GIGABYTE Z270X-Ultra Gaming Motherboard Review

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GIGABYTE Z270X-Ultra Gaming Motherboard Review. Today we explore a motherboard with a stunning visual layout and original RGB implementation. The Z270X-Ultra Gaming is a feature rich product, considering the price tag.

To name just a few of which…DDR4 up to 3866Mhz, Intel LAN, U.2/SATA Express & M.2 with Intel optane support, RGB, extra PCI-E and DDR slot strength so much more.

On the day of review, the GIGABYTE Z270X-Ultra Gaming Motherboard is retailing with a price tag in the UK of about  £150

GIGABYTE Z270X-Ultra Gaming Motherboard Features

  • Supports 7th/ 6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors
  • Dual Channel Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs
  • Fast USB 3.1 Gen 2 with USB Type-C™ and Type-A
  • 3-Way Graphics Support with Dual Armor and Ultra Durable™ Design
  • Dual NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 Support
  • NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 U.2 Connector
  • Ultra-Fast M.2 with PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA interface
  • Intel® OptaneMemory Ready
  • ALC1220 120dB SNR HD Audio with Smart Headphone Amp
  • Intel® GbE LAN with cFosSpeed Internet Accelerator Software
  • USB DAC-UP 2 with Adjustable Voltage
  • RGB FUSION LED Light Show design
  • Swappable Overlay for Accent LED
  • Smart Fan 5 features Multiple Temperature Sensors and Hybrid Fan Headers
  • Lightning-Fast Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 AIC Support
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™
  • APP Center Including EasyTune™ and Cloud Station™ Utilities
Read Full Specs?
Socket1151
CPU (Max Support)i7
ChipsetIntel® Z270 Chipset
DDR4 Memory3866(OC)- 2133 MHz
Memory ChannelDual
DIMM Slots4
Max Memory (GB)64
PCI-Ex164
PCI-E GenGen3
PCI-Ex12
SATAIII8
M.2 Slot1
U.21
RAID0/1/5/10
TPM (header)1
LAN10/100/1000
USB 3.1 ports (Front)4(Gen1, Type A)
USB 3.1 ports (Rear)1x(Gen2, Type A),

1 (Gen2, Type C),

4(Gen1, Type A)

USB 2.0 ports (Front)4
USB 2.0 ports (Rear)2
Audio ports (Rear)Realtek® ALC1220 Codec
DisplayPort1
HDMI1
DirectX12
Form Factor
ATX
SLIY
CrossFireY

Courtesy of GIGABYTE

 

[nextpage title=”Packaging & Accessories”]

Right off the bat. Your eyes will be drawn to the colored text in the center, which is expected, given what the product is capable of, with its lighting but more on that soon. The box front and back are clear and concise. The backside is dedicated to a brief outline of specs and unique feature set.

At 150GBP we ought not to expect much when it comes to extras, and we don’t see anything unusual here.

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 good

The all-black PCB with matching heatsinks is the smart decision for any RGB product. The subtle tones of gray and the silver on the PCI-E and DDR banks looks great. It is not the cleanest PCB we’ve seen but It still very appealing

The large I/O shroud with the wording “GIGABYTE” has an unusual finish. You really need to get up and close to appreciate. It’s made up with lots of small, and slightly angled edges, this echoed on the neighboring MOSFETs heatsink.

 

The last heatsink over the Intel Z270 chipset, is really unique, sharing similar designs elements, but with a cut away section in the center.

[PCI-E Setup]

3X PCIe 3.0 slots, offer you the option to run the most demanding multi-card setups. The first two slots feature GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ PCIe Armor; this is a common trait we’ve seen on most entry/mid-range products,

Sadly brands tend to only cover 1 or 2 of the slots. While I understand this saves on costing, and most consumers won’t use all three slots anyway, it spoils the symmetry I feel.

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.

  • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
  • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
    * The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot operates at up to x8 mode.
  • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
    * The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX1_2 and PCIEX1_3 slots. When the PCIEX1_2 or PCIEX1_3 slot is populated, the PCIEX4 slot operates at up to x1 mode.
  • 3 x PCI Express x1 slots

[Audio]

The ALC1220 is a high-performance multi-channel High Definition Audio Codec with up to 120dB SNR for crystal clear audio and features such as Smart Headphone Amp, 108dB SNR recording for precise voice chats and hardware decoding of DSD128, ensuring users get the best possible audio quality from their PC.

[Storage Options]

Despite SATA Express being now dead in the water, this product still offers it. A decision I don’t support.

To the right we SATA, and to the left U.2

Rather than limit the amount of SATA ports, GIGABYTE has implemented a further two ports at the base of the board, in a vertical manner

While I’m not normally a fan of vertical SATA ports, the location does render them useful. Being able to add or disconnect a drive for example, without worry about the GPU obstructing you.

[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).

However, with both SATA Express and U.2 present, an extra M.2 socket wasn’t’ viable.

[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

  • – 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • – 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • – 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • – 1 x 6-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • – 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • – 2 x USB 2.0 connectors (support additional 4 USB 2.0 ports)
  • – 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 connectors (support additional 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports)
  • – 1 x 4-pin CPU fan connector
  • – 1 x 4-pin water-pump-fan connector
  • – 4 x 4-pin system fan connectors
  • – 1 x 4-pin RGB LED connector
  • – 1 x 2-pin Slow mode connector
  • – 1 x 2-pin OC retry connector
  • – 1 x TPM module connector
  • – 1 x Front panel audio connector
  • – 2 x System panel connectors
  • – 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector

 

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

[GIGABYTE Z270X-Ultra Gaming RGB/LIGHTING]

Love it or hate it, RGB is here to stay.

While I wasn’t a fan of the first wave, this new lineup is rather impressive. With new lighting spots, effects, support for external strips and better software. The end results are brilliant.

An excellent set of numbers, barely anything between them all!

The Kabylake architecture brings better performance from the same kit of ram; we used on Skylake.

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 actually deliver more?

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