@davidm71_2 You are the wiser man. I bought the open box ("all sales are final") before I saw the promo code that you must have used. Let me summarize how I spent about 10 hours swapping boards, coolers, sticks, redoing liquid metal, etc.. There's a happy ending at least.
Swapped a 2.5 year old working 5+ ghz 7700k from a Z270 K6 to the Apex and it wouldn't post if the memory slot closet to the CPU was filled. So, I figured the open box mobo was bad... Swapped back to K6 and the 2 closest slots to CPU had the same issue so I lost dual channel. I figured I damaged my delidded chip from over tightening or maybe the Apex ruined it. It's clocking profile has changed..before delidding I could do 8 hours stability test at 1.28; great chip. Now, 1.22v @ 4.8 almost hits 100C..I remounted the cooler and socket countless times. I though maybe single channel was stressing it extra. Today, I was considering returning the Apex being my rebate was already approved and I decided to look it over one last time. There was one pin in the socket that was off by maybe 20 degrees. It was almost touching another pin which made it very hard to see that something was off. Anyway, my 7700K is now working with both slots in the Apex! I got no idea what's wrong with the K6 and can't be bothered with it anymore. I've only spent a few hours with the apex, but it's looking stable at 4133 CL16-16-36 stable with 1.47v. 4266 wouldn't post for me, but it's not a real divider; it increases bclk. I'm wondering if we can use the higher memory dividers that the Apex X supports with the modified BIOS. I'll probably give it a shot now that you confirmed the modded BIOS works with SKL; thanks for sharing that.