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ASUS Prime Z270-A Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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The Prime Z270-A motherboard is one of ASUS' initial offering integrating the Intel Z270 chipset. The board features ASUS' Channel line aesthetics with a black PCB and white plastic accents. The board's integrated Intel Z270 chipset integrates support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Kaby Lake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. Offered at a price-competitive MSRP of $164, the Prime Z270-A offers a compelling price point with respect to its integrated features and performance potential.

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ASUS does not cut corners on any of their boards with the Prime Z270 sharing similar power component circuitry as its higher tiered siblings, featuring a 10-phase digital power delivery system. ASUS integrated the following features into the Prime Z270-A board: six SATA 3 ports; two M.2 PCIe x4 capable ports; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; four PCI-Express x1 slots; on-board power and MemOK! buttons; an EZ XMP switch; Crystal Sound 3 audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI video ports; and USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

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ASUS enhanced several design aspects with the Prime Z270-A including integrated RGB support, mount points for custom 3D printed panels along the top right of the board, and metal reinforced PCIe x16 slots for the primary and secondary slots.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Prime Z270-A motherboard!

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ASUS integrated the latest version of their consumer-grade sound technology into the Prime Z270-A motherboard, dubbed Crystal Sound 3. Crystal Sound 3 integrates the audio components on a isolated PCB from the other main board components minimizing noise generation caused by those other integrated devices. ASUS designed the audio subsystem with high-quality Japanese-sourced audio and power circuitry, a power pre-regulator for reducing power noise and increase consistency, and a de-pop relay.

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For board aesthetic configurability, ASUS integrated RGB LEDs into the audio PCB separator line. These LEDs can be configured to display any color desired as well as operating in one of ten modes: Static, Breathing, Strobing, Rainbow, Color Cycle, Comet, Flash & Dash, Wave, Glowing Yo Yo, Starry Night, Music Effect, and CPU temperature. LED operation, as well as that of RGB cables connected to the on board RGB 12V headers, can be easily configured using the LED settings located on the Onboard Device Configuration page under the Advanced tab in the UEFI or via the Windows-based AURA control applet.

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Dubbed as Fan Xpert 4, ASUS included a variety of fan headers and temperature sensors on the Z270-A motherboard. They integrated temperature sensors into the CPU socket, VRMs, and chipset. Additionally, there are monitored fan headers spread throughout the board's surface with a single fan header supporting high draw fans of up to 3A (36W).

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The Prime Z270-A's rear panel was enhanced with an integrated plastic cover plate and all the ports you've come to expect in an ASUS channel board, including USB 3.0 and 3.1 ports, a variety of video ports, and RJ-45 GigE port, and both digital and analogue audio ports.

Technical Specifications (taken from the ASUS website)

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

Chipset Intel® Z270
Memory 4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 3866(O.C.) / 3733(O.C.) / 3600(O.C.) / 3466(O.C.) / 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

** Refer to www.asus.com for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).
* The maximum memory frequency supported varies by processor.

Graphic Integrated Graphics Processor- Intel® HD Graphics support
Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DVI-D/DisplayPort ports
- Supports HDMI 1.4b with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
- Supports DVI-D with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
- Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz
Maximum shared memory of 1024 MB
Supports up to 3 displays simultaneously
DP 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport compliant, supports DP 1.2 monitor daisy chain up to 3 displays
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 1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA mode & X4 PCIE mode) *1
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only) *2
6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), gray
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Intel® Rapid Storage Technology 15 support
Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology *3
Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready *4

*1. The M.2_1 socket shares SATA_1 port when use M.2 SATA mode device. Adjust BIOS settings to use a SATA device.
*2. The M.2_2 socket shares SATA_56 ports when use M.2 PCIE mode device in X4 mode. Adjust BIOS settings to use M.2 PCIE devices in X4 mode.
*3. These functions will work depending on the CPU installed.
*4.Intel® Optane Technology is only supported when using 7th Generation Intel® processors. Before using Intel® Optane memory modules, ensure that you have updated your motherboard drivers and BIOS to the latest version from ASUS support website.

LAN Intel® I219V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
ASUS Turbo LAN Utility
ASUS LAN Guard
Audio Realtek® ALC S1220A 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC featuring Crystal Sound 3
- Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
- Internal audio Amplifier to enhance the highest quality sound for headphone and speakers
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel MIC Jack-retasking
- High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input (Line-in)
- Front panel audio connector (AAFP)
- Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback *5
*5. Due to limitations in HDA bandwidth, 32-Bit/192kHz is not supported for 8-Channel audio. 32-Bit/192kHz is only available under Windows® 10.

Audio Feature :
- DTS Connect
- DTS Headphone:X
- Audio Shielding: Ensures precision analog/digital separation and greatly reduced multi-lateral interference
- 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
- Unique de-pop circuit: Reduces start-up popping noise to audio outputs
- EMI protection cover to prevent electrical noise to affect the amplifier quality
- Power pre-regulator: Reduces power input noise to ensure consistent performance
Separate layer for left and right track, ensuring both sound deliver equal quality

USB Ports ASMedia® USB 3.1 controller :
1 x USB 3.1 port(s) (1 at back panel, teal blue, Type-A, Support 3A power output)
1 x USB 3.1 port(s) (1 at back panel, Type-C, Support 3A power output)

Intel® Z270 Chipset :
6 x USB 3.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, 2 at mid-board)
6 x USB 2.0 port(s) (6 at mid-board)

Special Features OC Design - ASUS PRO Clock Technology
- Full BCLK range for extreme overclocking performance
5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
- Whole system optimization with a single click! 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ Power Control, Fan Xpert 4, and Turbo App together, providing better CPU performance, efficient power saving, precise digital power control, whole system cooling and even tailor your own app usages.
ASUS 5X Protection III :
- ASUS SafeSlot Core: Fortified PCIe Slot prevents damage
- ASUS LANGuard: Protects against LAN surges, lightning strikes and static-electricity discharges!
- ASUS Overvoltage Protection: World-class circuit-protecting power design
- ASUS Stainless-Steel Back I/O: 3X corrosion-resistance for greater durability!
- ASUS DIGI+ VRM: 8 Phase digital power design
ASUS TPU :
- Auto Tuning
- GPU Boost
ASUS EPU :
- EPU
AURA :
- Aura Lighting Control
- Aura RGB Strip Headers
- Aura Lighting Effects Synchronization with compatible ASUS ROG devices
ASUS Exclusive Features :
- MemOK!
- AI Suite 3
- Ai Charger
- Turbo LAN
- Crystal Sound 3
- EZ XMP ASUS Exclusive Features
- PC Cleaner
File Transfer
- Cloud GO!
- File Transfer
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :
- Stylish Fanless Design Heat-sink solution
- ASUS Fan Xpert 4
ASUS EZ DIY :
- Precision Tweaker 2
- ASUS O.C. Tuner
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 3
- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode
- Multi-language BIOS
CPU Installation Tool
- Three-step simplicity and safety
ASUS Q-Design :
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-DIMM
- ASUS Q-Connector
Special Memory O.C. Design
Overclocking Protection :
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Turbo APP
Back I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
1 x DVI-D
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
4 x USB 3.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jack(s)
Internal I/O Ports 1 x Aura RGB Strip Header
1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)
3 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 6 USB 2.0 port(s)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA mode & X4 PCIE mode)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
2 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (2 x 4 -pin)
1 x Thunderbolt header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x EZ XMP switch
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector) (Chassis intrusion header is inbuilt)
1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector
1 x MemOK! button(s)
1 x CPU OV
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
1 x 14-1 pin TPM connector
1 x COM port header
1 x High AMP Fan header (4-pin)
1 x T_Sensor Connector
1 x AIO PUMP Header
2 x 3D Mount screw port(s)
Accessories User's manual
ASUS Q-Shield
3 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x M.2 Screw Package
1 x CPU installation tool
1 x Supporting DVD
1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)
1 x Q-connector(s) (1 in 1)
BIOS 128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 3.0, ACPI 6.0, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 3, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information.
Manageability WfM 2.0, DMI 3.0, WOL by PME, PXE
Operating System Support Windows® 10 64-bit
Windows® 8.1 64-bit *6
Windows® 7 32-bit *6
Windows® 7 64-bit *6

*6. Windows® 8.1 64-bit and Windows® 7 32/64-bit are only supported when using 6th Generation Intel® Processors

Form Factor ATX Form Factor
12.0 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

May 9, 2017 | 04:12 PM - Posted by MRFS

Morry: good job!
What happens when 2 x M.2 SSDs are stacked
on top of each other? Overheating maybe?

May 9, 2017 | 11:25 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

It depends.  If you have airflow over them, should be ok.  But you'd probably want to put thermal tape or some other type of non-conductive medium between the two drives to keep any electrical contact from occuring between the two.

However, this board doesn't have stacked M.2 slots.  It's slots are separated by a good bit of space.  The only design I've heard with stacked slots was in the Intel NUC...