The Intel ‘Coffee Lake’ architecture is spectacular with the latest 8th generation processors. The i7 8700k processor is a gamer’s dream with a performance punch that is 25% better than 7700k. Unfortunately, you need to upgrade the new Z370 motherboard and chipset as ‘Coffee Lake’ refresh is not backwards compatible. There are a lot of players in the market that have come up with some impressive products. In this article, we’re going to be looking at 5 Motherboards, discussing the pros and cons of each to guide you towards the best motherboard for i7 8700k.
Why do you need a new Motherboard?
If you do not already know then the new 8th generation ‘Coffee Lake’ processors need the 300-series chipsets. Z370 motherboards are the first products in this range. The new 8th gen CPU uses the same socket as found in the previous generations. However, the LGA1151 socket is being used differently here making the new CPU absolutely incompatible with previous generation motherboards.
Intel has been known to get around problems. It used to solve such issues by introducing a new name with the separation. However, this time if you want to upgrade to the latest processor, then you will need a Z370 motherboards.
Who is in the Z370 Motherboard Spectrum?
There are a number of players in the Z370 spectrum. You can take a pick from Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, ECS, ASRock, and EVGA. There are other less satisfactory manufacturers as well. However, these are among the better performing ones.
The Ultimate Buying Guide
Buying a new motherboard takes immense research and patience. You need to find one that suits your pockets and requirements. This buying guide will help you acquire the best Motherboard for i7 8700k.
There are many gaming motherboards which fall short of being called the best Gaming Motherboard for i7 8700k simply because they are not adequate on the overclocking feature. If you are a gamer then you need to ensure that the motherboard you purchase has been optimized for overclocking. There are a number of professional techniques and complicated setting required in overclocking. You need a sophisticated and convenient overclocking feature that lets you go overboard without actually damaging any parts.
Multi GPU Support
Graphics are an all important aspect in choosing the right motherboard. Z370 chipset supports a 3 way Cross Fire and a 2 way SLI. The right motherboard should have a fan to support these high end graphics cards. It should also have a large radiator for power.
A lot of people do not pay attention to the strength of PCI-Ex16 slots. These need to be strengthened to support the heavy high end graphics cards. Not to mention the havoc a large fan can cause with its centrifugal force. Your motherboard will be durable if it comes with reinforced PCIe slots.
M.2 device cooling
I7 8700k was built by Intel keeping gamers in mind. SSD solid state drives with M.2 interface is being adopted by a growing number of gamers to improve any game’s access speed. However, M.2 interface is known to heat up while reading data at a high speed. This lowers the operating frequency and compromises the whole system.
Hence, to prevent a situation where under-clocking leads to low performance, it is important that you choose motherboards equipped with M.2 cooling features.
You cannot buy a motherboard without looking into the audio features. You need the best audio possible to label a product the best Gaming Motherboard for i7 8700k. Lucky for you, there are many manufacturers like MSI who pay special attention to this aspect while designing their Z370 motherboards.
Cooling & Durability
High performance and high speed transfers are known to get systems to a high temperature. If you are looking to buy the best Motherboard for i7 8700k, then you cannot overlook fan performance and temperature sensors. There are a few products that provide complete control over multiple fans through dedicated software.
All you need to know about Z370
Z370 is currently the only compatible chipset with ‘Coffee Lake’ motherboard. The problem is that there is a lot of similarity between the earlier chipsets and the new except they are not backwards compatible. The new CPU’s have an identical 1151 pin socket which means you can physically fit in the hardware. However, the wrong part is going to result in damaging either one of the components.
Hence, it is important that you do not confuse Z370 with the earlier Z270. Both chipsets are known to support 24 additional PCI-Express lanes and two DDR4 memory channels with two DIMMs per channel. They also possess a maximum of 14 USB ports and 6x SATA 6GB/s drives. Other similarities include 3x PCI-E slots that operate in either x16/x0/x0, x8/x8/x0, or x8/x8/x4 modes and 4 RAM slots supporting a maximum of 64 GB.
The only thing changed is the compatibility and name. Z370 supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 rather than the earlier USB 3.1 Gen 1 or USB 3.0. Gen 2 and Gen 1 might be numerically similar. However, the standards have doubled with blazing 12 Gbps transfer rates.
The Z370 chipsets have a significant upgrade to PCIe RAID. The latest high speed SSDs require PCIe lanes for increased data transfer rates. This means that with the i7 8700k you do not have to purchase a separate RAID card to achieve some dizzying data performance transfer.
Best Motherboard for i7 8700k
GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming Wi-Fi
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This is GIGABYTE’s most unique motherboard till now with an in-built Wi-Fi receptor. It is hands down the best overall motherboard for i7 8700k. AORUS motherboards are known for similarity in design. However, the main thing that stands out in this motherboard is the silver and white accents. There are several zones for LEDs with a black PCB.
The most important feature of this motherboard is to connect to the internet without needing a USB/PCIe module. It connects through the Wi-Fi receptor that is compatible with multiple standards such as a/b/g/n/ac. This great feature cannot be ignored as the AORUS clearly stands out from the competition.
There are 6 fan headers in the Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming WIFI-OP. All of them are with PWM/DC mode headers. You can change the standard cooling curve of 5 headers through UEFI or Windows. One of the headers is the pump header that runs at full speed by default.
Cooling is among the strongest forte in this motherboard. It is a great choice in terms of lighting, design and price. This product is also among the best choices in the market in terms of PCIe slots. The PCIe X16 slots allow for support with 2 graphic cards without any heating or performance issues.
Another feature worth mentioning in this Gaming motherboard is the Overclock speeds. The system actually pushes the temperature to its limits. You might have issues in performing tasks such as 3D rendering or High end video editing. However, the processor makes up for it with speed.
What I/We Like
What I/We Like
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ASRock Z370 Killer SLI
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ASRock motherboards are the embodiment of impossible made possible. There is no other manufacturer with the same creativity and capability. ASRock is in fact the only brand that brings together extreme power with affordability without sounding like a marketing gimmick. The Z370 Killer SLI comes with Hyper DDR4 technology that gives the performance huge boost with Overclock Configurations.
This product brings all the requirements of an enthusiast to the table at a price point that is affordable. Premium components like Steel Slots for the main PCIe X16 slots, Nichicon 12K Black Caps and 45A Alloy Chokes cover a High-Density Sapphire Black Glass Fabric PCB.
If you are a VR fan, then this is the right product for you. The Killer SLI does a bang up job for VR gamers. It can really push the device to its limit for maximum capacity alongside extremely rough environment.
ASRock’s VR Ready Stamp is a dead giveaway that this product comes bundled with two PCI-E x16 slots that support NVIDIA SLI. The new SLI HB Bridge that comes as a free bundle with this product is compatible with NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 graphics cards.
This means you get a rock stable gameplay delivery and surround gaming experience due to available transfer bandwidth being doubled. The Killer motherboard has Hyper DDR4 unlike any traditional memory signal design. The memory circuitry is isolated with optimized trace designs providing optimal performance, stability and compatibility.
What I/We Like
What I/We Like
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MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
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MSI is known to have its presence shown by coming up with hi-end products that do not require an introduction. This premium motherboard actually completes most functions on its own. The asking price might be big. However, it gives all users something of what they want. Dubbed as a gaming motherboard, the MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon has many tricks up its sleeves.
he Wi-Fi in this product comes on a PCIe/USB to M.2 Key-E adapter card. The card is not integrated. This is probably the only disadvantage where MSI lost out on. There are two USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, a DisplayPort 1.2 connector with a meager 24 Hz refresh rate at 4096X2304 and four SATA 3.0 ports.
The graphic cards are protected against damage with reinforced CPU-fed PCIe slots. Systems with extra heavy graphic coolers are prone to damage while moving. The RGB color LCDs allow for color customization with MSI Mystic Light Utility.
This Gaming Pro Carbon Motherboard supports all the latest storage standards. You can connect to any ultra-fast storage device for enhanced in-game benefits. You can start games quicker and overall load levels faster for an improvement above the other manufacturers in the market.
What I/We Like
What I/We Like
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ASUS Rog Strix Z370-E
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This motherboard is an ATX form factor with customizable LEDs and aggressively shaped coolers. ASUS as a brand is widely recognized to be dependable and feature perfect. They have acquired a great spot in the motherboard niche with products that are reliable and available in all price range. The Rog Strix Z370E is available in the mid-range sector for all those who want power packed features at a competitive price.
This motherboard offers full RGB lighting control by supporting Aura Sync RGB LED lighting system from ASUS. There are various strips that connect to onboard RGB headers with functional pre-sets for built-in RGB LED. However, there is so much more than just good looks in this mid-range product.
The design allows for memory speeds of DDR4-4000 with all slots populated with a T-Topology layout. Trace lengths between memory slots are aligned allowing for time-aligned signaling. There is also 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2×2 dual-band 2.4/5GHz antennas that offer 867 Mbps of transfer speeds. This ensures super-fast usage in all areas of functionality.
You can get data transfer speed of 32 Gbps by connecting Two NVMe SSDs in the dual PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots in RAID Configuration. Overclocking is only a matter of a single click with this motherboard. The ASUS 5-Way Optimization technology provides efficient overclocking and cooling profiles by dynamically optimizing essential aspects of your system.
What I/We Like
What I/We Like
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EVGA Z370 FTW
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EVGA has been known across the industry for power supply units and graphic cards. They jumped right on the ‘Coffee Lake’ Support wagon with FTW Motherboard. The best buy for a buck is definitely the FTW with traditional blacked out aesthetics, overclocking purposes and high bandwidth USB controller.
The motherboard does not scream fancy with RGB lighting but with black aesthetics. Overclocking enthusiasts can have a field day with the capabilities of FTW. It is among the few motherboards that can pander to both gamers and overclocking enthusiasts.
There have been multiple demonstrations that have determined this motherboard’s efficiency in terms of potential. It can reach very high temperatures without compromising the quality of the product.
The motherboard has a total of 14 USB ports that is very impressive. It does not end here. There is best of all worlds with this product by way of 6x Rear Panel USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 2 Internal Header USB 3.0 and 2 USB 3.1 ports with 1 of both Type A and Type C.
It is a helpful product for PC Builder amateurs who want to create their own systems. It has various handy labels to allow instant recognition of ports and slots. It also comes with 2 PCIe NVMe slots that pose no problem for people who want to have their M.2 PCIe SSDs on.
What I/We Like
What I/We Like
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You need to understand your motherboard requirements before you settle for a Z370. ASRock Killer SLI is a good contender with affordable pricing and exclusive features. However, GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming Wi-Fi gives ASRock Killer fierce competition. If you want a high quality motherboard from a manufacturer that does not shy away from creativity then GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming Wi-Fi is the product for you.
In-built Wi-Fi receptor in this motherboard has changed the game. Other features like compatibility with 3 M.2 NVMe SSD, USB Type C support, XMP Modules Support and USB 3.1 Gen 2 compatibility makes it the best choice overall for i7 8700k. Cooling mechanisms and overclocking are also this Motherboard’s strong forte.