In the previous summary review of motherboards on the Intel Z270 chipset, we compared three “non-gaming” models, of which the least expensive motherboard was awarded. Now we return to the game scene with two motherboards ASUS.
Asus Strix Z270E Gaming and ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming belong to the Republic-of-Gamers family, and at the price form the upper segment of the Strix line. Asus Strix Z270E Gaming is ATX, and ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming is made in a more compact Micro ATX.
After the presentation of the platform Union Point in the past there were times when ASUS offered motherboards ROG exclusively for the upper price segment on top-end chipsets. For the LGA1151 Skylake-S and Kaby Lake-S processors, the Taiwanese manufacturer significantly expanded the range of ROG motherboards by adding Strix models. Four motherboards use the chipset B250, and two – H270-PCH. Including mini-ITX motherboards are also presented. As for the Z270 chipset, ASUS has released five motherboards, of which the leaders are Asus Strix Z270E Gaming and ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming.
The motherboard Asus Strix Z270E Gaming refers to the full ATX format, it is decorated with quality cooling radiators. The equipment of the flagship Strix is very worthy. The board is equipped with RGB LED backlighting, many SATA ports, two M.2 interfaces and, of course, first and second generation USB 3.1 ports.
In Russia, ASUS ROG Strix Z270E Gaming can be purchased from 11.8 thousand rubles or 212 euros, it is clearly not aimed at those users who need the optimal model for their money.
ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming can be called the “junior” version of the Z270E, since ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming is made in a square Micro-ATX format. But in equipping it is no worse. With this motherboard, the buyer will also receive four DDR4 DIMM memory slots, several expansion slots and multiple drive connection ports. Present and USB 3.1 ports of the first and second generations.
In in Europe ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming costs from 187 euros.
In addition to the motherboards, the following accessories are included in the package:
The package of two motherboards is almost identical. In addition to the mandatory I / O blank, the buyer will receive the motherboard’s manual and a disk with drivers and utilities, a quick start guide (only for Asus Strix Z270E Gaming), several ROG Strix and SATA stickers to facilitate identification. There are four SATA cables, a CPU Installation Tool and a 2-way SLI-HB bridge, which allows you to connect two NVIDIA Pascal video cards.
For fixing the M.2 modules, the corresponding screws are included, there is a Q-Connectors panel and a WLAN antenna. Finally, we note the coupon for a 20% discount in the store asus.cablemod.com.
Despite technical similarities, ASUS motherboards have a different design. In addition to the other PCB format, Asus Strix Z270E Gaming motherboard has an I / O panel with an RGB backlight. The dimensions of the PCH radiators are different, but identical large MOSFET radiators are installed on both boards.
For powering the CPU, there are ten phases on both Asus Strix Z270E Gaming and the Z270G motherboard. Additional power is connected via the 8-pin EPS12V connector. On both models, next to the 8-pin jack is a jumper that activates the CPU Overvoltage function. Throughout the PCB, ASUS has installed quality capacitors.
Four DDR4 DIMM slots allow you to install up to 64 GB of memory, which is typical for the LGA1151 platform. ASUS indicates memory support up to 3.866 MHz, but in the BIOS it is possible to set the mode to DDR4-4266. To the right of the 24-pin ATX socket (Z270E) are four LED states, on the Z270G they are cornered. On the left you can see USB 3.1 Gen2 connector. It allows you to output a 10 Gb / s interface to the front panel of the chassis if the latter supports Type C ports. The connection is made via the ASMedia ASM2142 controller.
Due to the ATX format of the Z270E and the Micro-ATX motherboard from ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming, differences in the layout of the slots are quite expected. Asus Strix Z270E Gaming has three mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and four PCIe 3.0 x1 slots, and two PCIe 3.0 x16 and two PCIe 3.0 x1 on the Z270G.
The mechanical slots x16, connected to the LGA1151 processor, are equipped with the Safe Slot function. The usual rule works: if only the upper slot is used, then it displays 16 Gen3 lines. If both slots are occupied, then the lines are distributed x8 / x8. All other slots are connected to the Z270 chipset.
On the interfaces of the drives, both boards are equipped identically. Both offer six “native” SATA ports of 6 Gb / s and two M.2 with the M-Key for connecting the NVMe SSD. The length of the modules can be up to 11 cm in the first slot and up to 8 cm in the second. On Asus Strix Z270E Gaming, the M.2_1 slot (below) uses shared resources with the SATA 1 port if a SATA module is installed in the slot. But in the case of the PCIe drive, there is no problem. As for the upper slot, when the M.2 module is installed in PCIe mode, the SATA ports 5 and 6 are disabled.
Another situation with ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming. The SATA 1 port will be unavailable if a module in SATA mode is installed in slot M.2_1.
Attentive readers have probably wondered where the second M.2 slot is located on ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming motherboard. There are four threaded holes on the PCB, but there is no slot. It is located on the back of the motherboard ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming.
So if the first slot is already occupied, and you need to install the second module, you may need to remove the motherboard from the chassis.
The I / O board of the ASUS Strix Z270E / ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming motherboard:
Two I / O panels have a similar structure with a few exceptions. On the left are the antennas of the WLAN AC modules and Bluetooth 4.1, as well as two USB 3.1 Gen2 high-speed interfaces, ASUS has selected one Type A and Type C port. For Asus Strix Z270E Gaming and ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming motherboards, you can connect USB 3.1 Gen1 devices via four available Type A ports.
There is also a legacy PS / 2 interface, one Gigabit LAN port through an Intel I219-V controller, five 3.5-mm ports and an optical Toslink output. ASUS installed the ROG SupremeFX audio subsystem, which relies on the Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, several audio capacitors and an amplifier for headphones. In addition, the ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming has two USB 2.0 ports, and Asus Strix Z270E Gaming has a DVI-D video output.
On the motherboard Asus Strix Z270E Gaming BIOS was installed version 0401, and on the ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming – BIOS version 0225. But for both models ASUS at the time of the tests introduced the version 0906, which contains various improvements.
As you can see, the Intel Optane Memory modules on Asus Strix Z270E Gaming and ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming motherboards are supported starting from BIOS 0906.
Because of the identical interface UEFI, we made screenshots only on the motherboard Asus Strix Z270E Gaming. But everything said below applies equally to ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming.
The interface uses mostly dark shades. Individual menu items are highlighted in turquoise, the rest are white. Let’s start with the upper left corner. It displays time and date. You can change the UEFI language next to it. A new addition was the master “EZ Tuning Wizard”, which facilitates the overclocking problem for beginners. However, hardcore overclockers do not need this function, they probably prefer to set all the settings manually. But still it’s nice that ASUS also took care of new users.
The next field provides information about the motherboard model, the installed BIOS version, the CPU model, the clock speeds and the memory capacity. To the right you can see the CPU and motherboard temperature. The CPU voltage is also displayed. Below, in the left field, information is displayed on the installed memory modules, occupied slots, capacities and frequencies. You can also select the Extreme Memory Profiles (or XMP) profile, if any. The information about the connected drives is displayed to the right. Finally, the lower field allows you to adjust the fan speed, using the “Manual Fan Tuning” function you can set the speed individually.
In the right part of the window, the basic mode of operation is set. The default mode is Normal. But you can activate the “ASUS Optimal” and “Power Saving” modes. In the “ASUS Optimal” mode, the system increases performance, in “Power Saving” mode it starts to work more efficiently. Also you can easily change the boot order. You can switch to the advanced mode by clicking “Advanced Mode” or pressing the “F7” key, we’ll look at it below.
The Advanced Mode is visually similar to EZ Mode, but has a more traditional structure. The first tab “My Favorites” contains a set of the most used BIOS functions, which the user can change at his discretion. To add, click on the “My Favorite (F3)” function from the top or use the “F3” key. A separate window opens in which you can select the functions.
The main page of “Main” contains basic information: BIOS version, installed processor model and memory specifications. Here you can change the menu language if required. Next is the tab “Ai Tweaker”. It contains all the overclocking functions, implemented a large number of new functions, which will be sufficient for experienced overclockers. You can set clock speeds for CPU or memory, as well as individual voltages. The following is a description of what each function does.
Numerous integrated components can be customized on the next tab. Some monitoring information is constantly displayed in the right field, but ASUS added a separate tab “Monitor”, where it is possible, among other things, to set fan speeds. You can also see the temperature and voltage.
All settings affecting the download process are located on the “Boot” tab. If you are concerned about the boot image, you can disable it here. There are also options for Boot Override, which are usually rendered on the last page. ASUS also added several utilities. Via “ASUS EZ Flash 3 Utility” you can update the UEFI via a connected drive or directly via the Internet. All UEFI settings can be stored in eight profiles, which can be saved to a USB keychain or imported via the “ASUS Overclocking Profile” function. The “ASUS SPD Information” option reads the SPD (Serial Presence Detect) values from the DIMMs. In “Exit” you can save the settings or load the default settings. Before saving the UEFI settings, a small window is displayed, which indicates all the settings that can be changed. In addition, if you want to add notes, you no longer need paper and pen – you can just activate the “Quick Note” function.
On the new Kaby Lake platform, ASUS added a setting in the BIOS that allows you to reduce the CPU multiplier when running applications that use AVX. As a result, the system will work more stably when overclocked.
We appreciate the convenience of the new UEFI interface. As we found out, when using the keyboard, the interface after a while starts to “slow down”. But after reboot everything works fine. Otherwise, all settings work well. As for the stability of the work of complaints, we also did not arise.
Platform Kaby Lake S, we again performed 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.
Both motherboards have successfully coped with the presentation of the Extreme Memory profile. When setting up manually, we were able to slightly reduce the delay. The voltage of the VDIMM was fixed at 1.35 V.
ASUS, along with motherboards, attached a well-known set of AI Suite, which supports a large number of functions for Windows.
Of course, AI Suite 3 also includes four other functions. The TPU is responsible for the clock speeds, the updated Fan Xpert 3 provides fan speed control. The Digi + function ensures stable operation of the power subsystem. Maximum efficiency is provided by the function “EPU”, in which there are four modes: automatic, productive, economical and inactivity. In the bottom panel, you can view information about CPU and memory frequencies, voltages, temperatures and fan speeds at any time. If you click on the gear icon, then the settings for individual categories will open.
But in comparison with the Z170 models, the AI Suite 3 package was somewhat limited in functions. The latest version lacks Ai-Charger, Mobo-Connect, USB 3.1 Boost and push-notifications.
Although comparative tests of motherboard performance are not able to give such a difference, as before, they are still interesting. The fact is that the tests allow you to quickly assess how different vendors implement support for functions like Turbo, or rely on the trick of background overclocking. On both motherboards we had to disable the ASUS MultiCore Enhancement function, so that the comparison was fair.
But for tests we limited ourselves to only four applications, namely 3DMark 2013, SuperPi 8M, Cinebench 11.5 and SiSoft Sandra 2014 Memory Benchmark:
Performance results were quite expected.
We conducted load time tests. We measured the time in seconds that the motherboard required to initialize all components before Windows booted.
The load time was more than 20 seconds, so you’ll have to be patient. The motherboard Asus Strix Z270E Gaming booted for 20.44 s, and ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming – for 21.84 s.
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 motherboards Asus Strix Z270E Gaming / ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming there are several additional controllers. Namely LAN controller, two USB 3.1 Gen2 controllers and a sound processor – all of them contribute to the overall power consumption of the system.
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.
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.
Efficiency can be called quite good, because both LGA1151 motherboards from ASUS show a level of about 40 W.
The results of 123.2 W (Z270E) and 125.3 W (Z270G) in the Cinebench test can be called average.
The same is true for Prime95 under full load. Here, our wattmeter showed 131.1 watts for the ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming and 134.3 watts for the Z270E.
The CPU voltage on both motherboards was set at 1.216 V.
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.
After disabling the RGB-backlight, two USB 3.1 Gen2 controllers and the WLAN / Bluetooth module, we were able to save a few watts. Namely, three watts in idle mode.
Under the Cinebench load, the savings were two to four watts.
Under the Prime95 load, we received a saving of four to six watts.
The CPU voltage did not change and remained at 1.216V.
Motherboards Asus Strix Z270E Gaming and ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming work in idle mode very effectively. Under load, we get an average level of efficiency. After switching off additional components, the power consumption was reduced by a few watts.
Two test motherboards use two ASMedia ASMedia controllers ASM2142 USB 3.1 Gen2, each connected at a speed of 16 Gb / s, in total we get three high-speed USB 3.1 Gen2 ports. The cards have one Type A and Type C connector, and there is a connector for connecting the front USB port of 3.1 Gen2 compatible enclosures.
The ports provide a theoretical bandwidth 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.
Performance USB 3.1 Gen2 controller ASM2142 was very decent. By reading speed, we got 932 MB / s, by writing speed – 870 MB / s (Z270G) or 868 MB / s (Z270E).
Both Z270 motherboards offer six USB 3.1 Gen1 ports. Four ports are located on the I / O panel, two are connected through a comb. For USB 3.1 Gen1 tests, we used the same solution as for USB 3.1 Gen2.
In the USB 3.1 Gen1 test, motherboards showed similar results. By reading, we got up to 444 MB / s, by recording – up to 466 MB / s.
On the motherboard ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming, as on Asus Strix Z270E Gaming, there are six SATA 6 Gbps ports that are connected to the Z270 chipset in native mode. For the tests, we took the SanDisk Extreme 120 drive, which was connected directly to the SATA ports.
As you might expect, SATA performance is at a pleasantly high level. According to the reading speed, the Z270 chipset gives up to 559 MB / s, and the write speed is up to 525 MB / s.
On the motherboards there are two M.2 M-Key slots available. But in order to save space on the motherboard ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming second slot is removed to the back panel.
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.
The M.2 interface showed high throughput. Both ASUS motherboards provided read speeds above 3.300 MB / s. By the speed of recording, we received more than 1.500 MB / s.
With all the hype associated with the AMD Ryzen processors, do not forget about the current Intel platform for the mass market based on the LGA1151 socket. The combination of the Z270 chipset and the overclocked Core i7-7700K processor provides very high (game) performance. And the range of motherboards on the market is much wider than for the Socket AM4 platform.
ASUS expanded the lineup of Republic-of-Gamers motherboards with Strix models. The Taiwanese manufacturer offered five Strix motherboards on the Z270 chipset, which are aimed at gamers. However, thanks to the Z270 chipset, the platform is also excellent for overclocking. In our summary review, we compared two motherboards Asus Strix Z270E Gaming and ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming.
If the motherboard Asus Strix Z270E Gaming is made in the ATX format, then in the case of the ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming we get a more compact size of the Micro-ATX. On the level of equipment, both motherboards on the LGA1151 socket show themselves comparable. The buyer will receive four banks of DDR4 DIMM memory (up to 64 GB of memory). There are six SATA 6 Gbps ports with a native connection to the chipset, two M.2 interfaces with the M-Key for installing high-speed drives. Not without the three USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, six USB 3.1 Gen1 and six USB 2.0 ports. Two Gen2 ports are installed I / O panels, one is available inside the enclosure, the ports are connected via two ASMedia ASM2142 controllers.
To the general features we attribute the module WLAN AC and Bluetooth 4.1, one Gigabit LAN port connected via the Intel I219-V controller, the ROG SupremeFX audio subsystem, based on the Realtek ALC1220 sound processor and several audio capacitors. Acoustics and other audio peripherals can be connected via five analog 3.5mm audio jacks or Toslink digital output. The CPU power subsystem is powerful enough, with ten phases. In our overclocking tests, both motherboards coped with the stable performance of the Core i7-7700K at 4.9 GHz.
But there are some differences. Asus Strix Z270E Gaming has three mechanical expansion slots PCIe 3.0 x16 and four PCIe 3.0 x1, on a more compact ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming – two mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 and two PCIe 3.0 x1. The integrated graphics core can be output through the video outputs DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4, and in the case of the Strix Z270E, DVI-D is also available, which allows the connection of three displays. Note two connectors for connecting the CPU fan, two connectors for the fans of the case and one for the pump SVO. Also on the Asus Strix Z270E Gaming is a high-amp connector for fans with a high current load.
The boards have two LED connectors for connecting RGB LED strips – the function is called Aura. Due to system stability and performance, there are no complaints. In the idle mode, both ASUS motherboards worked very efficiently. Unless both motherboards would not be prevented by separate power and reset buttons.
Price Strix Z270E Gaming is from 212 euros, for ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming will have to give away from 187 euros. Both models can not be called cheap, but you will get a quality basis for the LGA1151 platform, which will provide six cores with Coffee Lake-S processors.
Motherboards ASUS Strix Z270E Gaming and ASUS Strix Z270G Gaming differ in format, but they have very similar equipment. Both models provide a good set of functions.