A chipset has a very important role as the brainstem of the computer. Chipsets basically connect all the other important parts. It is a central hub for I/O and communications management across the motherboard and other devices that are connected to the computer.
Intel has made it simple for gaming enthusiasts to select gaming chipsets. All you need to do is select the most recent chipset in the Z-series. However, there are cases where this is not necessary because you might not need all the features that come with the newest chipset. Instead of buying features you might not end up using, it is important to understand what each chipset has to offer before you make a purchase.
Below is a comparison between Intel’s Z170 and H170 that will make it easy to know which chipset is right for you.
One of the differences between Z170 and H170 is their overclocking capabilities. Z170 motherboards have no issue with overclocking, and it fully enables it through BIOS. The degree of overclocking of the Z170 chipset is, however, mainly determined by the manufacturer’s motherboard UEFI offerings. In order to take full advantage of the Z170 chipset, it is advisable to use K-SKU types of CPUs. When it comes to the H170 chipset, the overclocking capability is disabled. For this reason, it would not be a good idea to couple it with a K-SKU CPU.
Number of PCIe 3.0 Lanes
Lane assignment is the main difference between Z170 and H170 chipsets. Z170 has a total of 26 HSIO lanes that are allocated a number of IO controllers by the motherboard’s manufacturers. They are split into Gigabit Ethernet, USB, M.2, and PCI-e among other interfaces similar to this.
The PCI-e lanes in the Z170 chipset are divided into a total of four lanes. This is equivalent to 20 PCI-e 3.0 lanes and makes them perfect for SLI which requires eight lanes. H170, on the other hand, has a less support since it has a total of 20 HSIO lanes. This slightly interferes with the interface. The PCI-e lanes on this chipset are also lower compared to Z170. It has a total of 16 PCI-e 3.0 lanes.
Maximum USB 3.0 Ports
Both Z170 and H170 chipsets support a total of 14 USB ports. However, there is a slight difference between the two when it comes to the USB ports. The H170 supports only eight USB 3.0 ports while Z170 chipset supports a total of ten USB 3.0 ports.
Which Chipset Is Best for Gamers?
So, between Z170 vs H170, which chipset is best for gamers? The answer to this question is dependent on your gaming needs. If you are in search of a motherboard with a chipset that will enable you to overclock, Z170 is the best motherboard chipset. It not only has a higher PCI-e lane number, but it also supports ten USB 3.0 ports. However, if you do not need to overclock, you would likely choose the H170. It is an affordable option that is great for gaming.