bit-tech.net

Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review

Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review

Manufacturer: Asus
UK price (as reviewed): Approx £175 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): Approx $200 (ex tax)

Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming ReviewThe starting gun has been fired in the Z270 race and there's a whole host of awesome motherboards coming your way.

If you missed all the action, you can see our motherboard preview roundup, where we look at some of the latest boards from Asus, MSI and Gigabyte as well as discussing some of their new features and improvements.

Today, though, we're looking at our first Asus Z270 motherboard - the ROG Strix Z270F Gaming, which is part of a new lineup of Asus premium enthusiast boards. It can actually be considered the old Ranger in disguise - the cheapest board in the ROG Maximus range now is the Hero, with this family going back to super-premium again.

At around £180, this seems pricey for a mainstream board that's not got Maximus branding, but we're seeing price hikes across the scene unfortunately - Asus isn't alone. There will be some cheaper boards out soon, and we will be looking at those as well as the turbo-nutter boards, of course. Interestingly, the ROG Strix Z270F Gaming is joined in the Strix lineup by the Z270G - essentially the old Maximus Gene micro-ATX board. As far as we know, the latter won't be making an appearance in 'ROG proper' either, so ROG Maximus is very much the home of super-premium ATX boards, and hopefully a new mini-ITX Impact at some point too.

Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review
Click to enlarge

The ROG Strix Z270F Gaming looks good on its own but has plenty to offer in terms of features, too, as well as some RGB lighting when it's sitting in your case. However, it's not a Christmas tree affair here; the lighting is simple but very effective. In short, the main focus is on that white Nike-esque strip on the I/O panel. Behind it is a bunch of individually configurable RGB LEDs, which means that the strip can display the full colour spectrum from end to end - not just one colour.

Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review
Click to enlarge

It looks stunning, but equally, the lighting as a whole isn't too in your face. If you'd rather give the sun a run for its money in terms of luminescence, though, there are two 4-pin RGB headers handily located one at the top and one at the base of the board - perfect for controlling roof or base LED strips mounted in your case.

Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review
Click to enlarge

As per usual with Z270 boards, the ROG Strix Z270F Gaming has two M.2 ports, one which supports both SATA and PCI-E SSDs, while the other just does the usual PCI-E 3.0 x4 mode. Sadly, there's no additional cooling here, like we saw on the MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon - even the mighty Maximus IX Formula lacks this, though. It's definitely something for Asus to consider in the future. Even a basic, separate, Strix-engraved metal plate would make a difference; the fact remains that MSI's effort did lower temperatures and marginally improve speeds.

Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review
Click to enlarge

Thankfully, both M.2 ports are very well placed - one above the top 16x PCI-E slot and the other just below the second slot, so unless you're sporting a dual-GPU setup or an especially large CPU cooler, both should be reachable. The same goes for the top 1x PCI-E slot - if you want to install a discrete sound card, you can, and it won't be affected by your graphics hardware.

Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review
Click to enlarge

Asus has ditched U.2 with most of its boards now, and with M.2 SSDs offering some fantastic performance for reasonable prices, this is a sound decision. With the absence of SATA Express as well - an equally if not more logical decision - the PCB looks a little sparse with just the standard six SATA 6Gbps ports, although we doubt most people would be using more than a speedy M.2 SSD and a large hard disk or two anyway. You get the standard Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, although this has been beefed up with Asus's own SupremeFX tweaks.

Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review
Click to enlarge

The rear panel is reasonably populated, but we'd ideally like more USB ports than this. The lack of a pair of USB 2.0 ports makes the difference between ample and scarce here, so if you're a USB fiend, you may well need a hub. Other than this, everything is as it should be, although you don't get any of the testing/tweaking tools you got with the Maximus VIII Ranger, such as USB BIOS flashback or power, reset, or CMOS clear buttons.

Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review
Click to enlarge

Thankfully, you do get plenty of fan headers, including those dedicated to AIO liquid-cooler pumps and also a high amp fan too. You also get two CPU fan headers, whereas the MSI board we looked at recently only had one - annoying if you have a twin fan cooler that doesn't include a splitter cable.

Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Review
Click to enlarge

Finally, if one GPU isn't enough for you, there's plenty of space for two dual-slot cards to sit happily, even if they're air-cooled - there's a sizeable gap between them thanks to the double-spaced 16x PCI-E slots.

Specifications

  • Chipset Intel Z270
  • Form factor ATX
  • CPU support LGA1151 compatible (Skylake, Kaby Lake)
  • Memory support Dual-channel, 4 slots, max 64GB
  • Sound 8-channel Realtek ALC1220 Codec
  • Networking Intel Gigabit Ethernet
  • Ports Three 16x PCI-E 3.0, Four 1x PCI-E 3.0, 2 x M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4 32Gbps/SATA 6Gbps (up to 2280), 1 x M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4 32Gbps (up to 22110), 6x SATA 6Gbps (Z270), 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 6 x USB 3.0 (2 via header), 4 x USB 2.0 (4 via header), 1 x LAN, 3 x surround audio out, line in, mic, DisplayPort, dual-link DVI-D, HDMI
  • Dimensions (mm) 305 x 244
  • ExtrasRGB LED extension cable