Intel Z270 Motherboard Round-Up: MSI, Gigabyte, And ASUS Offerings For Kaby Lake

Z270 Motherboard Round-Up: Competitors Compared

Analyzing and discovering exactly where each Z270 motherboard would fall with respect to their target audience, made this a fun and insightful project. Setup and configuring each motherboard went off without a hitch, and stability was top-notch overall, which is definitely notable and appreciated. Moreover each motherboard offers clean, refined UEFI BIOS environments, with intuitive layouts that were easy to navigate. In short, working with all three of these boards was a pleasure. 

Performance Summary: The MSI Z270 XPOWER Titanium performed admirably and is a good choice that's chock-full of features and overclocking options. The more affordable ASUS and Gigabyte boards also proved to be solid offerings, however. Ultimately, the ASUS STRIX Z270F Gaming arguably has the best bang for the buck. As of this writing it's about $20 more than the Gigabyte board due to an active sale promotion that's currently underway, but that is $20 well spent. The STRIX Z270F outperformed the Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming K5 slightly, especially while overclocked. It lacks a few high end features and has fewer USB 3.1 and storage options, but there is still plenty available for a mainstream build.

All three boards overclocked to 4.7GHz without a hitch as well, using a simple ratio-based overclock (memory clocked at 2666MHz). With more powerful cooling, faster memory, and voltage manipulation, we suspect higher overclocks would be possible with all three boards. We didn't see anything out of the ordinary in terms of temperatures with any of the boards either, though it's worth noting that if you plan to install one of them into a smaller, more confining case, sufficient air-flow around the VRM and socket area will be necessary for sustained overclocking and long-term stability. 

Z270 Motherboard Roundup2
MSI Z270 XPOWER - Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming K5 - ASUS Strix Z270F Gaming

Kaby Lake and the Intel Z270-chipset are a formidable pairing. Performance in general has only made moderate gains over the previous Skylake architecture, however. As we mentioned out of the gate, there are some new media capabilities offered by the platform and efficiency improvements as well, but Kaby Lake is in general an iterative spin on Intel's silicon. As for the the Z270-chipset, it offers added PCIe lanes over the previous-gen and native support for Intel's Optane storage technology. 

This quick roundup shows that this now mature setup (Z270 + Kayby Lake) still makes for a compelling and fun PC build, that is also affordable and widely available, comparatively versus more recent CPU and motherboard platform options to hit the market.
Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming K5

 ASUS STRIX Z270F Gaming

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