ASUS Strix Z270E Gaming Motherboard Review
Features and Motherboard Layout
Courtesy of ASUS
- The successor to Pro Gaming motherboards
- 5-Way Optimization with Auto-Tuning and FanXpert 4 automatically tailors overclocking profiles to your unique build for maximum OC performance and dynamic system cooling
- Unmatched personalization with ASUS exclusive AURA Sync RGB lighting, two additional RGB headers and a 3D-printing friendly mount
- Maximize your connectivity and speed with Dual M.2, front panel USB 3.1, onboard 802.11ac Wifi and Intel® Optane™ Memory compatibility
- Two Patent-pending SafeSlots feature an injection molding process that integrates metal framing for a stronger, firmly anchored PCIe slot built for heavyweight GPUs
- Industry-leading 8-channel HD audio with the ROG exclusive SupremeFX S1220A driven by Japanese capacitors
The Strix Z270E Gaming features the all black branding common to the ASUS Strix product line with the chipset featuring the ROG brand logo. The VRM and chipset heat sinks are brushed dark aluminum, providing a nice contrast with the patterned black surface of the motherboard. ASUS breaks up the base black of the PCB with a series of densedly packed diagonal lines running across the boards free surface areas. The pattern provides a further contract with the heat sinks and black plastics covers used on the chipset and rear panel assembly. The board's layout was well thought out with more than enough room provided between all components for easy user access.
With the exception of circuitry underneath the CPU VRMs, the back of the board is relatively free of exposed circuitry. The area directly behind the CPU socket is clear of components, alleviating any concerns when using large custom backplates.
The Strix Z270E Gaming board contains the following ports integrated into its rear panel: a PS/2 hybrid keyboard / mouse port, four USB 3.0 ports (blue), two USB 3.1 10Gbps ports - one Type A (red) and one Type C (black), one GigE RJ-45 port - an Intel I219-V NIC, two 802.11AC antennae ports, an HDMI output port, a DisplayPort video output port, a DVI-D video output port, an S/PDIF digital audio output, and five analogue audio outputs.
The board contains a total of seven PCIe slots - three PCIe x16 slots and four PCIe x1 slots. The PCIe x16 slots can be used in x16, x8 / x8, or x8 / x8 / x4 mode. The CMOS battery is located just below PCI x1 slot 2, to the right of the primary PCIe x16 slot. There is also a 2-pin temperature sensor header to the left of the secondary PCIe x16 slot's midpoint.
One of the board's PCIe x4 M.2 slots is located just under PCIe x1 slot 1, supporting PCIe x4 type M.2 drives up to 80mm in length. The slot is keyed to accept M-Key type devices only.
The audio subsystem lives on an isolated PCB to minimize line-noise and distortion caused by other integrated components. The PCB separator line illuminates according to the color scheme configured through the UEFI or the AURA applet in Windows. ASUS included the following audio components into the sound systems design: dual Texas Instruments® RC4580 and OPA1688 audio op-amps cable of 32-300ohm operation and Nichicon audio capacitors. The audio output header is located to the lower right of the overlay along the board's edge. ASUS integrated mount points for custom designed 3D printed panels and accessories along the upper edge of the board, just below the audio PCB illuminated divider line.
In the upper left corner of the board are the front panel audio header, the serial port header, adn the 4-pin RGB power header.
With this board, ASUS integrated support for connecting one or more RGB LED strip to the board using the RGB 12V headers located to the along the outside mid-point of the tertiary PCIe x16 slot as well as to the lower right of the DIMM slots. Connecting an RGB LED strip to the RGB 12V header synchronizes the LED strip color and activity with that of the motherboard's integrated LEDs in the audio PCB separator line. In the screencap, an RGB cable is connected to the RGB 12V header.
The trusted module port header, the ROG OC Panel (ROG_EXT) header, and a USB 3.0 header are located to the lower left of the tertiary PCIe x16 slot. The lower header in the ROG_EXT group can be used for two additional USB 2.0 ports if the OC Panel II device is not connected to the system. The OC Panel cable (bundled in with the ROG OC Panel device) connects to the ROG_EXT ports, allowing the ROG OC Panel II device to interact with the board.
The onboard USB 3.0 headers, a 4-pin chassis fan header, the panel header, external fan device header, CMOS clear jumper, and primary PCIe x4 M.2 port are located in the lower left corner of the board. The external fan device header can be used to add additional fan and temperature ports by connecting the external fan board to the header using the included cable.
The board's primary M.2 slot is located just under PCI x1 slot 4 and framed by the secondary and tertiary PCIe x16 slots. This M.2 port supports PCIe x4 and SATA type M.2 drives up to 110mm in length. The slot is keyed to accept M-Key type devices only.
The Intel Z270 chipset is covered by a low profile dark brushed aluminum heat sink with a white plastic overlay featuring the ROG brand logo. In addition to the two PCIe x4 M.2 slots, the board was designed with six SATA III ports in a block just below the chipset heat sink.
ASUS designed the Strix Z270E Gaming board with a total of six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. All ports are controlled directly by the Intel Z270 chipset.
The board supports up to four DIMM slots with Dual Channel memory mode active with modules in slots 1 / 3 or 2 / 4. The board supports up to 64GB of memory running at a maximum speed of 3866MHz. Note that memory speeds above 2400MHz are considered overclocked speeds and are outside of the official Intel stock memory speed specifications. Just below the DIMM slots are a USB 3.1 front panel header, the 24-pin ATX power connector, a 4-pin chassis fan header, and a 4-pin RGB 12V header. To the upper right of the DIMM slots are the 4-pin CPU and secondary CPU fan headers. The USB 3.1 header can be used to connect optional devices requiring a high speed interface.
ASUS designed the Strix Z270E Gaming with a total of 10-digital power phases, which provide more than enough power for anything the board should encountered. ASUS cools the CPU VRM circuitry with two large heat sinks, one above and one to the right of the CPU socket. The upper heat sink is branded with the Strix logo cut into its top surface. The socket itself is clear of obstructions, making for an easy CPU cooler mount.
To the upper left of the CPU socket and to the left of the upper VRM heat sink are the water pump (AOI_PUMP) and high-amp (H_AMP_FAN) 4-pin fan headers. The 4-pin water pump header can be used to power a standard 12V water pump - an AIO cooler's integrated coolant pump or a pump integrated into a DIY loop. The high amp fan headers offers support for fans requiring 1A or more of power.
In the upper right corner of the board are the 8-pin ATX12V power connector and the CPU overvolt jumper. The CPU Overvolt jumper enabled a higher voltage ceiling for the CPU Voltage (configurable via the UEFI) when enabled.