GIGABYTE AORUS GA-Z270X-Gaming 9 Motherboard Review

GIGABYTE AORUS GA-Z270X-Gaming 9 Motherboard Review

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GIGABYTE AORUS GA-Z270X-Gaming 9 Motherboard Review. Today we examine what looks to be most insane and feature packed Intel Z270 motherboard, that is available on the market!

To name just a few features…DDR4 up to 4000mhz, Dual U.2, multi M.2 with Intel optane support, RGB, four way Sli/Xfire, extra PCI-E and DDR slot strength, USB DAC with voltage control, & so much more.

On the day of review, the GIGABYTE Z270X-Ultra Gaming Motherboard is retailing with a price tag, of about  £499

[GIGABYTE AORUS GA-Z270X-Gaming 9 Motherboard Features]

  • Supports 7th/ 6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors
  • Dual Channel Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs, DDR4 4133+(OC)
  • Intel® USB 3.1 Gen 2 with USB Type-C™ and Type-A
  • 4-Way Graphics Support with Dual Armor and Ultra Durable™ Design
  • EKWB G-Frost Hybrid Water Block
  • Triple NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 Support
  • Dual NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 U.2 Connectors
  • Dual Ultra-Fast M.2 with PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA interface
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • Creative Sound Blaster certified ZxRi 120dB+ Audio
  • Killer DoubleShot-X3™ Pro for the best networking experience possible
  • USB DAC-UP 2 with Adjustable Voltage
  • RGB FUSION with Multi-Zone LED Light Show design
  • Swappable Overlay for Accent LED
  • Smart Fan 5 features Multiple Temperature Sensors and Hybrid Fan Headers
  • 2 External Thermistors Headers with 2 Included Thermistors
  • Extreme 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt™ 3
  • Integrated HDMI 2.0 Support
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™ with Q-Flash Plus USB Port
  • APP Center Including EasyTune™ and Cloud Station™ Utilities

Courtesy of GIGABYTE

[nextpage title=”Packaging & Accessories”]

Premium products deserve something extra, when it comes to the packaging, and GIGABYTE isn’t taking any chances letting you down. The Box is huge! from the front side, we have nothing more than an AUROS logo, and on the bottom right, they list the critical assets. The front is actually a flap, which can be opened to reveal the motherboard behind it.

Despite having a lot of features to list, they’ve done a decent job of keeping the info to a minimum, and easy to digest. The exterior box slides off to reveal an additional box, containing the board and the bundle.

At 499 GBP we expect more than the norm, and boy do we receive it!

  • I/O Shield with Lighting
  • SATA Cables
  • User manuals/Quick start
  • Many SLI / Crossfire bridges
    • One GC-SLI23P SLI bridge connector
    • One 3-Way SLI bridge connector
    • One 4-Way SLI bridge connector
    • One 2-Way CrossFire bridge connector
  • Two RGB (RGBW) LED strip extension cables
  • One Accent Lighting LED Strip
  • Two thermistor cables
  • G Connectors
  • Wi-Fi antennas
  • Door hanger
  • Sticker Kits
  • Cable Labeling Kit
  • Cable tidy (velcro)
  • I/O dust covers

Up next a closer look at the board.

[nextpage title=”First Look”]

We start our tour with a complete top down view, to absorb what’s on offer. Initial impressions are difficult to describe, I’ve found myself using the expression Nerdgasm on other products, when reviewing their flagship board recently. This was a similar experience, but amplified by over 9000. Yes indeed…  nothing short of amazing. The black and white combo, as on other GIGABYTE boards is the perfect canvas for RGB enabled products.

Your eyes are naturally drawn to the elongated I/O shroud, which runs down the entire left side of the PCB, and over the audio lane. Sitting underneath the largest section is the EKWB chipset block, and is yearning to be used in conjunction with your custom watercooling solutions.

From every angle you look at the board, your eyes are rewarded with stunning lines and angles.

Considering the price point of the board, the waterblock is responsible for a good chunk of the asking price, but having it pre-fitted is a welcome decision. Avoiding the need to order one separately, and fitting it manually. I do appreciate the decision to keep it all black, as it blends seamlessly into the motherboard.

The Z270 heatsink is much bigger than what we see on other boards, but with an E-ATX platform to play with, why not! Again we find lots of subtle but smart design elements, slanted lines, and a mix of finishes. It looks fantastic!

[PCI-E Setup]

4X PCIe 3.0 slots, offer a no comprise solution for the most demanding multi-card setups. All of which feature GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ PCIe Armor, something not seen on most entry/mid-range products,

The PLX chip allows both Nvidia SLI and AMD Xfire, and is designed for some serious scores in benchmarks and FPS in games.

Regardless, The Ultra Durable™ PCIe Armor is a welcome addition. Cards have become larger, and heavier over the last few years, and having the additional strength is appreciated.

  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2)
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1, PCIEX8_2)
    * The PCIEX8_1 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16_1 slot and the PCIEX8_2 slot with PCIEX16_2. The PCIEX16_1/PCIEX16_2 slot operates at up to x8 mode when the PCIEX8_1/PCIEX8_2 is populated.
    (All of the PCI Express x16 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
  • 2 x PCI Express x1 slots
  • Support for NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ and 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ technologies
  • Support for AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ and 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire™ technologies

[Audio]

  • Onboard Discrete Card Level Audio Design
  • Creative Sound Blaster Certified
  • ZxRi 120dB+ Audio

The Z270X-Gaming 9 boasts a combination of Hi-Fi grade WIMA capacitors and Nichicon audio grade Fine Gold capacitors. While the Nichicon Fine Gold capacitors are suited for high-grade audio equipment, using state of the art technology to provide rich sound in the bass and clearer high frequencies, the WIMA FKP2 capacitors are being used widely in premium grade Hi-Fi systems. The addition of this to the exclusive AORUS AMP-UP Audio technology makes for the ideal onboard sound solution for the most demanding audiophiles.

AORUS offers true sound customization with its triple upgradable OP-AMP solution. To ensure users receive the best sound profile matching their needs and experience the most enjoyable audio, AORUS has included an OP-AMP for both left and right channels on the rear I/O as well as a dedicated OP-AMP for the front audio jack.

AORUS improves upon USB DAC-UP technologies with USB DAC-UP 2.
USB DAC-UP 2 continues to provide clean, isolated and low-noise power while adding the ability to compensate for voltage drop.
Virtual reality pioneers and gamers alike can rest assured that their expensive accessories and peripherals will not encounter connectivity or power deficiency issues with the AORUS USB DAC-UP 2. With Gaming Gear drawing large amounts of power and having firm specification requirements USB DAC-UP 2 is up for the challenge.

 

[Storage Options]

Despite SATA express being a dead in the water tech (maybe?), this product still offers it. A decision I don’t understand and support.

  • 2 x SATA Express connectors
  • 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors

The additional SATA ports are driven via an ASMedia® ASM1061 chip

[M.2 / U.2]

M.2 is now the go-to choice for most, and Z270 allows for some interesting options. Namely, additional M.2 ports and the new Intel optane tech. (which requires a 7th gen CPU).

Some brands have added as many as three slots, and while that would be nice to see, the two here is ample and allowed GIGABYTE to offer dual U2 alongside it!

  • 1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe x4/x2 SSD support) (M2M_32G)
  • 1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA and PCIe x4/x2 SSD support) (M2P_32G)

 

  • 2 x U.2 connector
  •  Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology for Intel Core™ processors

 

[Fan Locations/Headers]

The GIGABYTE Z270X-Ultra Gaming has a plethora of headers and options for both air and watercoolers.

 

We also find many additional headers too:

  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 1 x water cooling CPU fan header
  • 4 x system fan headers
  • 2 x system fan/water cooling pump headers
  • 1 x I/O Shield audio LED power connector
  • 2 x RGB (RGBW) LED strip extension cable headers
  • 3 x SATA Express connectors
  • 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 2 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
  • 2 x U.2 connectors
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 headers
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
  • 1 x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connector
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  • 2 x temperature sensor headers
  • 1 x power button
  • 1 x Reset button
  • 1 x Clear CMOS button
  • 1 x ECO button
  • 1 x OC button
  • 2 x audio gain control switches
  • 2 x BIOS switches
  • Voltage Measurement Points

Finishing up our tour of the board, looking at the I/O, which consists of:

  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  • 2 x MMCX antenna connectors (2T2R)
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x Thunderbolt™ 3 connector (USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support)
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port (red)
  • 5 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
  • 2 x RJ-45 ports
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In/Mic In, Line Out, Headphone)

[GIGABYTE Z270X-Ultra Gaming RGB/LIGHTING]

Love it or hate it, RGB is here to stay. GIGABYTE has added its RGB FUSION system, which is more than most offer! We have multiple points of lighting, easy control, support for RGBW strips, calibration. Mobile App support and so much more

As I’ve said in the past, the first batch of RGB product did not appeal to me. In 2017, and on Z270 this has been tweaked and improved massively.

With new lighting spots, effects, support for external strips and better software. The end results are brilliant.

A great set of numbers, barely anything between them all! but the AUROS sneaks ahead

The Kabylake architecture brings better performance from the exact same kit of ram, we used on Skylake. The best scores we’ve seen in Aida64

This is echoed again in Performance Test 8

[GAMING]

Armed with a Nvidia GTX 1080, how do the Z270/kaby processors affect FPS? Does the entry/mid/High-end board really deliver more?

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