The Colorful brand name has long been present in industry trade shows and in the general market. Unfortunately, I have dismissed it as just another startup brand for the longest time, with my attention usually on the more established brands such as Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI. That was my mistake.
Looking at their lavish iGame Z170 motherboard, the phrase “All the bells and whistles” come to mind. The quote about the kitchen sink comes to mind too. The iGame Z170 Ymir G is an exercise in stuffing as many features as possible into one board, with an emphasis on “Stuff”. Here’s the most surprising things you can find on the board on initial inspection:
- Water cooling ports on the VRM heatsinks
- Metal “armor” all across the board
- Dual Gigabit LAN ports
- What looks like high quality chokes, capacitors and audio circuits
- More LEDs than a light and energy convention
..all things you don’t expect from a relative newcomer to the business. Then again, Colorful can draw inspiration from the best in the industry, and based on the look and the design, they seem to have distilled the features and looks of their product from a combination of Asus and MSI. Not a bad thing. Let’s take a closer look.
|Processor||support Intel LGA 1151 processorsTDP:125W|
|Memory||4 DIMM slots，support DDR4 dual channel 2133/2400(OC) /2600(OC) /2800(OC)/3000(OC)/3600(OC) MHZ memory slot|
|Graphics||3 PCI Express3.0X16 slots|
|Board I/O||I/O： 1 PS2 combo port，4*USB3.0，2*USB3.1，8*USB2.0， 2*RJ45 1000M LAN，6 audio ports（8-ch support） 1*DisplayPort，1*HDMI; onboard： 2*9-pin USB2.0 headers， 1*19-pin USB3.1 header,1*9-pin COM header,Note：1、all usb ports（Does not include the red USB2.0 ports）support Off charg, 2、front USB2.0 header support Fast Charge|
|Expansion Slots||3*PCI Express3.0X1 slot， 3*PCI Express3.0X16 slot，1*PCIE M.2 slot|
|SATA Ports||6*SATA3.0 6Gb/s ports（support RAID0/1/5/10）2*SATA Express 32Gb/s ports|
|Power Management||14 phase power supply, support 125W processors|
|Hardware Monitor||CPU Fan speed Controlled，SYSTEM Fan speed Monitoring,CPU Temperature Monitoring，System Temperature Monitoring，and Voltage monitoring|
|LAN||Killer E2201+Intel i211 dual 1000M LAN|
|Other Features||Colorful Netlive4.0，PXE|
As you can see from its specifications, Colorful did not skimp on any of the important aspects that make up a good motherboard – connectivity is top notch, with three flavors of USB including Type C, USB 3.1 and legacy USB for peripherals, Dual LAN ports, HDMI, Display Port, PS/2 and audio ports. Expandability is well-balanced, with 3 PCI-e x16 slots and 3 x1 slots, 6 SATA 3.0 sockets, an M.2 socket, and 4 DIMM slots. Finally, the power delivery and feature components are also of high quality – we can see Japanese Nichicon caps in the audio circuits, Hi-C flat caps, and good quality chokes on the board.
Even more interesting are the extra features that you don’t usually see in a new-ish brand or on a mid-high chipset like the Z170. As mentioned earlier, one of the first features I took note of was the water cooling ports on the VRM section of the board; we’ve seen this a couple of times with other brands, but always on the higher end models. Metal “armor” is also a feature from the higher end of the spectrum, and while it’s not been proven to give a lot of obvious benefits, it sure looks nice. The motherboard also comes with an I/O shield in the accessories box. The multiple LEDs add to the board’s looks, while doing some essential reporting for stuff like error codes, DIMM connectivity (LEDs near the DIMM slots light up once you connect a stick, even when the PC is turned off!), and power-phase status. Dual Gigabit ports ease connectivity to multiple networks, while durability is ensured with liberal use of heavy duty, high quality components also usually found in high-end units.
It seems like Colorful is intent to prove its worth as a viable alternative to the more established brands, and they are doing this by releasing products that seem extravagant but are still generating a lot of interest for the enthusiast. The best example of this is their release of a B150-based motherboard with an integrated GTX 1070. I doubt they did this to increase their sales, but this piece of news undoubtedly garnered a lot of interest from review and news sites. The iGame Z170 Ymir G was seemingly developed under the same philosophy. It has a price of more than P10K pesos locally, making it hard for them to compete, as most new brands start marketing with their entry level models in our market due to the overwhelming preference of local enthusiasts for affordable products. Regardless, generating interest is the first step in marketing their products, so I can see how Colorful might progress from this point.
- Robust power delivery – 14-phase power design built with reliable, high-performance components for excellent stability and reliability
- Dual-LAN – Killer E2201 gaming-grade network chip and Intel i211 NIC both available onboard for maximum throughput, optimal network performance and bandwidth traffic management
- Gamer Voice – professional Hi-Fi audio system featuring 120dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) hi-fi chip for clear and high power audio together with Nichicon Japanese capacitors.
- Everything at your fingertips – dedicated physical buttons on-board for maintenance (power on/off, reset, CMOS clear) and a one-key overclocking button to instantly boost performance by up to 20-30%.
- Dual BIOS – protect your system with dual BIOS ROMs. Switch and recover from a secondary BIOS or maintain to different BIOS versions for maximum compatibility.
- Support for high-speed storage – SATA Express and M.2 ports allow users to utilize the latest in storage technology providing more bandwidth and transfer speed than conventional SATAIII speeds.
- Multi-GPU support – scale your graphics performance with both NVIDIA and AMD multi-GPU solutions to power the most demanding games. NVIDIA 2-way SLI and AMD 3-way CrossfireX supported.
- User-customizable LED lighting – tweak the lighting of the audio area to your own style with user-customizable multi-color LED lights
If Colorful is taking inspiration from the giants of the industry and putting their own spin on their products, and continue doing so while improving their price structure, presence and documentation (seeing as the manual is in chinese, preventing us from determining the functions of some of the features and LEDs), then there’s a bright future for them in our local market due to the vacuum left behind by entry-level focused brands that can’t seem to dislodge the big three motherboard brands by way of lowered pricing. Perhaps Colorful’s approach is the correct way to appeal to the cost-conscious enthusiasts to be found in the Philippines. I’m looking forward to seeing more models from the brand.