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I'm seeking z170/LGA 1151 MBs for my i7 6700k CPU, and I am planning to buy 2X8GB DDR4 SDRAM. When I search it on newegg, the prices range from $50 to $200+. My questions are

1) what makes the differences?

2) Besides the compatibility with my CPU and RAM, I only care about the performance. So would a $60 motherboard be good enough for me?

3) I notice there is a "memory standard" spec, which includes 2133-3400MHZ, does this has to be correspondent to my RAM's speed? For example, if my RAM is DDR4 SDRAM 3000, then I need to buy a MB that supports 3000MHZ memory standard, right?

  • We probably need more details, like what SATA devices you will have, what expansion and graphics cards you need, and what form factor (ITX/mATX/ATX/E-ATX) you want. As far as memory standard, you want one that can match the top speed of your memory. Most MBs will have something like this: DDR4 3600*(*OC)/ 3200*/ 3000*/2800*/ 2600*/ 2400*/ 2133, where * denotes overclocked memory speeds. Just get one that matches your memory (ideally check the memory manufacturer's site and ensure the MB and RAM are officially compatible; many times they will work anyway but at least you have a warm fuzzy) – SSumner Dec 20 '15 at 14:44
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There are many chipsets with the LGA 1151 socket, including the Z170, B150, H170 etc. The only chipset that allows overclocking would be the Z170 chipset, which you should get since you are getting a overclockable CPU. The other chipsets I mentioned are cheaper (sub $100 range) but lack some of the features the Z170 has. Even with the same chipset, there are higher quality motherboards (more expensive) and lower quality motherboard (cheaper). The higher quality motherboards have more features such as better power delivery to allow more overclocking, better NICs, better sound cards, more PCIe slots, etc. The motherboard you would need would depend on what you are using it for.

A $60 motherboard would be "good enough" for you. You would not be able to overclock if it's not a Z170 chipset (so the overclockability of your CPU is wasted), it probably doesn't have SLI and/or CrossFireX support, so you would be limited to only having one GPU. The PCIe lanes could also be slower, so higher bandwidth PCIe cards would take a performance hit.

The speed of the RAM doesn't have to correspond to the motherboard's rated max speed. The RAM would run at the lower speed of the two (e.g. if your RAM was 3000MHz and your board only supports max of 2400MHz, it would run at the lower of the two, which would be 2400MHz). This also means you are wasting some of the power of the RAM if you buy a lower end board. You would also want to check with your motherboard manufacturer's manual to check if the RAM is compatible with your board.

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  • This is almost completely spot on, except for the part where you equate "higher quality motherboards" and "more PCIe slots". The number of slots is a function of the board size, but choosing a smaller form factor does not implicitly mean it is a lower quality board. If you were talking about the number of lanes available as compared to the number of slots, and the number of lanes in each, that would be more accurate. – T.J.L. May 4 '16 at 13:02

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