EVGA’s original Z170 Classified motherboard is currently selling for $399. If you think about it there are people that would be willing to pay that much for a Z170 motherboard and make use of all of its features, but there are quite a lot of people won’t and just can’t afford that price point. For those people EVGA now has the Classified K, cuts down on features from its big brother, but still gives you quite a value.
The biggest change we see is that the Classified K lacks the PEX PLX 8747 chip which enabled the original Z170 Classified to support 4-way SLI. On the Classified K we have 2-way SLI support, which is more than enough for most of us. I would say a good amount of people I know only use a single graphics card, and the people doing more than two are only doing a dual-card setup.
EVGA also took out the high-end Creative Core 3D audio and replaced it with Realtek’s ALC1150. This is expected as most Z170 boards we’ve reviewed use Realtek ALC1150. The Ethernet connections have been changed too, on the original you had Intel i219 and i210 NICs. On the Classified K you still have the i219, but he i210 has been replaced by the Killer E2400.
As far as other features go you have two PCI-Express 3.0 x4 M.2 slots. It is great to see dual M.2 slots on a board. There is also a smaller M.2 Key-E slot for a WiFi + Bluetooth module so if you wanted to add WiFi to this board you easily can. Other modern connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports powered by the ASMedia ASM1142 controller. You also have SATA Express and more than enough SATA 6GB/s ports.
When it comes to overclocking the Classified K was solid. We had no problem taking our Core i7-6700K from 4.0 GHz all the way up to 4.7 GHz. Sadly though there is no auto-overclocking features on this board for first time overclockers.
EVGA’s motherboards really lack much of any companion software. While there is the E-LEET tuning utility it is far less developed than other motherboard software and only really gives you tuning capabilities. EVGA’s BIOS while straight and to the point it really isn’t much to write home about either.
At its price point of $289.99 there are quite a few other motherboards to compete with. The main ones are the ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha ($288) and Gigabyte Z170X Gaming GT ($249). All three boards mix and match features, but both ASUS and Gigabyte have better software and auto-overclocking features. At the end of the day this is still a very solid motherboard from EVGA. Overall ThinkComputers gives the EVGA Z170 Classified K an 8 out of 10 score.
– Killer E2400 gaming networking
– Dual M.2 slots
– Great overclocking
– Ability to easy add WiFi
– Power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons
– No auto-overclocking
– Could be priced better
– Software is pretty weak compared to other companies