It’s been a long time since the tests of the latest Supermicro motherboard in our lab. The company Supermicro is more known on the server, rather than on the desktop segment. But the American company does not mind getting a share in the desktop market, where competition is very strong. To the output of the platform Intel Kaby Lake Supermicro has prepared several motherboards, as we already wrote. One of them – just entered the test lab Supermicro C7Z270-PG, which we will consider in more detail.
As you can see by the name of the model, Supermicro chose the modern Z270 chipset, which supports overclocking functions. The addition of “PG” means “Professional Gaming”. A distinctive feature of the Supermicro C7Z270-PG is the PEX8747 switch, which extends the number of Gen3 lines to 32. It allowed the American company to install four PCIe 3.0 x16 slots.
As for the functions, we note four DDR4 DIMM slots, six 6 Gbps SATA ports and two U.2 and M.2 interfaces. The range of USB ports on the Supermicro card is represented by four USB 3.1 interfaces of the first and second generation, as well as eight USB 2.0 ports. Also note the high-quality audio codec, two Gigabit LAN ports, video outputs DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4b.
Fans of dark motherboards Supermicro C7Z270-PG will surely please, as Supermicro not only chose black textolite of PCB ATX, but also installed black and gray connectors and slots. The same applies to four separate radiators.
In addition to the motherboard you will receive:
Supermicro did not attach an abundance of accessories with the motherboard. In addition to the I / O stub, the buyer will receive a quick user guide and four SATA cables. Honestly, would not hurt at least one bridge 2-way SLI. A more detailed manual can be downloaded from the Supermicro website.
The difference between the Intel 100 and 200 chipsets is not as significant as one might think by numbering. The Z170 chipset offers Intel up to 20 Gen3 lines. In the case of Z270 PCH, we get four more Gen3 lines, that is, their number has increased to 24 Gen3. Additional lines allow you to connect more components. For example, one more slot M.2.
Kaby Lake processors still offer a very limited number of lines – only 16 Gen3, but they can be distributed over at least two mechanical slots PCIe 3.0 x16.
Supermicro has provided for the power supply of the CPU ten phases. The American manufacturer arranged the seven phases vertically and three horizontally. It is easy to see that each choke has one MOSFET. MOSFETs have a mark “DA21234 OHBA624” that is not familiar to us. For feeding additional power, an 8-pin EPS12V connector is provided.
To avoid the use of a Phase Doubler, Supermicro selected two PWM controllers “PXE1610BDN” and “PXC1410BPM” for the Supermicro C7Z270-PG. Both are manufactured by Primarion, a division of Infineon.
Supermicro has equipped the LGA1151 motherboard with four DDR4 DIMM memory slots, which allow to install up to 64 GB of RAM. For the power of the four slots, another phase is responsible, which is controlled by another Primarion PWM controller. In the lower right corner of the snapshot you can see separate power buttons, reset and clear CMOS.
Most recently, we tested the Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 9 motherboard from the new Aorus line, which is equipped with 48-line PEX8747 Gen3 switch, providing 32 Gen3 lines for four PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. The exact same switch is installed on the Supermicro C7Z270-PG motherboard from Supermicro. As before, PEX8747 receives 16 Gen3 lines from the LGA1151 processor. As a result, on four NVIDIA or AMD graphics cards, the switch can distribute eight Gen3 lines. At least in theory. In the center you can see an additional PCIe 3.0 x4 slot. The table below shows the distribution of the lines.
Supermicro provided all modern ports, although not all drive interfaces can be used simultaneously. There are six SATA 6 Gb / s ports, two U.2 ports and two M.2 slots. The latter are installed with the M-Key. If the upper M.2 slot is occupied, two SATA ports of 6 Gb / s can not be used. The lower M.2 slot uses shared resources with one of the two U.2 ports. In both M.2 slots, modules of 6 to 11 cm in length can be installed.
Interfaces from left to right, from top to bottom:
The I / O panel offers a large number of interfaces. Four USB 3.1 Gen2 ports on motherboards are infrequent, but Supermicro is exactly what they provided by installing two ASMedia ASM1142 controllers. Also available are two USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and two USB 2.0 ports. The graphics core of the processor can be output via DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0.
As for local network support, the American company installed two Intel controllers that provide two Gigabit LAN interfaces. In addition to the PS / 2 interface, there are five 3.5-mm audio ports and one Toslink for the digital output on the motherboard.
In comparison with competitors, Supermicro did not begin to strengthen the audio subsystem. The Realtek ALC1150 chip can be called a time-proven solution, although Realtek has already introduced an improved version of the ALC1220. But the buyer will still get eight audio capacitors and an amplifier for headphones. The “yellow” bar to the right of the capacitors is in fact transparent, through it the red LEDs are mounted, mounted at the rear.
The Nuvoton NCT6792D-B chip next to the diagnostic display is a Super I / O controller that monitors temperature, voltage and fan speeds.
The photo shows two ASMedia ASMedia controllers USB 3.1 Gen2, which provide four high-speed USB ports on the I / O panel. Each controller connects to the chipset via the Gen3 line and provides a theoretical bandwidth of up to 10 Gb / s. The more modern controller ASM2142 provides a higher level of performance due to connection on two Gen3 lines (16 Gbps), but due to the limited number of lines Supermicro, apparently, abandoned the ASM2142.
On the left you can see the Intel I210-AT network controller, and on the right is the Intel I219-V, they provide two Gigabit LAN ports. Thanks to the function of Teaming, two ports can be combined.
The PS175HDM chip allows you to connect monitors with support for HDMI 2.0, although the integrated graphics core supports only HDMI 1.4b.
Supermicro made good use of the available space of the Supermicro C7Z270-PG motherboard, the equipment is excellent. All interfaces are arranged habitually, it is easy to reach them. Also Supermicro added a number of jumpers, with which you can turn on or off some functions. For example, you can disable network controllers.
Most recently, we conducted tests of the motherboard C7H170-M, in the review we reviewed the UEFI. We will do the same with the Supermicro C7Z270-PG. The first version 1.0 is preinstalled on the motherboard. At the time of the tests, there was no more recent version on the site.
In comparison with competitors, Supermicro abandoned the “lightweight” EZ interface, using a kind of combination between the EZ and Advanced modes. In general, the interface UEFI seemed to us quite dark. Many values, including the type and frequency of the CPU, the type and frequency of memory are displayed in a very dark font that is not clearly distinguishable on a black background. From the top you can see the model of the motherboard, the date and time, the current BIOS version.
On the left side, six basic points are displayed, typical of the Advanced mode. The first two items of CPU and Memory allow you to configure various parameters relating to the processor and memory. Overclocking functions are also available. The item “Advanced” includes functions related to the components of the motherboard. Not without the hardware monitor, the corresponding item Supermicro calls “Thermal”. In it, the user not only can read the temperatures, voltages and speeds of the fans, but also adjust the latter.
Compared to the C7H170-M, the fan settings have been extended. You can choose not only the “Auto” and “Full Speed” modes, but “Quiet”, “Stable”, “Full Speed” and “Customize”. All the boot settings are listed in the “Save & Exit” item. We did not like the structure here, all options are located one after the other, there is no general overview. Finally, Supermicro allows you to comfortably update your BIOS with the Instant Flash feature. At the bottom of the UEFI interface, the speed of the five connected fans is displayed.
The function of taking screenshots worked correctly, unlike C7H170-M. Control via mouse and / or keyboard is supported. In rare cases, the cursor is lost, so the mouse is very useful.
The Supermicro C7Z270-PG motherboard is equipped with 10 phases of CPU power supply and offers an advanced set of overclocking functions, which allowed us to overclock the processor and memory.
The base frequency of the processor on the Supermicro C7Z270-PG can be changed from 10 MHz to 650 MHz in 0.1 MHz increments. With regard to CPU voltage, the user can select Override, Adaptive and Offset modes. In the first two modes, the range is from 0 to 2.000 mV. In the bias mode, the voltage can be set from -1000 to +1000 mV. The step is 1 mV, so fine tuning is possible. All other overclocking functions are tabulated.
With the Supermicro C7Z270-PG motherboard, we were able to overclock our processor to 4.9 GHz with Override voltage 1.260 V. At 5 GHz we successfully booted the operating system, but the stress test failed, after a short time we got a “blue screen”.
With the Kaby Lake platform, we again ran memory overclocking. We used two DIMMs with a capacity of 4 GB – “G.Skill RipJaws4 DDR4-3000”. In the first test, we will check the functionality of XMP, and in the second we overclock the memory manually, without using XMP.
The profile of the Extreme Memory Profile on the Supermicro C7Z270-PG motherboard was recognized absolutely correctly, although it took some time to start. In manual mode, we were able to reduce delays. In the tests, the voltage of the VDIMM was set at 1.35 V.
Today, the issue of PC power consumption is quite relevant, and the difference in power consumption between motherboards is much more common than the difference in performance. On the one hand, it can be connected to the BIOS, where the power saving functions of Intel can be implemented incompletely or incorrectly. Or simply disabled by default. Or inactive integrated components, when they are replaced by additional chips or simply not used, do not shut down and continue to consume energy. The power plan also contributes to overall energy consumption, because it can give more power than required by the components. And the efficiency (efficiency) of the power system is also very important. If the efficiency is low, the system consumes more power from the power supply. The role of program management should not be underestimated, the entire food system should be balanced and coordinated to ensure acceptable efficiency.
On the motherboard Supermicro C7Z270-PG there are many additional controllers. Note two LAN controllers, two USB 3.1 Gen2 chips and one audio codec, all of which contribute to the system’s power consumption.
We measured the power consumption of the system in idle mode for Windows, and also with the full 2D load of Cinebench 15 and Prime95 (torture test, full load). Below is the power consumption for the entire system.
Test 1: embedded components are active:
In the first test run we left all the default settings when most of the integrated components of the motherboard are active. We used the video card Radeon R9 380. As we already noted above, all power saving functions were enabled, we did not make any manual optimization.
In idle mode, the wattmeter showed 46.4 watts. It should be remembered that the Supermicro C7Z270-PG is a high-end motherboard with a switch PEX8747, which significantly increases power consumption. In any case, the result is very good.
Good efficiency is also noticeable under the Cinebench load. The Supermicro motherboard with a level of 138.2 watts was able to bypass the efficiency of Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 7.
The same thing we see and under full load Prime95. The motherboard Supermicro C7Z270-PG here also showed a good result – 145.1 watts.
The nominal voltage level of 1.312 V turned out to be quite high, the Supermicro motherboard can work even more efficiently if you lower the CPU voltage manually.
Since most users do not need all built-in controllers, we ran another test run, during which only the LAN controller and the audio chip were activated from the integrated components. All additional controllers USB 3.0 and SATA we disconnected. The motherboard still set the voltage levels automatically, but we manually set all the energy-saving functions. We still used the video card Radeon R9 380.
Test 2: the integrated components are disabled (1x LAN + sound is active)
In the BIOS, we were able to disable not only the LAN port, but also the USB 3.1 Gen2 controller. As a result, in idle mode, we saved two watts. However, the alignment of forces is not affected.
Under the Cinebench load, the savings were already more significant – 1.3 watts. In this case, the Supermicro motherboard
The Supermicro C7Z270-PG motherboard has four high-speed USB 3.1 Gen2 ports connected via two ASMedia ASM1142 controllers. Namely, three Type A ports and one Type C on the I / O panel. They provide a theoretical throughput of 10 Gb / s, so it will not be easy to find a drive that can load such a bandwidth level. In theory, there will be a fairly fast solid state drive M.2, but so far we have limited ourselves to two SSD SATA 6 Gb / s in RAID 0, which will load the new interface.
For the test, we took the external Akitio NT2-U3.1 snap-in, inside which we installed two 2.5 “SSD OCZ Vector 150s with a capacity of 480 GB each, SSDs operated at a read speed of up to 550 MB / s and write speeds of up to 530 MB / s. SSDs were combined into a RAID 0 array, which allowed loading the USB 3.1 Gen2 interface.
Even Supermicro does not use a more modern controller ASM2142, the ASM1142 chip provides a high level of performance. We got a reading speed of up to 768 MB / s and a write speed of up to 817 MB / s.
There are four USB3.1 Gen1 ports on the Supermicro C7Z270-PG motherboard. Two of them are moved to the I / O panel, two more can be connected through the comb. All ports work directly from the Z270-PCH chipset. For USB 3.1 Gen1 tests, we used the same solution as for USB 3.1 Gen2.
The Intel controller on the Supermicro C7Z270-PG motherboard showed an expected performance level of 441 MB / s for reading and 459 MB / s for recording.
The Supermicro C7Z270-PG has six SATA 6 Gb / s ports available. All of them are connected to the Z270 chipset in their native mode. For the tests, we took the SanDisk Extreme 120 drive, which was connected directly to the SATA ports.
The speed of reading SATA, we estimate positively – 554 MB / s. Regarding the write speed, the controller showed itself slightly weaker, but still above the 500MB / s.
On the Kaby Lake S platform, we continue to test the M.2 interface. The Intel 200 chipset allows to squeeze from the M.2 modules a high level of performance thanks to four lines of PCIe 3.0, the theoretical bandwidth is 32 Gb / s. For testing the M.2 slot, we used the Samsung SSD SM961 with a capacity of 256 GB and 8 cm in length. Samsung indicates for its drive a reading speed of 3.100 MB / s and a write speed of 1.400 MB / s. SSD supports NVMe version 1.2, the connection is made to the Z270 chipset on four Gen3 lines.
On the M.2 interface, we got the full level of performance. The Samsung SM961 drive showed a read speed of 3.355 MB / s and a write speed of 1.515 MB / s.
In the past, Supermicro was not always good at showing itself on the desktop segment. Nevertheless, the competitors here are very strong, and the “roots” of Supermicro from the server sphere are clearly visible. The American company was always inferior in design to motherboards, so it was not possible to release a comprehensively good desktop model. Now, after the introduction of Intel platform Kaby-Lake, Supermicro again decided to gain a foothold in the desktop market, releasing several models LGA1151. The motherboard Supermicro C7Z270-PG belongs to the family of Professional Gaming, so it can be called the flagship.
On a printed circuit board with black textolite and dimensions, ATX Supermicro installed four mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 slots in addition to the LGA1151 socket, four DDR4 DIMM slots and a PCIe 3.0 x4 slot. But the PCIe slots do not work directly from the LGA1151 processor, the PEX8747 switch for 48 Gen3 lines from the PLX-Tech is installed on the motherboard between the CPU socket and the upper PCIe 3.0 x16 slot. It takes 16 Gen3 lines from the CPU and distributes them to four x16 slots. Thus, up to four NVIDIA or AMD graphics cards can be installed on the motherboard. Do not forget the manufacturer and overclockers, the motherboard added power buttons, reset and clear CMOS, as well as a diagnostic display.
The space between the large slots Supermicro used to install two modules M.2 M-Key. In each M.2 slot, you can install a module with a length of 6 to 11 cm. Both of them receive four Gen3 lines from the Z270 chipset. But there are some limitations. If the upper M.2 slot is occupied, two SATA 6 Gbps ports are disabled, the lower M.2 slot uses shared resources with two U.2 ports. Otherwise, four SATA 6 Gbps ports are always available. As for USB, the motherboard offers four USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and four USB 2.0 ports. The board has two ASM1142 USB 3.1 Gen2 controllers that provide four ports on the I / O panel, three relate to Type A, one to Type C. It’s a shame that Supermicro did not install more modern ASM2142 controllers with faster connection.
You can use a graphics core integrated into the processor. On the input / output panel for this purpose there are video outputs DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0. In the latter case, Supermicro added a chip that supports the HDMI 2.0 specification, although iGPU Kaby Lake from Intel does not have this feature. As for local network support, the manufacturer did not use the NIC Killer for its gaming motherboard by choosing two Intel Gigabit LAN controllers. Namely I219-V and I210-AT, we like this choice even more. Finally, note the sound subsystem Supermicro C7Z270-PG. It uses the audio codec ALC1150 from Realtek, although recently released a more modern ALC1220. The ALC1150 codec is complemented by eight audio capacitors and an amplifier for headphones.
But the motherboard has its drawbacks. It took too long to load, the UEFI interface structure leaves much to be desired. However, two of these drawbacks Supermicro can easily solve by updating the BIOS. The advantages include good performance, despite the use of the switch PEX8747. The motherboard consumed on the same level as the usual LGA1151 models. On the PCB, there are five 4-pin fan jacks, two of which are allocated as a CPU FAN. Note the built-in speaker.
In Russia, the Supermicro C7Z270-PG motherboard has not yet appeared, in Europe it will have to pay around 330 euros for it. If the PEX8747 is important for you, you can hardly find a model that is cheaper than the Supermicro C7Z270-PG. As an alternative, you can note the ASRock Z270 SuperCarrier and Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 9. But both are much more expensive than the Supermicro C7Z270-PG. On the other hand, the availability of Supermicro motherboards leaves much to be desired.
Supermicro C7Z270-PG is one of the few new LGA1151 motherboards offering four USB 3.1 Gen2 ports on the I / O panel. Otherwise, you will also get a very decent hardware platform, except that it will not be easy to buy a motherboard.
Alternatives? If you are willing to pay extra, and you need a PEX8747 switch, pay attention to the Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 9 motherboard. Otherwise, there are also numerous alternatives, such as MSI Z270 Gaming M7 or Maximus IX Formula from ASUS.