Benefitting from the new 270 chipset, this Strix motherboard from Asus is a solid building block for those looking to build their gaming PC. Especially if you have a mid-range budget, this motherboard can pack quite the punch, but not quite the level you would get from the Maximus Range. So what can you expect from the ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Motherboard?
Packaging and Contents
You get a palpable sense of excitement when you first look at the box for the ROG Strix Z270F. The motherboard comes in a big sturdy black box which has all the necessary information easily readable. Open it up, and the motherboard is the first thing you see. Pick it up, and you have the rest of the contents. This includes:
- 4x SATA cables
- 4-pin RGB strip extension cable
- CPU installation tool
- ASUS front panel Q-connector block
- M.2 screws and mounts
- Rear IO shield
- 2-way HB SLI bridge
The inclusion of the SLI bridge gives a hint at what kind of GPU Asus thinks you should be using with this motherboard. However, the best inclusions are the CPU installation tool and the RGB strip extension cable. This gives both extra customisation options for those interested in RGB design and helps for anyone who has a hard time installing a CPU. It’s these small additions which really help distinguish Asus’ products. Otherwise, there are the necessary CDS for driver installation, a manual and some stickers.
ROG and Asus have gotten a sleek design to a fine art by this point. Fans of black will appreciate the uniform colour scheme. The whole board looks like it was crafted out of carbon fibre, giving it the same design feel like a modern yacht. However, it’s not a case of ‘any colour as long as it’s black.’ Instead, there are programmable RBG lights built into the motherboard itself. Long gone are the days where you need to buy LED strips and tinker away to make a reactive light system. Asus has made it easy for you to show off your internals without breaking the bank.
Another feature to point out is that the Z270F has a very 3D-printer friendly design. If you want to add any custom features and you have a 3D printer to hand, Asus have made it easy to add whatever you want.
Regarding layout, Asus have gone for making your life easier in the build process. The DIMM slots have a single-latch setup, the PCIe have Asus’ Safeslot design that keeps components in place, and the GPU slots are spaced for more efficient cooling and better installation. This is the reason for the inclusion of special SLI bridge connectors, as standard connectors wouldn’t have the reach. For those with extra money to burn there is even space for a third GPU, but that really isn’t necessary for this day and age.
Modern PC gaming requires a lot of ports and connectors to make the most out of every new component, and the Z270F isn’t lacking for the most part. There are a total of five 10GBPS USB 3.1 ports at the back and one 5GBPS 3.0 at the front. There is the argument that there could be more included on the back, but unless you really need your Printer to have a fast connection you can use one of the three USB 2.0 connectors on the front.
Otherwise, you have an HDMI 1.4b connector for those with a 4k monitor, but that only has a 24hz refresh rate. thankfully, there is also a DisplayPort 1.2 which examples full 60hz refresh. Then you also have enough audio jacks for full 7.1 surround, a standard ethernet port and another USB type C. Not the most loaded IO of any motherboard, but more than enough for anyone hoping for a midrange PC setup.
Everything on the Z270F has been designed to just work with the minimum amount of tinkering needed. Asus has included several safeguard and booster in the necessary locations to handle everything from audio to network management. There is plenty of space on the motherboard itself to include plenty of cooling options, including water cooling systems. Otherwise, this is a motherboard which has an element of plug-in and play, which is a good starting point for anyone having a first attempt at building a PC.
Those who want more control, it is there with the UEFI. With the included software there is plenty of control available, from frills like RGB control and mouse support to more advanced settings like voltage control, fan speed and BIOS settings. Everything is easy to read and modify without too much eye strain or stress. This also means that Overclocking is a simple matter of pressing a button, but should you want a greater control to tweak it’s there as well. I didn’t have the time to fully dig into what was available, but there is more than enough to satisfy the real tinkerer.
This is the real make or break for the Z270F. Competitors Gigabyte and MSI both have competitively priced mid-range motherboards of their own that sell well in Singapore. How does Asus’ new Strix entry measure up? For the purposes of testing, I used a Core i7 7700K CPU and 16GB of 3200MHz G.Skill TridentZ DDR4 memory. The two other motherboard benchmarks are from Gigabyte and ASRock using similar components. Here are the full test specs:
- Processor: Intel Core i7 7700K (4.5GHz Forced Turbo).
- Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) G.Skill TridentZ 3200MHz 14-14-14-34 DDR4 @ 1.35V.
- Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX Titan X Pascal.
- System Drive: 500GB Samsung 840 SATA 6Gbps SSD.
- Games Drive: 960GB SK Hynix SE3010 SATA 6Gbps SSD.
- CPU Cooler: Corsair H110i GT.
- Power Supply: Seasonic Platinum 760W SS-760XP.
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Anniversary Update).
Ashes of Singularity
If you are gearing up for the 1080TI and Kaby Lake and want to get an absolute beast of a PC, this is no the motherboard for you. Power users will likely be frustrated at the limited USB ports and overall capabilities of the Z270F. However, if you are looking for something that is midrange, this is a good solid choice. The only issue is that it is not the cheapest midrange. Lazada is listing it at S$375. Those of you willing to do a bit more on the ground research will likely find a better deal in Sim Lim Square. Otherwise, there is nothing really so say against this very solid motherboard
Powerful enough to give you a stable basis for your gaming rig without breaking the bank, the Z270F is a solid mid-range choice. If you can’t quite afford the Maximus line of boards or are just not interested, you can’t go wrong with this entry into the Strix lineup. The aesthetics are lovely, the power is there and the customisation is varied enough to cut your teeth into serious overclocking.