Asus, often called as the Apple in PC hardware has been manufacturing some excellent motherboards and GPUs for a while. With the launch of Intel’s 7th-gen CPUs, Asus’s Z270 lineup of motherboard have been well recieved by PC enthusiasts.
We were recently offered Asus’s Strix Z270E Gaming motherboard for review along with a Core i7-7700k as well after we moved our rig to the red team. Thanks to Asus for lending the 7700k and motherboard to us for this review. Priced at RM1,049 in Malaysia, how does it stack up against the competition?
01| Unboxing and Features
The Asus Strix Z270E gaming looks very attractive as soon as you get a glimpse at its box. With the motherboard box showing off the Strix lighting effects as well as a great rundown of it’s key features, the Z270E isn’t here to bluff.
Taking a look at the back of the box, we could find a rundown of its specifications. For you guys to easily digest the specifications, here they are.
|CPU||Intel® Socket 1151 for 7th/6th Generation Core™ i7/Core™ i5/Core™ i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors
Supports Intel® 14 nm CPU
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
|Memory||4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, Upto DDR4 3866(O.C.) MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
|Multi-GPU Support||Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
|Expansion Slots||2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x4 mode)
4 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1
|Storage||1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)*2
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (both SATA & PCIE mode)*3
6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
|USB Ports||Intel® Z270 Chipset :
6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)
6 x USB 2.0 port(s)
ASMedia® USB 3.1 controller : *7
1 x USB 3.1 front panel connector port(s)
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (Type-A + USB Type-CTM, Support 3A power output)
4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x M.2 Screw Package
1 x CPU installation tool
1 x Supporting DVD
1 x ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compliant)
1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)
1 x ROG Strix stickers
1 x 10-in-1 ROG cable label
1 x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)
1 x 3D printing mount package
1 x ROG coaster(s)
The Asus Strix Z270E isn’t only upto par with the competition, but the lighting effects have been dazzled on quite well too. RGB effects are supported as well with the lighting. What I do love about the lighting this that the lighting isn’t overdone here. On top that Asus’s classic in-house SupremeFX promises to deliver an improved audio experience that would be worth giving a shot.
For those still wondering what Intel has in-store over Ryzen, that’s Optane. With the launch of Intel’s 7th generation of CPUs, Intel announced that their Optane technology would be limited to their 7th generation of CPUs and Z270 motherboards.
Now that the features are out of the way, let’s cut straight to the chase. How does it overclock a 7700k?
02| Overclocking & Performance
If you have been using Asus’s recent motherboards and have dived into the BIOS for quite a few times, you could easily find yourself at home. The Asus Z270E Gaming uses the same UEFI as its cousins. Here’s our test system:
|CPU||Intel Core i7-7700k|
|Cooler||CM ML Pro 280|
|Motherboard||Asus Strix Z270E Gaming|
|Memory||Kingston HyperX DDR4 2400Mhz RAM|
|Storage||240GB Apacer Z280 M.2 PCIE SSD|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro 64 bit|
The Asus Z270E Gaming packs a total of 10-digital power phases. That’s enough for a good overclock and should keep it stable with a decent overclock. When it comes to overclocking the CPU, everything was pretty straight-forward, we adjusted the Core Voltage, Multiplier, BCLK and gave it a shot. At 1.3v we managed to push the 7700k to 4.9GHz paired with Cooler Master’s MasterLiquid Pro 280. Temperatures were great too. Temperatures were hovering in-between the low 70s to the upper 80s while stress testing with AIDA 64.
Asus also makes sure that gamers who don’t want to dive into tinkering with the board to easily setup Asus’s pre-installed 5Ghz OC profile, although the higher voltage applied by the motherboard definitely pushed the 7700k into some heat issues making us uncomfortable recommending it for long time use even if you succeed with it.
We rank AIDA 64’s CPU stress test for over 6 hours with the CPU proving itself to be as stable as a rock. Definitely we could have increased the stress test length but 6 hours seems enough.
03| Pricing and Conclusion
The Asus Strix Z270E Gaming Motherboard has been priced well for what it offers. It definitely has a bit of an advantage in terms of features compared to entry level Z270 motherboards. For those wondering if their should pick this up for themselves, you wont go wrong with the Z270E Gaming motherboard.
And for the RGB enthusiasts, the RGB implementation on this motherboard is amazing. With 10-digital power phases I could see users push their CPUs to 5GHz no problem, we decided to pull back ours to 4.9Ghz to keep the temperatures comfortable. At a price of RM 1049 in Malaysia, we’d definitely recommend it to anyone going to build an overclockable Kaby Lake system right now