Shootouts

Intel Z270 flagship motherboard shootout: Keeping things fresh

By Koh Wanzi - 20 May 2017

Test setup & motherboard features comparison table

Test Setup

This is the test configuration for our Intel Z270 motherboard shootout:

  • Intel Core i7-7700K (4.20GHz, 8MB L3 cache) with Cooler Master MasterAir Maker 8
  • 2 x 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4-3000 at 2,400MHz (Auto timings: CAS 15-15-15-35)
  • Gigabyte Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Xtreme Edition 8G (GeForce Driver Version 378.66)
  • Samsung 850 EVO 256GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

Here’s also a list of our tested boards for easier reference:

  • ASRock Z270 Supercarrier
  • ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula
  • Gigabyte Aorus Z270X Gaming 9
  • MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium

 

All the selected boards are all top-tier models from their respective brands, and they are among the most competitive and feature-rich Intel Z270 motherboards on the market right now. However, we were also constrained by matters of availability at the time of writing, so you'll find that the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula and MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium aren't necessarily the official "flagships" from their respective brands. That said, these two boards still bring plenty to the table, and then some, so they're more than fit to go toe-to-toe with their competitors. Additionally, all of the compared boards line-up well from a price point perspective as they are mostly within the S$700 price bracket, aside from the Gigabyte board.

 

Benchmarks

The list of benchmarks we used is as follows:

  • BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE
  • SPECviewperf 12.1
  • Cinebench R15
  • Futuremark 3DMark (2013)
  • Ashes of the Singularity

We've updated the version of SYSmark we run to the 2014 SE build, which now comes with an additional metric to score responsiveness. We've also replaced the game we usually run, which is Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, with Ashes of the Singularity, a newer title. The latter is more demanding to run and stresses the CPU more. It also comes with a CPU-focused benchmark, so we're better able to assess CPU performance on the different boards.

 

Motherboard features comparison table

Test motherboards compared
  ASRock Z270 SuperCarrier ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula Gigabyte Aorus Z270X Gaming 9 MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium
  ASRock Z270 SuperCarrier ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula Gigabyte Aorus Z270X Gaming 9 MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium
Launch SRP
  • From S$629
  • From S$679
  • From S$855
  • From S$639
Processor Support and Chipset Type
  • 7th and 6th generation Intel Core i7, Core i5, Core i3, Pentium, and Celeron processors
  • Intel Z270 Express Chipset
  • 7th and 6th generation Intel Core i7, Core i5, Core i3, Pentium, and Celeron processors
  • Intel Z270 Express Chipset
  • 7th and 6th generation Intel Core i7, Core i5, Core i3, Pentium, and Celeron processors
  • Intel Z270 Express Chipset
  • 7th and 6th generation Intel Core i7, Core i5, Core i3, Pentium, and Celeron processors
  • Intel Z270 Express Chipset
Memory
  • Up to 64GB DDR4 3,733MHz
  • Up to 64GB DDR4 4,133MHz
  • Up to 64GB DDR4 4,133MHz
  • Up to 64GB DDR4 4,133MHz
Storage
  • 10x SATA 6Gbps ports (6 by Intel Z270 chipset, 4 by ASMedia ASM1061)
  • 2x SATA Express 10Gbps ports
  • 3x M.2 sockets
  • 6x SATA 6Gbps ports
  • 2x M.2 sockets
  • 8x SATA 6Gbps ports (6 by Intel Z270 chipset, 2 by ASMedia ASM1061)
  • 3x SATA Express 10Gbps ports
  • 2x M.2 sockets
  • 2x U.2 connectors
  • 8x SATA 6Gbps ports (6 by Intel Z270 chipset, 2 by ASMedia ASM1061)
  • 3x M.2 sockets
  • 1x U.2 port
Audio
  • Purity Sound 4
  • Realtek ALC1220 audio codec
  • TI® NE5532 headset amplifier for front panel audio connector
  • ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220
  • ESS® ES9023P
  • Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback
  • Creative® Sound Core 3D chip
  • 2x JRC NJM2114 and 1 x TI Burr Brown OPA2134 operational amplifiers
  • Support for Sound Blaster ZxRi
  • Realtek® ALC1220 audio codec
  • -7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
  • -Supports S/PDIF output
Video
  • Supports NVIDIA 4-Way SLI Technology
  • Supports AMD 4-Way CrossFireX Technology
  • Supports NVIDIA 2-Way SLI Technology
  • Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technology
  • Supports NVIDIA 4-Way SLI Technology
  • Supports AMD 4-Way CrossFireX Technology
  • Supports 4-Way AMD® CrossFire Technology
  • Supports 2-Way NVIDIA® SLI Technology
Networking
  • 1x Aquantia ACQ108 5G LAN
  • 1x Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN
  • 1x Intel I211-AT Gigabit LAN
  • Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • 1x Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN
  • Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO support
  • 2x Killer E2500 LAN
  • Killer Wireless-AC 1535
  • 1x Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN
  • 1x Intel I211-AT Gigabit LAN
  • Supports Intel LAN Teaming Technology
Rear I/O
  • 2x Antenna Ports
  • 1x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
  • 1x HDMI Port
  • 1x DisplayPort 1.2
  • 2x Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 (Compatible with USB 3.1 and USB-C Display)*
  • 1x Optical SPDIF Out Port
  • 2x USB 2.0 Ports (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
  • 4x USB 3.0 Ports (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
  • 3x RJ-45 LAN Ports with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
  • 1x Clear CMOS Switch
  • HD Audio Jacks: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone (Gold Audio Jacks)
  • 1x DisplayPort
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
  • 1x USB 3.1 (red)Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 (black)Type-C
  • 4x USB 3.0 (blue)
  • 4x USB 2.0
  • 1x Optical S/PDIF out
  • 5x Audio jacks
  • 1x Clear CMOS button
  • 2x Wi-Fi antenna ports
  • 1x USB BIOS Flashback Button
  • 1x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  • 2x MMCX antenna connectors (2T2R)
  • 1x HDMI port
  • 1x DisplayPort
  • 1x Thunderbolt 3 connector (USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support)
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port (red)
  • 5x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
  • 2x RJ-45 ports
  • 1x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 5x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In/Mic In, Line Out, Headphone)
  • 1x PS/2 keyboard/ mouse combo port
  • 1x Clear CMOS button
  • 3x USB 2.0 Type-A ports
  • 2x LAN (RJ45) ports
  • 4x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports
  • 1x DisplayPort
  • 1x HDMI™ port
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port
  • 5x OFC audio jacks
  • 1x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
Internal Connectors
  • 1x COM Port Header
  • 1x TPM Header
  • 1x Power LED and Speaker Header
  • 1x AURA RGB LED Header
  • 1x CPU Fan Connector (4-pin)
  • 1x CPU Optional/Water Pump Fan Connector (4-pin)***
  • 3x Chassis Optional/Water Pump Fan Connectors (4-pin)****
  • 1x 24 pin ATX Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector)
  • 1x 8 pin 12V Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector)
  • 1x 6 pin 12V Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector)
  • 1x Front Panel Audio Connector (15μ Gold Audio Connector)
  • 1x Right Angle Front Panel Audio Connector
  • 2x USB 2.0 Headers (Support 4 USB 2.0 ports) (Intel® Z270) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
  • 2x USB 3.0 Headers (Support 4 USB 3.0 ports) (ASMedia ASM1074 hub) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
  • 1x Vertical Type A USB 3.0 (Intel® Z270)
  • 1x Dr. Debug with LED
  • 1x Power Switch with LED
  • 1x Reset Switch with LED
  • 1x XMP Switch
  • 2x Aura RGB Strip Headers
  • 1x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)
  • 1x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 2.0 port(s)
  • 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA mode & X4 PCIE mode)
  • 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)
  • 1x TPM connector(s)
  • 6x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
  • 1x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
  • 1x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
  • 3x Chassis Fan connector(s) (3 x 4 -pin)
  • 1x H_AMP fan connector
  • 1x W_PUMP+ connector (1 x 4 -pin)
  • 1x AIO_PUMP connector (1 x 4 -pin)
  • 1x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
  • 1x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
  • 1x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
  • 1x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
  • 1x MemOK! button(s)
  • 1x Slow Mode switch(es)
  • 1x Reset button(s)
  • 1x LN2 Mode jumper(s)
  • 1x ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header(s)
  • 1x Safe Boot button
  • 1x ReTry button
  • 1x EXT_Fan header
  • 1x W_IN header
  • 1x W_OUT header
  • 1x W_FLOW header
  • 1x Thermal sensor connector
  • 1x Start button
  • 1x USB 3.1 front panel connector
  • 1x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1x CPU fan header
  • 1x water cooling CPU fan header
  • 4x system fan headers
  • 2x system fan/water cooling pump headers
  • 1x I/O shield audio LED power connector
  • 2x RGB (RGBW) LED strip extension cable headers
  • 3x SATA Express connectors
  • 8x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 2x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
  • 2x U.2 connectors
  • 1x front panel header
  • 1x front panel audio header
  • 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 headers
  • 2x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
  • 1x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connector
  • 1x Clear CMOS jumper
  • 2x temperature sensor headers
  • 1x power button
  • 1x reset button
  • 1x Clear CMOS button
  • 1x ECO button
  • 1x OC button
  • 2x audio gain control switches
  • 2x BIOS switches
  • Voltage measurement points
  • 1x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1x 6-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 8x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 2x USB 2.0 connectors (support additional 4 USB 2.0 ports)
  • 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 connectors (support additional 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports)
  • 1x 4-pin CPU fan connector
  • 1x 4-pin water-pump-fan connector
  • 4x 4-pin system fan connectors
  • 1x 4-pin RGB LED connector
  • 1x 2-pin Slow mode connector
  • 1x 2-pin OC retry connector
  • 1x TPM module connector
  • 1x Front panel audio connector
  • 2x System panel connectors
  • 1x Chassis Intrusion connector
Expansion Slots
  • 4x PCIe 3.0 x16
  • 1x PCIe 3.0 x1
  • 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8, gray)
  • 1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black)
  • 3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1
  • 4x PCIe 3.0 x16
  • 2x PCIe 3.0 x1
  • 4x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (support x16/x0/x0/x4, x8/x0/x8/x4, x8/x4/x4/x4 modes)
  • 2x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
Other Features
  • ASRock Super Alloy
  • - XXL Aluminum Alloy Heatsink
  • - Premium 60A Power Choke
  • - Premium Memory Alloy Choke (Reduces 70% core loss compared to iron powder choke)
  • - Dual-Stack MOSFET (DSM)
  • - Combo Caps (Nichicon 12K Black Caps)
  • - Nichicon 12K Black Caps (100% Japan made high quality conductive polymer capacitors)
  • - I/O Armor
  • - Matte Black PCB
  • - High Density Glass Fabric PCB
  • ASRock Steel Slots
  • ASRock Ultra M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3)
  • ASRock Ultra USB Power
  • ASRock Full Spike Protection
  • ASRock Live Update & APP Shop
  • CrossChill EK II
  • ROG Armor (including top cover and SECC steel backplate)
  • Clear CMOS button
  • ROG RAMCache II
  • ROG CloneDrive
  • Pre-mounted I/O Shield
  • MemOK! Button
  • ReTry Button
  • Safe Boot Button
  • Start Button
  • Reset Button
  • LN2 Mode
  • GameFirst IV
  • ROG Aura
  • - Aura Lighting Control
  • - Aura RGB Strip Headers
  • Extreme Engine Digi+ :
  • - MicroFine Alloy Chokes
  • - NexFET™ Power Block MOSFET
  • - 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
  • KeyBot II
  • - X.M.P.
  • - ClrCMOS
  • - Power On
  • UEFI BIOS features :
  • - O.C. Profile
  • - Tweakers' Paradise
  • - ROG SSD Secure Erase
  • - Graphic Card Information Preview
  • ROG RAMDisk
  • Extreme Tweaker
  • BIOS Flashback
  • Support for APP Center
  • -3D OSD
  • -@BIOS
  • -AutoGreen
  • -BIOS Setup
  • -Color Temperature
  • -Cloud Station
  • -EasyTune
  • -Easy RAID
  • -Fast Boot
  • -Game Boost
  • -GIGABYTE HW OC APP
  • -ON/OFF Charge
  • -Platform Power Management
  • -RGB Fusion
  • -Smart Backup
  • -Smart Keyboard
  • -Smart TimeLock
  • -System Information Viewer
  • -USB Blocker
  • -USB DAC-UP 2
  • -V-Tuner
  • Support for 3TB+ Unlock
  • Support for Q-Flash
  • Support for Xpress Install
  • OC Dashboard
  • USB Xpander
  • Mystic Light Sync
  • Triple Turbo M.2
  • Steel Armor
  • M.2 Shield
  • Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 2
  • BIOS Flashback+
  • EZ Debug LED
  • Click BIOS 5
Form Factor
  • ATX
  • ATX
  • ATX
  • ATX

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