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ASUS PRIME Z270-A Motherboard Review

ASUS PRIME Z270-A Motherboard Review. Its launch time and we carry on our benchmarks of Kabylake, with a closer look at the PRIME Z270-A in the first of many reviews. You may notice the striking resemblance between this and the Z170-A, and there’s a good reason for that. It was praised and well received by the consumer in 2015, why not take what already works and tweak it?

In terms of features, the board is hovering around the entry level for pricing, and therefore the exotic features have been trimmed away. That said it offers what most really need from a system. DDR4 up to 3866 MHz, 5-Way Optimization, Crystal Sound 3, Dual M.2 with Intel Optane support, Super Speed plus USB 3.1, ThunderboltEX Card support, a new audio codec, and a great deal more.

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Packaging & Accessories

A touch of Deja vu for those of us who are familiar, with the Z170-A. The box has seen a mild overhaul to show the new features that Z270 offers.

Taking a look at the bundle now in no particular order, you’ll find the following:

  • I/O Shield
  • 4X SATA Cables
  • User manuals/Quick start
  • CPU Install Tool
  • M.2 screws
  • 3D Printer mount
  • SLI HB bridge
  • Misc. documentation

ASUS PRIME Z270-A Motherboard Review

For the price point, it’s about right.

First Look

We start out tour with a complete top down view, to absorb what’s on offer. As I said in past reviews, I thought Z170 was the turning point from plain and straightforward boards, to something much more appealing to the consumer. The Z170 range as a whole from ASUS was beautifully executed and well designed. The new products from Z270 are even better.

ASUS PRIME Z270-A Motherboard Review

Let’s tackle the elephant in the room, yes it’s basically a lift and reuse design, but I’m ok with that. Because it was then and is now a stunning minimal and practical design. For many, those bold white accents are perfect to match up with some RGB lighting. The high gloss shroud really catches the light.

It’s odd seeing a premium feature on a product that priced at this level. The Z170-A was the go to board for many, and now this will surely take its place.

The Intel Z270 chipset heatsink has had a slight change, with a minimal but intriguing abstract design.

[PCI-E Setup]

ASUS PRIME Z270-A Motherboard Review

Towards the end of Z170 ASUS launched a few products with lighting around the PCI-E slots, which was interesting. But they’ve not included it on the PRIME. Lighting is implemented directly along the board edge, and can be controlled with Software, or directly in the UEFI. It will add a subtle glow but won’t light up your case

ASUS PRIME Z270-A Motherboard Review

You can build up on the onboard lighting, with the 5050 headers, which can be synced to match the lighting on the board.For multi-card users, the product will support both SLI and crossfire. ASUS Safe slot has been implemented on the first two full-length slots, granting more strength and support for heavier cards, for your peace of mind!

  • Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology
  • Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology
  • Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology
  • Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
  • Expansion Slots

    2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (Single at x16, dual at x8/x8

    1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)

    3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1

[Audio]

ASUS PRIME Z270-A Motherboard Review

Audio has been improved on Z270, over previous generations. Now sporting the the S1220A codec, which brings loads of new tech and features.

This CODEC features an unprecedented 113dB SNR linen and 120dB SNR line-out that allows users to stream and record with minimal noise. As well as internal headphone amplify with 2.1Vrms output capability and 600-Ohm high impedance
driving capability.

– Impedance sensing brings you the ability to sense line-out/headphone impedance while installing, and automatically determines the best amplify level for your speaker/ headphone. It’s either “Performance” for 0~50ohm, “Powerful” for 51~109ohm, or “Extreme” for 110ohm
and above. Lower amplify level can protect your low impedance output device from large driving hazard, while high amplify level increase a better driving ability for your high impedance product

[Storage Options]

Remember SATA Express the next big thing? No… Many won’t as it was dead before it hit the ground and it’s sat idle on lots of Z170 products. ASUS have gone for an all SATA approach, avoiding SATA Express. Instead, offering 6x SATA III 6gbps ports, which are all angled for cable neatness.

  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s),
  • Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
  • Intel® Rapid Storage Technology supports
  • Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology

[M.2]

M.2 took some time to filter into the market, and pricing to adjust accordingly. Now being a mainstream product, and the desire to use more was apparent. Intel noted this and now offer the ability to run 2x products on a single product.

PRIME Z270-A features two M.2 slots (M key socket 3) with support for both PCIe 3.0 X4 32Gbps standard and SATA 6Gbps standard, supporting both NVMe and AHCI standard as well as compatibility of full spec supporting on form factors from 2242, 2260, 2280 to 22110

– Bringing you the fastest and the most flexible M.2 interface. PRIME Z270-A adopts two M.2 onboard. M.2_1 in supports form factor 2242 / 2260 / 2280 / 22110 in both PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA mode; while M.2_2 supports 2242 / 2260 / 2280 with PCIe 3.0 x4 mode only.
(M.2_1 shares SATA mode with SATA port 1; M.2_2 shares PCIe x4 bandwidth with SATA port 5,6 )

On PRIME Z270-A the M.2 can be utilized for PCIe RAID purpose and also latest Intel® Optane Technology ready, especially great for those users who like to squeeze out the last juice of storage performance. To use the tech you’ll need a 7th gen Kaby CPU

it will make little no difference to most, but it’s worth noting, that the top slot can take a product up to 2210, while the lower had a max of 2280.

[Fan Locations]

ASUS PRIME Z270-A Motherboard ReviewASUS have

  • 1 & 2. Near DDR4 Banks
  • 3. Above 24 pin
  • 4 & 5. Above PCIe Slots – 1 AIO high amp friendly
  • 6. Bottom right of the board edge

 

[Other ports/ Features]

Along the motherboard base, you’ll find plenty of headers and the actual placement of everything is neat and well thought out.

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

ASUS PRIME Z270-A Motherboard Review

  • USB 3.1 Type A + C
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
  • 5 x Audio jack(s)

Bios Tour

[UEFI BIOS]

The UEFI bios loads to EZ Mode. From here you have a one-page layout, with readouts and access to the common settings. Rather than trawl through one page to next upon the first install, you can perform everyday tasks, such as setting the boot order, check CPU temps and configure fan curves.

ASUS PRIME Z270-A Motherboard Review

[AI Tweaker]

[Advanced]

[Tool]

An array of useful tools, such as the EZ Flash application for bios updates, Secure erase and ASUS SPD. Which presents information from your RAM, useful for manually setting timings.

Q-Fan Control, is a nifty little add-on, that allows the user to tweak or auto tune their fans. Finally, the help section is very robust and efficient

 

This is echoed In Aida, with the better of the scored on both the i5 and i7 setup.

[GAMING]

9
ASUS PRIME Z270-A Motherboard Review
Bottom Line
It's early days for Z270, and logically theirs a great deal more down the line from ASUS. This is a fantastic starting point, any consumer that wants the perfect balance between looks, feature and price need to look no further. The PRIME is the way to go!
Positive
Epic Price
Epic Visuals
Epic product...
Negative
None!

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