In this review we looked at the EVGA Z170 Classified K. This is a new motherboard that was announced at CES as a way to provide the same Classified performance and make the motherboard cheaper. It would seem adding a PLX chip to a motherboard increases the cost significantly and they wanted to offer a similar board at a lower cost point.
Overall the motherboard performed as you would expect with solid performance and surprisingly consistent scores in both our synthetic and real world benchmarks. Given the removal of the PLX chip it is surprising to see full length PCI Express slots on the Classified K.
According to the Multi GPU Index the board is optimized for dual card operation but does have a dedicated third slot to support a PhysX card or 3-way Crossfire (if you are into the AMD thing). The final 16x slot if fully wired but only runs at 1x using bandwidth from the Z170 chipset. It is possiable to run a video card in this slot but will have increased latency due to the path it needs to take and might be one of the most unique advantage for using a Z170 Classified K over the Z170 FTW.
The UEFI layout is quite good and displays exactly what you need to see. This is an important feature given that many manufacturers tend to overcomplicate the interface in an attempt to show "everything" or do the opposite and hide everything in a list of complex menus. The EVGA UEFI is very straight forward showing you the current state of your system while giving you appropriate menus to make adjustments. Speaking of adjustments, for those worried about flashing the BIOS image you are in luck. Dual BIOS is a standard feature to safeguard against BIOS failure. You can update the firmware either from Windows or directly from the UEFI. Simply put the new image on a USB stick, find it using the flashing tool and away you go.
When it comes to overclocking we found the Z170 Classified K to be very responsive allowing the 6600K to hit 4.73Ghz with a combination of multiplier and BLCK adjustments. The motherboard is missing many of the LN2 friendly features like voltage test points and PCI Express disable switches. While these are nice to have they offer little benefit for the average enthusiast.
Black Color Scheme
Killer Networks Ethernet
Oversized VRM Heatsink
Excellent UEFI Menus
Great Memory Performance
Flexible PCI Express Layout
Onboard USB 3.1
Triple Onboard M.2
I really miss the red accents
Extra resistors on the back of the motherboard
No onboard USB type-C