The laboratory continues to explore the segment of motherboards designed for Intel Kaby Lake platform. Following the previously discussed models of ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula, ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming, MSI Z270 Gaming M5 and the ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 we review the motherboard ASUS Prime Z270-A, based on chipset Intel Z270.
Such an influx of new products is easy to explain – most recently, Intel has given the green light to the processors Intel Kaby Lake, and motherboard manufacturers the wave of hype tend to skim the cream.
The object of our attention is ASUS Prime Z270-A. This model belongs to the category of very interesting products in which, on the one hand, there is all you need to build high-performance systems and high-grade acceleration, but, on the other hand, are no heaps of extra features and interfaces that can seriously screw up the price.
Did the producer to find a middle ground, whether the new live up to its expectations? The answers to all these questions will become clear on the outcome.
ASUS model comes in a cardboard box of medium size. packaging decorated in dark colors, and, as is the case with the recently tested ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming, the main part of the front side of the motherboard takes a picture in full growth.
In my opinion, this is the best kind of design, you know in advance what to expect inside. And on the shelves, you can just put a box, not pulling it from the motherboard.
On the reverse side of the box, in addition to another traditional photography, are the main technical characteristics, as well as several proprietary features.
Producer talks about RAID drives to support M.2 PCI-E, Intel Optane support technology for high quality digital sound-based codec Realtek S1220A, the possibility to connect the RGB-LED tape and traditional products ASUS recent years technology 5-Way Optimization.
When you open the view box appears directly to the motherboard itself is located on a separate cardboard pallet and wrapped in an antistatic bag:
At the bottom of the box, a cardboard tray, placed supplied ASUS Prime Z270-A:
On the one hand, in the package, there are things that are pleasing – it’s plug and high-quality interface panel, and an adapter for easy connection of the housing. On the other, there were comments – SATA cables are only three, in my view, the economy is not very reasonable.
Dimensions ASUS Prime Z270-A – 305 x 244 mm, which corresponds to the full-size ATX form factor.
When you first look at the new product to catch especially not for that: in many ways it is similar in design to the recently studied ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming: the location of most of the elements and the expansion slots is the same, the power converters and the cooling system radiators do not cause complaints. Is that the buttons and switches in this case added.
On the reverse side of the printed circuit board pictures can be noted that for all three cooling radiators used screw fastening. Moreover, this simple screws without springs. Here we see the decorative frame mounting bolts, covering the interface panel.
After loosening the screws on the back side of the motherboard, this frame can be easily removed.
As you can see by the image above, it is an ordinary piece of plastic to which is assigned a purely decorative function.
Here is a photo ASUS Prime Z270-A without decorative frame.
In my opinion, much of a difference in terms of appearance is not, but the manufacturer is more visible.
As for the radiator CPU power converter, their average size, they are located well away from the CPU socket, so as not to create any compatibility problems with different cooling systems:
The space around the CPU socket is extremely loose.
Fitting the “Silver Arrows” showed that the cooler crosses the upper expansion slot (which is the PCI-E X1), while for the installation of the graphics card and RAM modules, there is no problem.
Under the standard DDR4 memory soldered four slots that are equipped with latches only the top:
Given the fact that the graphics port is located at the second expansion slots and memory slots height does not meet – can be used with latches and slots on both sides.
The manufacturer claimed the following modes of DDR4: 2133/2400/2666 (overclocking) / 2800 (overclocking) / 3000 (overclocking) / 3200 (overclocking) / 3300 (overclocking) / 3333 (overclocking) / 3400 (overclocking) / 3466 (overclocking) / 3600 (overclocking) / 3733 (overclocking) / 3866 (overclocking) MHz. List of frequencies available in the BIOS of the motherboard 800, 933, 1066, 1200, 1333, 1400, 1500, 1600, 1700, 1733, 1800, 1866, 1900, 2000, 2100, 2133, 2200, 2266, 2400, 2500, 2533 2600, 2666, 2700, 2800, 2900, 2933, 3000, 3066, 3200, 3333, 3466, 3600, 3733, 3866, 4000, 4133, 4266 MHz.
The maximum memory capacity of 64 GB of said support memory of 16 GB. To activate Dual Channel slats should be installed in one memory, that is either in slots 1/3, 2/4 or slots. To ensure maximum stability and compatibility modules in dispersal manufacturer recommended primarily engage the connectors 04/02, and the use of one module – his set in the second slot.
Near the memory sockets there was a place for a couple of buttons.
One of them – the system power button, which can be useful when working with an open test bench, the second one – MemOK !, known for ASUS models since the LGA 1156 platform time and allows in some cases to solve the problem of the motherboard compatibility with the RAM modules.
Immediately next to the buttons placed several LEDs that light up alternately at startup, which is a simplified version of the self. Though she is not a substitute indicator POST-codes, but is able to give basic information about what is wrong.
In addition to the system and start buttons MemOK !, in comparison with the recently tested ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming, have versions ASUS Prime Z270-A was added, and the switch EZ XMP:
This switch is responsible for the ability to activate XMP Memory Profile without having to change the BIOS settings.
Motherboard refers to the list of supporting Pro Clock products, ie to expand the base clock overclocking capabilities equipped with optional clock generator.
You can expect at least good overclocking results for the base frequency.
The configuration of expansion slots:
Connectors from the top down:
This configuration is very literate, and in this form is used on many motherboards, including products from other manufacturers.
Upper / first expansion slot is a PCI-E X1, and graphics port is located at the second expansion slot that allows you to not worry about motherboard compatibility with the large processor cooling systems. The second graphics port is placed at a sufficient distance from the first, allowing you to assemble multi-graphics system of “hot” graphics cards.
The first two full-length PCI-E ports originate from the processor and can operate according to the formulas 0 and 16 + 8 + 8. To divide the sixteen processor PCI-Express slot into two lines using four chips, the switch ASMedia ASM1480.
The third full-length slot originates from the chipset Intel Z270.
Like the ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming, basic graphics ports reinforced with metal inserts.
Such amplification – a feature of most of ASUS innovations on the basis of Intel Z270. Given that monstrous graphics accelerators do not lose their popularity, this innovation will not be superfluous.
SATA ports are located at the right edge of the motherboard.
Total available to ASUS Prime Z270-A six SATA ports. All of them support the work mode 6Gb / s and realized own set of system logic Intel Z270, additional controllers do not apply.
According to the instructions, SATA_1 port shares resources with the connector M.2_1 (using SATA Mode), and can operate simultaneously or one interface or other. There is a sharing of resources between the second connector and M.2 SATA port 5/6: if M.2 work in PCI-E X2 mode, all interfaces are available, and if in the PCI-E X4 mode, SATA 5 ports and SATA 6 will inaccessible.
Sam chipset Intel Z270, and ASM1480 chip (responsible for the distribution of resources between the second and M.2 SATA ports 5/6) are located far away from the SATA ports:
One of M.2 connector. soldered directly under shoe with SATA ports:
This connector can operate in SATA mode, and PCI-Express mode supported storage size – 2242/2260/2280/22110 standards.
The second is located above the upper graphics port:
It is able to operate only in PCI-Express mode, X2 or X4 on the user’s choice. Supported storage size – standard 2242/2260/2280.
Pads for connecting hull USB ports are located at the bottom of the board, near the bottom right corner:
In sum, the motherboard has connectors for connecting two remote USB 3.0 ports and six USB 2.0 ports. As is the case with SATA ports, all the blocks are implemented without the use of third-party controllers Force chipset.
Of the additional controllers that enhance the functionality of new items can be noted except that held by the interface panel ASMedia ASM2142 / ASM1543:
They are responsible for the operation of two USB 3.1 ports (one Type-A and one Type-C), located on the interface panel.
The sound path is located in the lower left corner of the motherboard:
There used codec Realtek S1220A, covered with cover Crystal Sound inscription. Note that in comparison with the ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming sound more simple: the smaller the capacitor, and the amplifier chip headphone no. Apparently, it has done to the users the motivation to buy more expensive products.
The used Intel I219-V as a network controller.
Traditionally, ASUS (at least for the top-end motherboards), LAN connector is not without protection:
If you rely on the manufacturer’s description, such protection can protect the motherboard against power surges or lightning strikes.
As a Multi-IO is used chip Nuvoton NCT6793D:
On the back of the ASUS Prime Z270-A are located:
One USB 3.1 Type-A;
One USB 3.1 Type-C;
One PS / 2 port for keyboard / mouse;
Four USB 3.0;
One optical S / PDIF;
Five audio inputs / outputs 3.5 mm mini-jack.
Configuration of I / O panel repeats the judges have previously reviewed ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming. Once again you can see all five classic USB ports, which many probably will not be enough.
And again on the left side of the interface panel has a large amount of space, which can accommodate additional ports used, but they are not here. Okay, even when empty space under the fan unit in the case of versions of the Sabertooth, but here?
Photo ASUS Prime Z270-A, allowing to estimate the height of the components:
Location motherboard elements:
CO design in this case consists of three independent radiators. The two are responsible for the removal of heat from the processor power converter, a third removes heat from the chipset Intel Z270.
Power converter radiators not name large in comparison with the ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming, but there is the very form of heat spreader is more reminiscent of the radiator:
Although not the biggest size, fin area here is quite good, and heat dissipation problems should arise.
Use gasket average thickness. Problems with the contact elements of power and cooling radiators not clamp a good and uniform.
Radiator chipset is relatively simple.
In fact it is a rectangular metal blank, perform more decorative function, rather than a real need for heat. In order to cool the Intel Z270, would be enough, and twice the smaller area.
As seen on the picture is used as a thermal interface gasket average thickness.
Some people may not like the lack of rubber pads on the corners of the radiator, which could serve as protection from chips of system logic, however, does not think that the use of such thermal pads when removing or installing cooling system chipset may be in danger.
The main power converter, like the ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming, made under the scheme 4 + 2, four phases allocated directly to the processor, two – integrated graphics.
Yes, when looking at the board may be assumed here that the sum of ten phases in the power circuit 8 and +2, but should be guided onto the back side of the board:
Here it is easy to see that most of the power converter used pairwise spike chokes, and we get even and powerful, but the four phases. Marking transistors, as well as drivers, almost unreadable, but based on the experience, it can be assumed that the used products ON Semiconductor, namely transistors 4C06B and 4C09B.
At least, they used to ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming, where the power converter is identical, and they are also found in other power converters on the board.
Marking the main PWM controller traditionally slaughtered by the manufacturer and referred to as ASP1400BT. What lies behind it – is hard to say.
sSngle-phase power converter memory.
UEFI menu ASUS motherboards based on a set of system logic Intel Z270 largely standardized and extensively studied in the survey ASUS Strix Z270F the ROG Gaming .
In fact, if we consider the list of CPU overclocking options, the differences in the list of available settings in versions of ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming and Prime Z270-A no. Is that the look of the background they have different.
The rest does not make sense for a second time to show the same menu.
In this section the article is available with capacities of motherboards in terms of fan speed control.
Locating connectors for connecting turntables on the ASUS Prime Z270-A.
On the circuit board there are six fan headers, three connectors can be obtained by using a special daughter card (not supplied).
All six full-size connectors 4-pin and supports PWM speed control. As for the convenience of the location of the connectors, in an inconvenient or inaccessible location for assembled computer connectors are D and the E, the rest quite comfortably distributed on board around its edges.
Setting the fan speed control, see Monitor / Q-Fan Configuration.
To automatically adjust the available profiles Standard, Silent, and the Turbo, as well as manual mode, where additional settings are available.
In the advanced settings set minimum value, intermediate and maximum rotational speed of the fan impellers; and processing temperature at which they are obtained. The range of available values «Duty Cycle» for each wire – from 20 to 100% for the PWM Mode, and from 60% to 100% for the DC Mode.
One of the interesting functions – for controlling the CPU cooler has setup CPU Fan Step Up / CPU Fan Step Down, in which you can smooth the process of increasing / reducing fan RPM speed, available values delays – 2.1, 2.8, 3.6, 4.2, 5.0, 6.3, 8.5 12, 25 seconds.
Chassis-Fan control issued in a separate subsection.
Here are the exact same settings, you can choose a ready-made profiles, or the necessary level Duty Cycle.
The main difference compared to the CPU socket is the ability to bind the fan speed to the temperature of the CPU is not, as one of other sensors on the user’s choice, until the thermocouple connectors. You can attach the fan control to multiple sources at the same time.
The same list of options present in Ext submenu. Fan (s) Configuration.
But the connectors that are controlled by the settings in this section, from the motherboard no, all these settings are necessary in the case of the daughter board, which is not included in the original packaging.
As with most other motherboards ASUS, «on the spot”, you can use Q-fan Tuning function:
The work of this option is that the motherboard will diagnose the work connected fans in different modes and adjust settings available in the BIOS limits for specific models. A very handy feature, which appeared on the LGA 1150 platform.
Of the additional facilities, I note that the settings are applied “on the fly”, without having to reboot the system in the intermediate stages. The audit adjustment possibilities motherboard could widely in all six slots (including a connector for the pump) control the speed of a 3-pin, and 4-pin models.
It is difficult to say that here you can add on top of what is already there, news functionality in terms of comprehensive fan control.
Testing the ASUS Prime Z270-A was carried out in the following configuration:
In consideration of the motherboard available is, external clock, so overclocking should not disappoint. And ASUS Prime Z270-A lived up to expectations, demonstrating the ability to operate stably with a base frequency up to 366 MHz:
Acceleration border “tough”, even at 367 MHz, the motherboard does not start. In general, almost the same result was achieved with the ASUS Strix Z270F the ROG Gaming .
Before you begin overclocking RAM, it has been tested how accurately the motherboard sets memory voltage:
The measurements were carried out using a multimeter Mastech MY64. According to him, ASUS Prime Z270-A when a memory voltage is accurate, nothing to complain about.
As for overclocking, the result amounted to 3152 MHz:
This is slightly lower than was achieved in the ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming, but in general, the difference in frequencies close to the error. Approximately the same results in the acceleration time has been achieved, and the review of the memory set. The increase in voltage or timing adjustment kit does not react.
Before you begin the acceleration process does not interfere to check how the modes Load-Line Calibration, and choose the best.
The measurements were carried out using a multimeter Mastech MY64. For further acceleration mode is used Level 4. With regard to the mode to Auto, the more likely it is dependent on other settings. For if the download ready ASUS overclocking profiles or leave the system in normal mode, the motherboard uses a Level 2. Under the overclocking settings that I exhibited, in the Auto mode, it has involved Level 6.
And since I had a landmark, given a little earlier in the review of ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming, search for stable overclocking settings will not be difficult. overclocking results – 5089 MHz:
This is a good indicator that shows that the ASUS Prime Z270-A is able to reveal the CPU frequency potential to the full.
Measurement of the temperature was carried out by means of a thermocouple K-type and multimeter Mastech MY64, the air temperature in the room at the time of measurement – ~ 21-22 degrees Celsius.
Given the fact that the processor is cooled by an air cooler, radiator inevitably get their “share” of fresh air, which is why getting an accurate picture of the motherboard appetites complicated. In order to be subjected to greater load power converters, radiators were covered with the top sheet of paper:
Of course, the full flow of air passing through the radiator, it does not eliminate, but will provide some load.
As a test used to warm LinX 0.6.5 in the mode with 6144 MB of used memory.
There are no hints of overheating in the testing process has not arisen, temperature stayed in a comfortable range. As for the set of system logic Intel Z270, its radiator for the entire period of tests above 37 degrees is not hot.
Testing was conducted onboard sound using RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.4.1 in 16-bit / 44.1 kHz and 24-bit / 96 kHz. Installed on the motherboard codec – Realtek S1220A.
Judging by the results of tests, a built-in sound is good, at least, the results are better than they were during the tests of motherboard on base ALC1150 codec. If anyone interested in the full version RMAA reports, then you can download them in one archive.
In addition to the “digital” results, there was an attempt and just listen to the music by connecting headphones Pioneer SE-M290. After connecting them to the interface board ASUS Prime Z270-A identified safely headphones, and even determine the resistance model, offering built-in amplifier mode.
An interesting result of listening can be considered that, despite the absence of a test model of two amplifier chips for headphones (the former from ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming), setting the gain level of the audio driver, have not gone away and the motherboard is able to provide a decent standard headphone volume. Apparently, for the use of low-impedance headphones additional amplifier chips here and it is not necessary.
As a result of testing ASUS Prime Z270-A showed its best side: achieved good overclocking results, the base frequency and memory, motherboard cooling system ensures good temperature power converters mode, there is some margin of safety. Of course, we have not gone very wide possibilities in terms of fan control.
If we compare the model ASUS Prime Z270-A with the recently tested version of the ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming, the fundamental differences among them are not so much: in addition to advanced lighting features, some of ROG-bonuses, the availability of the amplifier chip headphone motherboards extremely similar. I think, depending on user requirements, both find a buyer.
With regard to the comments in the first place raise questions of all five classic USB ports on the interface panel, and the presence of only three SATA cables supplied is difficult to attribute to the benefits is still not the cheapest card. The rest is typical of the ASUS, good product.