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I'd like to put together an mATX build (due to space constraints) with an i7-6700k. I probably won't be overclocking, but I want to get a Z170 board in case I decide to overclock in the future. Even then, I would only overclock moderately since I want to keep the noise and heat levels low. I will only use a single GPU, so SLI/Crossfire don't matter to me. I prefer Intel LAN, but it's not a must.

Looking at the mATX Z170 boards available, they seem to have lower VRM phase counts compared to their ATX counterparts (which I perceive as an indicator of quality). Considering that I won't be doing any extreme overclocking, is this something that should concern me, in terms of reliability, stability, and longevity?

The only mATX board I can find with a 10-phase VRM is the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII GENE: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813132569

The rest, from what I can tell, all have 4+2+1 phase designs:

ASUS Z170M-PLUS: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813132573

ASRock Z170M Extreme4: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157675

SUPERMICRO SuperO MBD-C7Z170-M-O: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813182978

GIGABYTE G1 Gaming GA-Z170MX-Gaming 5: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128844

GIGABYTE GA-Z170M-D3H: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128845
(PCI slots? Somebody please remind Gigabyte which decade we're in...)

MSI Z170M MORTAR: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA9H53VM6435
(The M.2 slot in this one isn't full-sized, making it sort of useless)

Am I correct in thinking that the Asus ROG could be a waste of money if I'm not going to overclock? It looks like there's a lot of people on here who are knowledgeable about motherboard design and the quality of the various chips/components that are used. So I would appreciate any advice that you would be able to give, on which Z170 board would work best for me!
 

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Pretty much spot on with the ASUS ROG. If your not planning to do much heavy overclocking, just look for a quality / feature rich board at the best price.
If you don't plan to overclock that much I wouldn't give much importance on VRM's. As long its a quality board should have more than plenty, only if you plan to overclock you might need a bit more quality juice.

The Z170M- PLUS and EXTREME 4 are my picks. ASrock makes great small form boards, besides amazing full ATX overclockers boards like OC Forumula series.
 

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I'm also looking for m-atx Z170 but i need as much cpu speed as possible for 144Hz gaming- how much difference would Gene make when overclocking ?

For the moment prices for them in Poland are:

Z170M Extreme 4 - 575 PLN
Gene - 870 PLN (free Doom coupon included)
 
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