Intel Z270 flagship motherboard shootout: Keeping things fresh

By Koh Wanzi - 20 May 2017

Temperature, power consumption & overclocking

Temperature, power consumption & overclocking



We measured the temperatures of the VRM and PCH heatsinks after running 40 loops of the 3DMark Fire Strike Stress Test. 

The ASRock board ran particularly hot, with the VRM temperatures exceeding the figures posted by the ASUS and GIgabyte motherboards by quite a bit. That said, the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula ran particular cool overall, a nice credit to the board's heatsink design.


Power consumption

To test power, we ran the energy-01 viewset in SPECviewperf 12.1 and recorded the peak power consumption. Idle power consumption was recorded after the system had idled at desktop for a while.

The additional components on the ASRock and Gigabyte motherboards, more specifically the PLX PEX8747 chip likely contributed to their higher idle and peak power consumption. The Gigabyte board also had the highest idle power consumption, at around 30 watts more than both the ASUS and MSI models, and that can probably be attributed to it having crammed the most components on board as well. 



In order to assess the respective overclocking performance of the boards, we first tweaked the CPU multiplier ratio and raised the voltage accordingly. After ascertaining that the achieved clock speed was stable, we then proceeded to increase the BCLK value to get smaller overclock increments.

The table below shows the clock speeds we achieved, along with the CPU vCore, multiplier, and RAM frequencies. We've also included the respective BIOS versions of the boards for those who are keen to know such details.

Overclocking Results
Model BIOS version Maximum CPU Core Ratio Achieved BCLK (MHz) Vcore (V) RAM frequencies (MHz) Maximum Overclock Achieved (GHz)
ASRock Z270 Supercarrier 1.2 45 112 1.38 2,464 5.04
ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula 0906 45 112.5 1.38 2,475 5.063
Gigabyte Aorus Z270X Gaming 9 F3 45 112 1.38 2,464 5.04
MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium 1.1 45 112.5 1.38 2,475 5.063

As top-end boards for their respective brands, we expected strong overclocking headroom from everyone, and they did not disappoint. However, the ASUS and MSI boards managed to achieve marginally higher clock speeds. It's a good thing they did too, given their particular emphases on overclocking.

The latter two boards also provided the most intuitive overclocking experience in BIOS, because all the necessary controls were conveniently located in the same menu. On the other hand, ASRock's and Gigabyte's BIOS interfaces placed the CPU, DRAM, and voltage settings in different menus, which means you'll have to jump frequently between them. 

The Gigabyte board also required us to play with the CPU vCore LLC settings as well (we went with Extreme in the end), to achieve a comparable overclock to the other boards. If LLC is left at default, the board under-performed considerably, with the system crashing before we even hit 5.0GHz.

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