The GIGABYTE Z270X Ultra Gaming is the spiritual successor of the GIGABYTE Z170X Ultra Gaming that we reviewed last year, sharing almost the same features and selling for roughly the same price. One of this motherboard’s most prominent features is the native U.2 drive support and the presence of two SATA Express connectors. There is only one M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slot, supporting devices up to 110 mm long, and six SATA 6Gb/s connectors. Neither the M.2 or the U.2 slots share their bandwidth with other components, but each of the SATA Express connectors will occupy two SATA connectors if used.
Like almost every modern motherboard, the GIGABYTE Z270X Ultra Gaming features a graphical UEFI BIOS that defaults to a simple, single page “easy mode”. This mode is generally informative and the user can only change the boot sequence, enable the RAM X.M.P. mode and/or the Intel Rapid Storage technology, and switch between a few pre-programmed overclocking/power saving modes. In order to access more options and features, the user needs to enter the “classic” mode.
With the GIGABYTE Z270X Ultra Gaming, the company’s engineers had to design a motherboard that is both practical and also aesthetically appealing. A quick look on the motherboard had us thinking that they did an outstanding job overall. Almost all of the motherboard’s internal connector headers are across the bottom edge of the PCB, where the cables can be easily routed to with minimal practical and visual interference. The two USB 3.0 headers that have been cleverly placed next to the ATX connector, allowing the thicker cables to be routed alongside the ATX or PCIe power cables. The Thunderbolt card connector is right above the SATA Express connectors. There is no COM port header.
GIGABYTE implemented metal braces on the two PCIe 3.0 ×16 slots and on the RAM slots, minimizing the flexing of the motherboard that can be caused either by the use of excessive force during installation or by the installation of heavy hardware components. There is no metal brace on the third full-length PCIe ×16 slot (which runs at ×4 maximum), as the designers clearly expect that only lightweight devices will be installed there. The GIGABYTE Z270X Ultra Gaming has no onboard power/reset switches.
The removal of the chipset’s heatsinks revealed a frightfully bad contact with the core. These chipsets hardly need any cooling but this could impede the longevity and the overclocking capabilities of the motherboard. The VRM heatsinks were making much better contact with the components but the use of plastic clips and tension springs to support them is not very appealing.
Of course, Thunderbolt 3 devices are still relatively new and it’s not a feature many obsess about on budget-friendly solutions. To coincide with today’s launch, Gigabyte unveiled the Z270X-Ultra Gaming which supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 via an ASMedia controller and other NVMe storage options. Also, the motherboard has an Intel Gigabit LAN, Realtek ALC1220 audio with 120dB signal-to-noise ratio and incorporates the company’s stylish RGB lighting system. Not only that, the product opts for five hybrid fan headers, six temperature sensors and durable armour shielding. As you can see, this is an excellent specification and I’m expecting the motherboard to offer a great upgrade path without breaking the bank.
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