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ASUS Strix Z270E Gaming review: A great mid-range motherboard for gaming

Intel rolled out the sixth-generation Skylake CPUs last year, and now we’re seeing the Kaby Lake processors make their debut. For the first time, we’re seeing Intel move away from its tick-tock cadence and instead rely on a node for a third generation. As such, Kaby Lake is still built on 14nm, but Intel is touting several enhancements.
Kaby Lake will work with 100-series motherboards, but it shines on the new 200-series platform, which includes support for Intel’s Optane storage products. If you’re interested in seeing what’s new with Kaby Lake and Z270, take a look at the Maximus IX Formula review. The Maximus is catered at the enthusiast market, while the Strix Z270E Gaming — as the name suggests — is targeted at gamers.
ASUS has introduced several additions of its own in its Z270 motherboards, notably the inclusion of Aura RGB LED lighting. There’s also faster networking, more storage connector options, significantly retooled audio codecs, and much more.

Strix Z270E Gaming

CPU

Intel Socket 1151 for 7th/6th Generation Core i7/Core i5/Core i3/Pentium/Celeron Processors

Supports Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0

Chipset

Intel Z270

Memory

4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4

3866(O.C.)/3733(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/3466(O.C.)/3400(O.C.)/3333(O.C.)/3300(O.C.)/

3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2133(O.C.) MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory

Dual Channel Memory Architecture

Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

Graphic

Integrated Graphics Processor- Intel HD Graphics support

Multi-VGA output support: HDMI/DVI-D/DisplayPort ports

– Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz

– Supports DVI-D with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz

– Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz

Maximum shared memory of 1024 MB

Supports Intel InTru 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider

Supports up to 3 displays simultaneously

Multi-GPU Support

Supports NVIDIA 2-Way SLI Technology

Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technology

Expansion Slots

2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)

1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x4 mode)

4 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1

Storage

Intel® Z270 Chipset :

1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)

1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (both SATA & PCIE mode)

6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)

LAN

Intel I219V

Anti-surge LANGuard

ROG GameFirst Technology

Wireless Data Network

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz

Supports MU-MIMO

Bluetooth

Bluetooth 4.1

Audio

ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A

– Dual Headphone Amplifiers

– Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs

– Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking

– High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input

– SupremeFX Shielding Technology

– Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback

Audio Feature:

– SupremeFX Shielding™ Technology

– Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel

– Dedicated audio PCB layers: Separate layers for left and right channels to guard the quality of the sensitive audio signals

– Premium Japanese-made audio capacitors: Provide warm, natural and immersive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity

– Sonic Radar III

– Sonic Studio III

USB Ports

Intel Z270 Chipset :

6 x USB 3.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)

Intel Z270 Chipset :

6 x USB 2.0 port(s)

ASMedia USB 3.1 controller :

1 x USB 3.1 front panel connector port(s)

ASMedia USB 3.1 controller :

2 x USB 3.1 port(s) (Type-A + Type-C, Support 3A power output)

ROG Exclusive Features

ROG RAMCache II

ROG CPU-Z

ROG CloneDrive

Overwolf

GameFirst IV

ROG Aura

– Aura Lighting Control

– Aura RGB Strip Headers

Special Features

OC Design – ASUS PRO Clock Technology

– Full BCLK range for extreme overclocking performance

5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5

– Whole system optimization with a single click! 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ Power Control, Fan Xpert 4, and Turbo App together, providing better CPU performance, efficient power saving, precise digital power control, whole system cooling and even tailor your own app usages.

TPU

– Auto Tuning, TurboV, GPU Boost

– Fan Xpert 4 featuring Fan Auto Tuning function and multiple thermistors

Gamer’s Guardian:

– DRAM Overcurrent Protection

– Stainless Steel Back I/O

– Highly Durable Components

– DIGI+ VRM

– SafeSlot

ASUS Exclusive Features :

– AI Suite 3

– Ai Charger

– ESD Guards

– PC Cleaner

ASUS EZ DIY :

– ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3

– ASUS EZ Flash 3

ASUS Q-Design :

– ASUS Q-Shield

– ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)

– ASUS Q-Slot

– ASUS Q-DIMM

Gaming Aesthetics :

– 3D printing friendly

– AURA-RGB Lighting

Digi+VRM

Turbo APP

Back I/O Ports

1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)

1 x DVI-D

1 x DisplayPort

1 x HDMI

2 x USB 3.1 Type-A + Type-C

4 x USB 3.0 (blue)

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x Audio jack(s)

1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth v4.0

Internal I/O Ports

1 x AAFP connector

1 x RGB Header(s)

1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)

3 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 6 USB 2.0 port(s)

1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)

1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA mode & X4 PCIE mode)

6 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)

1 x CPU Fan connector(s)

1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s)

2 x Chassis Fan connector(s)

1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)

1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)

1 x Front panel connector(s)

1 x System panel(s) (Chassis intrusion header is inbuilt)

1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector

1 x DRCT header(s)

1 x Thermal sensor connector(s)

1 x CPU OV

1 x ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header(s)

1 x 14-1 pin TPM connector

1 x COM port header

1 x High AMP Fan header (4-pin)

1 x T_Sensor Connector

1 x AIO PUMP Header

3 x 3D Mount screw port(s)

1 x USB 3.1 front panel connector

BIOS

128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 3.0, ACPI 6.0, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 3, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information.

Manageability

WfM2.0, DMI3.0, WOL by PME, PXE

Operating System

Windows 10 64-bit

Windows 8.1 64-bit

Windows 7 32-bit

Windows 7 64-bit

Form Factor

ATX Form Factor

12 inch x 9.6 inch (30.5 cm x 24.4 cm)

Strix Z270E overview

As the Strix Z270E Gaming is a motherboard catered toward gamers, the heatsinks and the I/O cover feature aggressive styling in the form of an angular design. The board itself has a black on silver paint scheme that highlights its premium nature, and ASUS has added its Aura lighting as well. It’s a sign of things to come as the manufacturer looks to differentiate its wares. Just like the Strix 1080 and the Maximus IX Formula, the lighting on the Strix Z270E is very well done, and overall it’s a delight to customize.
ASUS has bolstered the expansion slots with metal bracing, which leads to increased shearing resistance. Another highlight is the addition of USB 3.1 headers, paving the way for USB-C connectors on the front panel with a power delivery of 15W. ASUS has mentioned that both Lian-Li and In-Win will be making enclosures that feature USB-C, so if a front USB-C is what you’ve been looking for all this time, you should take a look at Lian-Li and In-Win’s latest offerings.
There are also two M.2 sockets on the Strix Z270E Gaming, with support for both NVMe and AHCI standards. Gigabit Ethernet is delivered via Intel’s latest I219-V LAN controller. On the wireless connectivity front, you get Wi-Fi ac along with 2×2 MU-MIMO. If you’re running a lot of bandwidth-intensive tasks simultaneously, you can use GameFirst IV to ensure that game traffic is always prioritised.
Then there’s the audio solution, SupremeFX. ASUS is using a new S1220A codec, which boasts a 113dB line-in SNR and 120dB line-out SNR, allowing you to record audio with minimal interference. As always, there’s shielding to prevent interference and crosstalk, and there are two op-amps to drive headphones.
You get four memory slots that can take in a total of 64GB of DDR4 RAM, and while the rear ports aren’t as crazy as what we’ve seen on the Maximus IX Formula, you do get four USB 3.0 ports as well as a USB 3.1 port and USB-C port, along with DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, and Gigabit Ethernet.
On the software side of things, Aura Sync gives you a lot of control over the lighting scheme, and ASUS’ Sonic Studio III is a great utility if you regularly stream your gaming sessions. Sonic Radar III has also received tweaks to its audio algorithms, allowing you to boost audio volume to accurately locate enemies in-game.
The board is also certified to be Beyond VR Ready, which is ASUS’ own way of saying that it can handle virtual reality. You’re going to need suitable high-end hardware, of course.

Verdict

The Strix Z270E Gaming offers a lot for its SGD$409 price tag. It isn’t as laden with stuff as the Maximus line, and that comes out to its advantage considering it costs less than ASUS’ high-end boards. If you’re a gamer and are looking to find the ideal compromise between a stellar feature-set and affordability, the Strix Z270E Gaming should be in your crosshairs.

 

Harish Jonnalagadda
http://harishjonnalagadda.com
Harish Jonnalagadda is an avid reader of science-fiction novels. A long-time Arsenal fan, his other interests include gaming, basketball and making music. He also likes tinkering with hardware in his free time.

2 thoughts on “ASUS Strix Z270E Gaming review: A great mid-range motherboard for gaming

  1. Anonymous

    this is not a review

  2. the enemy

    no performance review ??

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