Board Layout and Features
It is no real surprise to see an all black motherboard from EVGA. It's quick and easy color scheme and given that when you get everything installed you rarely see the motherboard there is little need for fancy colors. In times like this I am often reminded of one of my first EVGA reviews and spending a good number of evenings trying to photograph an all black motherboard only to determine it was next to impossible. The EVGA Z170 Classified is a throwback to those days and no less difficult to capture without fancy lights and digital trickery.
Overall I am rather pleased to see a proper enthusiast level motherboard again and as I mentioned before the Classified formula works so there was no need to change a thing. A large heatpipe cooler connects the MCP to the CPU VRM and is accented with large aluminum heatsinks to dissipate what little heat is generated. Given the prevalence of AIO watercooling these large heatsinks are a required to ensure the system remains stable for a long time.
Flipping the motherboard can tell us a lot about how it is constructed including where some of the major chips are located. Every PCI Express slot is fully wired meaning that the full slot width is soldered to the PCB. As we will see later in this review that doesn't always mean each slot comes with full set of PCI Express lanes. Looking towards the lower section of the motherboard you can see the chipset location along with the PLX used to split the PCI Express lanes.
EVGA has included a 12 phase VRM to control the processor, memory, internal graphics and PCI Express. In terms of overall size this is average and adequate for an LGA 1151 even with a healthy overclock.
The area around the CPU socket is very well organized with very few components making it good for those who use alternative cooling methods like Water, Phase and LN2.
Clean power starts at the source, and with the power demands of extreme overclocking, the more power you have available, the better off you will be. EVGA understands this and has offered an additional 8-pin 12v power connector to help with the extreme overclocking efforts.