ASUS ROG STRIX Z270F GAMING Motherboard Review
- ASUS ROG STRIX Z270F GAMING Motherboard Features
- First Look
- [UEFI BIOS]
- [7700K Overclocking]
- [Testing Method]
- ASUS ROG STRIX Z270F GAMING Motherboard Review – Conclusion – TL:DR
ASUS ROG STRIX Z270F GAMING Motherboard Review. We recently took a look at the ROG STRIX Z270E GAMING, and today we examine the Z270F. Visually they look identical at first glance, so what is the difference?
The short answer is not much; the F lacks WI-FI/Bluetooth support, has no USB 3.1 front panel connector port, and finally, a few thermal/sensing headers have been omitted.
Regarding features it’s nearly identical to the E, we have support for DDR4 up to 3888 MHz, dual M.2 slots with Intel optane support, AURA Sync, The new S1220A audio codec, LanGaurd, 3D printer friendly design and so much more. As always it’s backed with an extensive software suite with a mass of useful tools, to further enhance its performance and usability compared to the competition.
The new naming scheme has confused some of our readers, and based on feedback from our Z270E review; I thought it would be helpful to drop a little bit of info that should help. The last letter of each is an iteration that corresponds to prior models from Z170. For example, the F indicates Formula, H indicates Hero and so on
ASUS ROG STRIX Z270F GAMING Motherboard Features
|CPU||Intel® Socket 1151 for 7th/6th Generation Core™ i7/Core™ i5/Core™ i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors|
|Supports Intel® 14 nm CPU|
|Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0|
|* The Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 support depends on the CPU types.|
|* Refer to www.asus.com for CPU support list|
|Memory||4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 3866(O.C.) – /2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory|
|Dual Channel Memory Architecture|
|Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)|
|Graphic||Integrated Graphics Processor- Intel® HD Graphics support|
|Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DVI-D/DisplayPort 1.2 ports|
|– Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz|
|– Supports DVI-D with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz|
|– Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz *1|
|Maximum shared memory of 1024 MB|
|Supports Intel® InTru™ 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider™|
|Supports up to 3 displays simultaneously|
|Multi-GPU Support||Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology|
|Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology|
|Expansion Slots||2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)|
|1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)|
|4 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1|
|Storage||Intel® Z270 Chipset :|
|1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (both SATA & PCIE mode)*2|
|1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (x4 PCIE mode)*3|
|6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)|
|Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10|
|Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology*4|
|Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready *5|
|ROG GameFirst Technology|
|Audio||ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A|
|– Dual Headphone Amplifiers|
|– Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs|
|– Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking|
|– High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input|
|– SupremeFX Shielding Technology|
|– Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback *6|
|Audio Feature :||– SupremeFX Shielding™ Technology|
|– Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel|
|– Dedicated audio PCB layers: Separate layers for left and right channels to guard the quality of the sensitive audio signals|
|– Premium Japanese-made audio capacitors: Provide warm, natural and immersive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity|
|– Sonic Radar III|
|– Sonic Studio III|
|USB Ports||Intel® Z270 Chipset :|
|6 x USB 3.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)|
|Intel® Z270 Chipset :|
|6 x USB 2.0 port(s)|
|ASMedia® USB 3.1 controller :|
|2 x USB 3.1 port(s) (Type-A + Type-C, Support 3A power output)|
Courtesy of ASUS
We start our 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 simple boards, to something much more appealing to the consumer. The Z170 range as a whole from ASUS was beautifully executed and well designed.
Even now, some months after the initial Z270, this ranks as one of the best boards on the market, based on visuals alone. The ROG/STRIX products have always been stellar, and this is no exception. The blend of black, silvers, grays and unique finishes, are just stunning
The heatsink and shrouding make a serious impression. The tones and effects are heavily based on the light source, particularly the brushed heatsink, which really comes to life when the RGB element is activated. The heatsink taming the MOSFETs is overkill, but we like it.. a lot!
Likewise, the Z270 chipset heatsink, is just mesmerizing, with a mix of materials, lines, and unique small elements. They’ve broken the mold, and its art like appearance is what makes this product so very different to the rest
ASUS Safe slot has been implemented on the first two slots, granting more strength and support for heavier cards. Which is a must these days, for your peace of mind! You’re good to go for both AMD Crossfire, or Nvidia SLI here.
- 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 has been improved on the STRIX Z270, over previous generations. Now sporting the S1220A codec, which brings loads of new tech and features. As usual ASUS back their hardware with optimized and productive software, such as Sonic Radar and Sonic studio to unleash its potential and maximize usability. ASUS have a track record of delivering stellar audio, and it’s very much the case here on the Z270F
The F, has the same storage array as the E, with no U.2 or SATA EXPRESS to be found. Instead, we have 6x right angled SATA ports, for simplicity.
- 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 / U.2]
M.2 tends to be the first choice for most builders now, the benefits are obvious, and we’re not just talking about the speed gains over SATA. Less cable clutter, and more space, render them perfect for any sized rig
Intel noted this and now offer the ability to run 2x M.2 products on a single board, and this is further enhanced with Intel optane tech. Which you can read about
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (both SATA & PCIE mode)*1
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/ storage devices support (both SATA & PCIE mode)*1
ASUS have always provided more than most. Some of which are optimized for a water pump, a clever feature to ensure the right amount of power is being delivered. The ASUS STRIX Z270F is no different with a total of 6 headers for system or CPU fans
1 & 2. Near DDR4 Banks
3. Above 24 pin POWER
4 & 5. Above PCIe Slots (AIO high amp friendly)
6. Bottom right of board
[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. Aside from a few minor emissions, it’s the same as the E model. We lose the USB 3.1 internal header
Finishing up our tour of the board, looking at the I/O which consists of:
- USB 3.1 Type A + C
- 1 x DVI
- 1 x Display Port
- 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)
2016 was the year of RGB. Like any trend, It’s very much a love-hate element, but I must applaud the efforts from ASUS, unlike other brands they been very careful and smart. Lots of thought with how and where they implemented the actual lighting. With Some brands, its crystal clear they’ve added lighting to their products just for the sake of having it.
It’s been done right here and on the many other RGB enabled products, dubbed as AURA we now even had certified cases and such to couple up, and to create a spectacular system. Slightly timid regarding how much lighting. Some users may have preferred more, for me its just right
That beautiful heatsink system is unleashed with the new and enhanced software here, and clever feature of AURA is the ability to sync. Meaning you can control your motherboard, GPU, keyboard and mouse all in one single app. ASUS has expanded the effects and overall it’s much nice application to work with. On this particular board, the lighting is nothing short of brilliant, offering a mesmerizing light show, with tons of control to suit your needs.
ASUS has expanded the effects and overall it’s much nicer application to work with. On this particular board, the lighting is nothing short of brilliant, offering a mesmerizing light show, with tons of control to suit your needs.
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 common tasks, such as setting the boot order, check CPU temps and configure fan curves.
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
Proudly Powered by our Dimastech Mini V1.0 Test Bench
|Intel® 7700K (Kabylake)|
|Memory:||16GB Kingston Kingston Predator 16GB DDR4 PC4-24000C15 3200MHz Quad Channel Kit|
|Video Card:||AMD/ XFX 390|
|PSU:||Bitfenix Fury 750G|
|Hard Drives:||SSD – Kingston HyperX 3k240GB |
M.2 -Kingston M.2 HyperX 240GB
|OS:||Windows 10 X64|
We covered the i7 7770K and other Kabylake products in a much more detailed review, here we’ll be looking at more than the new CPUs from Intel.
We tested using the i7 7700K, which has a mild boost in clock speed over the skylake 6700k and features the new Intel 630 iGPU
Overclocking is a breeze with Intel products, for the last few years, it becomes a user-friendly experience. With that in mind, we had no issue hitting 5000Mhz on our test CPU. The BIOS used for testing was 701, I know that on prior version when we tested the E models, running particular RAM modules above 3200+ was a little tricky. It’s since been addressed, so updating to the latest should be your top priority, if you’re planning on use high-frequency DDR4 in your build.
The beauty with the ASUS products, is the ability to tweak, you’ll find settings not seen elsewhere in the UEFI. It’s the best on the market, hands down
Our test method uses a large variety of software to determine the results and product award. For your viewing, these are broken down into the following categories
- General System
- CPU & Memory
- Storage & USB
- Audio &Networking
We start with a broader view of general system performance and then break it down, as we delve deeper with sub testing, where we can examine key areas.
-[PC Mark 8]
PCMark 8 from Futuremark. PCMark 8 is designed to test the performance of all types of PC, from tablets to desktops. With five separate benchmark tests plus battery life testing, PCMark 8 helps you find the devices that offer the perfect combination of efficiency and performance. It’s the complete PC benchmark for home and business.
The first test we run is PCMark 8, as we’re also able to gauge an all-around score. This test is heavily affected by all internal components rather than focusing on just one.
Given that both products are almost the same, performance was exactly that.
-[Performance Test 8]
Passmark PerformanceTest is an award winning PC hardware benchmark utility that allows everybody to quickly assess the performance of their computer and compare it to a number of standard ‘baseline’ computer systems. Find out if your PC is performing at its best, compare the performance of your machine to similar machines and make objective independent measurements on which to base your purchasing decision.
It’s worth noting our testing, was concluded with a more mature BIOS, we highly suspect the gains, that place the F above the E, are tied directly to this
Despite benching with the exact same kit of RAM, results on Z270 are better., as referenced earlier, We think the updated BIOS is the reasoning for a higher score.
Armed with a Nvidia GTX 1080, how does the new kaby processors affect FPS?
As expected, the board sits above mid tiered products.
Each new generation of chipset bring improvements, refinements and in turn more speed. Granted it is not much but it’s still an increase
We don’t have any USB 3.1 (Gen2 ) devices at the time of testing, so will be focusing on 3.0/3.1 only. Be sure to understand the actual difference between USB 3.0/3.1 Gen 1 & Gen 2. As it’s something that not all brands have explained clearly.To measure speeds we use AS-SSD, with an SSD inside a USB 3.0 Caddy from Startech
The Kingston SSD has a theoretical limit of 499MB/s Write, when hooked up internally to an SATA 6GB/s port. Overheads and such we accept that some degradation occurs when used over USB 3.0/3.1
As expected the controllers have matured over time but differences in terms of speed between models, are minimal.
Using the in built network test for Performance test 8. The method is to install the software on two machines, that are on the same network. One acts as a client and the other as a server, a designated amount of data is sent across and then the min, Avg, and max transfer speeds are outputted.
ASUS uses Intel LAN solution, which has in the past and continues to deliver the best all round results. Compared the popular Killer LAN seen on most other boards.
We use RightMark Audio Analyzer, connecting “Line out” to “Line in” with a 3.5mm cable.
|Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB|| |
|Noise level, dB (A)|| |
|Dynamic range, dB (A)|| |
|THD, %|| |
|THD + Noise, dB (A)|| |
|IMD + Noise, %|| |
|Stereo crosstalk, dB|| |
|IMD at 10 kHz, %|| |
|General performance|| |
The Audio quality, as you would expect from ASUS, was fantastic! The new codec delivers great performance, Gaming board sure, but audio quality is way above what you’ll find elsewhere!
ASUS ROG STRIX Z270F GAMING Motherboard Review – Conclusion – TL:DR
So then conclusion time, and I honestly have to say these last few ASUS products, have set a new baseline. From visuals to performance, they’ve nailed it in every aspect, and the competition ought to worry! The naming scheme has caused some confusion, abbreviating the original product names, and shelving a new lineup under the STRIX branding, was an interesting move. On the one hand, it unifies them and should have been it easier for the consumer, to work our what offer this or that.. and on the other hand… well, it didn’t work
That aside I’ve nothing but praise, and I don’t want to echo what I’ve already said so many times in the review already, so we’ll just be concise and say it’s a beautiful board, with room for no changes or improvements.
Lighting will divide opinion, because as is, out the box it’s somewhat basic compared to the other versions we’ve seen from ASUS. Alone it does an OK job of adding some eye candy, what’s been overlooked is the RGB headers and AURA SYNC. You need to make use of both, to really unleash the potential her. , The costing of an RGB strip is tiny, Once coupled up with the board and ideally also with matching ASUS products, the ASUS ROG STRIX Z270F GAMING really shines
Performance again I could ramble at the length but in a nutshell…Brilliant. One start to finish not a single weak area to mention. Overclocking was solid and consistent, with minimal effort but with ROG D.N.A you could and should spend a lot of time in the BIOS refining and maximizing what your kit can do. As said countless times, and I’ll say it again. The ASUS UEFI BIOSes are hands down, the best on the market
Thanks to ASUS for sending out the sample for this review.