a reflective tape on one of the fan blades, this is what i do when i see PWM fans not reporting rpms but the fan still spinning.

About the Kotetsu Glidestream fan, it seems similar to the one that was reviewed by SPCR, which had 400rpms at 30%, your have 453rpms which to me its with in tolerance, no all fans are created equal. Now what we cant see is where the real % PWM where it stops, which should be between 20 and 30% according to both the SPCR and your graph. Now seeing more about your fanXpert graph, seems the new fanXpert has a "extremly quiet" section, which allows it to operate like in limbo zone where you are able to achieve the 300rpms i see.

Now thinking on MSI Bios fan control, the 12.5% (13% in display) wouldn't be possible to run, Controllable range: 20-100% (although at 20% it displays 0 rpm in the table), since your can run very close to 20%, i think it will run on MSI Bios fan control at 25% PWM, but its hard to predict accurately what would be the rpms, my best guess interpolating your numbers would be around 370rpms give or take (could be slightly lower or higher), depending on the design of the PWM design. You can set the other 3 breakpoints to your liking, here is where i test a lot, i usually load the PC and start to see how the fan behaves in terms of noise and temps, and reboot to change until i find the best balance.

NTNgod
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 11:09 am
Location: WI, USA

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by NTNgod » Sat Jan 02, 2016 4:17 pm

plexman wrote:Do you have any idea how low the Kotetsu fan can go rpm wise on a msi board via bios? The lowest actual rpm fan xpert 3 is reporting is 300rpm and was closer to 460rpm with the older asus bios.
On my basic MSI Z97 board, under BIOS control, the Kotetsu fan tends to hang out in the 435-450 RPM range.

plexman
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:56 pm

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by plexman » Sat Jan 02, 2016 4:58 pm

Thanks for the info NTNgod and also thank you once again Abula for another detailed reply.

I've just run 2 of the stock R5 case fans out of the case. One via the motherboard running around 500rpm xpert fan reading and the other running on the lowest setting of the built in R5 fan controller which I believe is 5v. From a quick noise and visual test I'm sure the fan on the controller is running slower but it could just be me.

Now time to make a final choice on the replacment motherboard.

Will keep this thread updated.

plexman
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:56 pm

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by plexman » Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:22 am

Just a quick update. Managed to try out a Asus z170-a and it doesn't have a problem running my fan kotetsu fan at 20% in manual mode. I did have to run the fan optimisation a couple of times though before it detected 20% as the lowest the fan could run. It first detected 100%, then 40%, then finally 20%.

On the z170 gaming pro running the latest bios it would never detect lower than 60% on my kotetsu fan even after running the fan optimisation cycle many times.

I've got a asrock z170 extreme4 coming tomorrow so I can try out it's bios fan control and see how it compares.
Last edited by plexman on Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

plexman
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:56 pm

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by plexman » Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:31 am

I've now had a chance to test the asrock board and I'm glad to report the bios fan control is very good. I like the fact that you don't have to run any fan optimizations and it can all be done manually from 0% to 100% so you are guaranteed to get the lowest fan speed possible with your setup.

The lowest my kotetsu fan would do is around the 440rpm mark, which was somewhere around the 20% mark. Any lower and the fan still just spins at the lowest rpm of 440.

Now one of my r5 case fans can go as low as 280 and the other as low as 330. Both were at around 23%. Anything lower than around 18% and the fans wouldn't start up. Between 19% and 22% the fans would spin but they seem to speed up and slow down and give random rpm readings.

Overall the asrock get's lower fan speeds than asus via bios and even beats asus's fan xpert software when it comes to the r5 case fans. The only place the asus fan xpert software does a better job is with the cpu fan speed in quiet mode which can get the kotetsu pwm fan running as low as 290rpms.

Here are a few photo of the asrock bios fan control.

Image
Image
Image



I hope the information is of some help.

axee
Posts: 170
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:01 pm
Location: Slovenia

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by axee » Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:22 pm

I just purchased Asus Z170M-PLUS and I'm very impressed by Q-Fan in BIOS. I haven't updated bios because of topics like this but has anyone reliably tested those limitations? Is it possible that it depends of fan's PWM characteristics, I've dealt with PWM fans that would stop on low PWM cycles and fans that were IMHO properly factory calibrated, meaning that below **% they would just run at their minimum speeds, like Noctua and Scythe. Is it possible that Asus decided to put those limits because it was unreliable to calculate PWM fan speeds on certain fans that don't work properly? I really wonder if proper standardization of PWM technology would stop this madness.

In UEFI I "calibrated" my NF-A15 and two NF-S12A, all 3 on seperate fan headers set to PWM control. Minimum speed was calculated as 15% and I'm running fans at 250RPM at the most time, than my CPU fan slowly kicks in, later back exhaust and the last top fan, which seems to be the loudest because of it's position. Full load results at CPU fan at 380RPM, back fan at 320RPM and back fan at 300RPM. Amazing.

I will be doing some testing with other fans but I won't upgrade BIOS if I'm not sure I can downgrade if this problem happens.

plexman
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:56 pm

Re: What board to replace my Z170 Pro Gaming with?

Post by plexman » Fri Jan 22, 2016 7:13 pm

I haven't personally tested the Z170M-PLUS but on the Z170 Pro Gaming, Z170-A and ROG Z170 Maximus VIII Ranger boards I was able to downgrade the bios fine.

After testing a few more Z170 boards including an msi board I ended up sticking with the asrock board due to it having the better bios fan control with my fan setup.

Post Reply