• Slots: LGA1151
  • CPU: Intel Z270
  • RAM Slots: 4
  • RAM Type: DDR4
  • Ports: 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 1x LAN, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A x1, USB3.1 Gen2 Type-C x1, USB3.1 Gen1 Type-A x4
  • Pros:
  • New features
  • Aura RGB lighting effects
  • Cons:
  • Not enough USB ports
  • Benchmark Results
  • PCMark 8 (Home): 4,459 points
  • PCMark 8 (Creative): 5,455 points
  • PCMark 8 (Work): 3,671 points

Colourful Performance

We’ve got quite a number of brand new Kaby Lake motherboards coming in this month, and ASUS is one of them. It’s probably one of the most hushed up processors we’ve seen to date, and with the line-up we have have this month, it’s not difficult to see why. ASUS unveiled a whole host of motherboards last month, and it’s going to be quite difficult to choose a favourite. But for now, the ASUS ROG STRIX Z270E motherboard is one heck of a looker.

Despite sporting an ROG moniker, the STRIX Z270E belongs to the STRIX line of products, which originated as a peripherals series, which then included their graphics card line as well. Sporting a black and grey design, ASUS spared no expenses on the motherboard, as can be seen from the metallic RGB shroud covering the I/O ports and the chipsets.

As far as ports go, the motherboard features the standard four DDR4 DIMMs, which can support up to 32GBs of RAM at speeds of 3,866MHz in a dual channel configuration. As far as storage goes, the board has six SATA III ports, as well as two M.2 ports, both of which support PCIe 3.0 x4 speeds.

Speaking of PCIe, the board has three PCIE 3.0 ports, which supports NVIDIA’s SLI in a two-way configuration and AMD’s CrossFIreX in a three-way configuration. I/O is pretty standard stuff, with the inclusion of two USB 3.1 ports, both Type-A and Type-C, four USB 3.0 ports, a HDMI port and a DisplayPort.

One distinguishing feature on the Z270E is the ASUS Aura RGB lighting support. The plate that covers the I/O ports on the motherboard light up into dozens of colours, and adds a sort of coolness to it that is otherwise not found on many other motherboards.

As far as performance goes, the Z270E does as well as can be expected. Performance margins over the Skylake platform are marginal at best, but it’s still leaps and bounds better than anything that came out prior to that.

With native support for features like USB 3.1, Thunderbolt and Intel’s upcoming 3D XPoint storage devices, as well as lower power draw of the Kaby Lake processor, the feature set is really the big draw point for an upgrade such as this, rather than the performance vs Skylake.

CHIP CONCLUDE: If you need to upgrade from a platform that’s around three or four year’s old, the ASUS ROG STRIX Z270E motherboard is a pretty straight forward and simple solution to consider, especially if you still want all the bells and whistles that come from the new Kaby Lake platform.

(previously published in issue January 2016)