The ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac Review


The Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac is ASRock’s attempt to deliver a high performance, flexible Mini ITX motherboard, capable of fulfilling the needs of most advanced PC users. In order to achieve that goal, ASRock had to squeeze a huge number of features on the tiny Mini ITX PCB, more than what we usually find on middle range ATX motherboards. The sheer number of supported devices/connectors is outstanding for a Mini ITX motherboard.

Mini ITX motherboards are inherently limited to a single expansion card slot but the Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac supports an extensive number of drives, with only one M.2 drive slot but six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, two of which form a SATA Express port for users that want to be on the safe side in case the interface gains market traction. USB device support is very good, with six USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A connectors at the rear I/O panel, plus two internal headers for additional USB 3.1 Gen 1 and two USB 2.0 devices. The Intel Thunderbolt 3 connector supports numerous compatible devices, ranging from NAS drives to monitors, but also doubles as a typical USB 3.1 Gen 2 port. Note that the Intel JHL6240 Thunderbolt 3 chipset only has two PCIe lanes and could become a bandwidth bottleneck with high performance eGPU devices.

ASRock also chose the subsystem controllers of the  Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac very carefully, so as to cover the needs of every advanced user. The Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN controller is a very popular and proven device, allowing enough bandwidth control options for any kind of user. Similarly, sound is important for advanced HTPC users and gamers alike, so ASRock went with one of the best audio controllers currently available, the Realtek ALC1220, and supported it with an excellent audio circuit and an additional front panel audio amplifier from Texas Instruments. The Intel AC 7265 WiFi/Bluetooth card is known to be a very good performer as well, providing stable connections and capable of speeds up to 867 Mbps. We also found the Bluetooth range to be excellent, significantly superior than that of typical USB-based adapters.

The presence of an HDMI 2.0 port onboard is a rare and interesting feature that will please both HTPC users that do not plan to perform any gaming and gamers that want to connect a 4K TV as a secondary monitor. While Intel’s integrated graphics are unable to provide usable 3D performance at such a high resolution, the 2D performance is more than enough, saving HTPC builders from the additional cost of a discrete GPU.

The Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac also has an outstanding power circuitry for a motherboard of this size and class, surpassing in the power output and quality of most mainstream Z270-based motherboards that we have tested recently. As a result, the Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac is an excellent motherboard for casual overclocking. The range and step of the voltage control settings may not be great but the maximum values are much higher than what any user would ever use for a stable, reliable system. With the use of an advanced liquid-based cooling system and an Intel 7700K processor with a well-attached lid, stable overclocks well above 5 GHz should be easily attainable.

Undoubtedly, the Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac is one of the most feature-packed Mini ITX motherboards that we have ever seen. The sheer number of features and connectors make the Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac a suitable motherboard for any advanced user that needs to build a compact gaming/entertainment system. It could even be easily used as the basis of a rather powerful home server, capable of simultaneously serving as an entertainment system, a NAS/media server, and a surveillance system server/recorder. The current ($159) retail price of the Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac is more than reasonable for a Mini ITX motherboard with such numerous features and quality subsystems, making it the ideal choice for almost any user that wants to build a powerful, yet compact system.

Recommended by AnandTech
The ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming ITX/ac

Gaming Performance


View All Comments

  • GeorgeH - Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - link

    100-1 something is overheating and the board is just fine. Reply
  • only1jv - Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - link

    that's what i figured, so i tried a different GPU, same result. I even swapped the PSU, same result. Swapped the memory, same result.

    The only thing i haven't swapped is the CPU but i'm running the Corsair H100i AIO watercooler and have never seen temps on it go above 70c.

    I figure it has to be the mobo itself because it would even lockup while in the BIOS.

    Oh and yes, i already requested an RMA. Just wanted to share my experience with this mobo after seeing this review and how after a few months it's now failing on me.
  • Ej24 - Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - link

    It was probably the VRM for delivering power to the cpu that was overheating causing the issue. There's no monitoring software for that so most people forget about it. Maybe you got some particularly hot chokes, mosfets, or caps that were just prone to overheating. At any rate, hope the RMA goes well. Reply
  • sonny73n - Thursday, September 21, 2017 - link

    Last month I ran into the same problem but with Asus MB. Most of the time "clock_watchdog_timeout" error appeared when it froze. The weather then was about 100F in Southern Ca. CPU stock HSF replaced + case opened = problem solved. Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - link

    Allow me to introduce you to this magical concept know as "RMA". Reply
  • lucam - Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - link

    Still no iPad Pro review yet..:( Reply
  • Beaver M. - Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - link

    I would really like to know why they removed 1 USB port at the IO panel.
    It was still there on the Z170 version.
    Also putting in WiFi as part of the board, that cant be removed, is not a good idea either. They might have saved some space on the board, but they didnt use it (for example more USB headers), and instead wasted space on the IO panel. Some people just dont need WiFi and/or Bluetooth.

    Also why doesnt AT test if the notorious ASRock USB problem with long or extended cables still exists, which could only be fixed by taking an non-Intel USB chip (either if one is on the board, or an extra PCIe card)? It has been known for at least 5 years...
  • DanNeely - Thursday, September 21, 2017 - link

    They probably used a cheaper 1x USB3.1g2 controller. A year or two ago I don't think that budget version was available yet. Reply
  • bak0n - Thursday, September 21, 2017 - link

    I find it odd that they release it now, when the 370's are right around to corner. A bit late to the game for my taste. Reply
  • mickulty - Thursday, September 21, 2017 - link

    The 87350D mosfets (actually "power blocks" integrating high and low sides) are actually supplied by TI - NexFET is the range that they're from. Reply

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