The ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Reviewby E. Fylladitakis on September 19, 2017 9:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- Mini ITX
- Z270 Gaming ITX/ac
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
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jjj - Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - link6 months after launch and AT is yet to review a single Ryzen mobo.
nathanddrews - Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - linkYou should buy some and send them to AT.
sonny73n - Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - link"You should buy some and send them to AT."
Without AT's permission or agreement to do a review? Or are you just being a foul mouth?
Oxford Guy - Monday, September 25, 2017 - linkHow about buying Asrock one of its 170 boards so it can fix the BIOS for it with the code Intel gave them in April.
But, hey — who needs to worry about random crash bugs from a hyperthreading flaw?
Gavin Bonshor - Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - linkYou can expect a wave of them coming very soon :)
Ian Cutress - Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - linkWe've had zero dedicated motherboard reviewers at AT for most of the year, as I'm spending all my time on CPU testing (or perhaps you'd want me to forgo the CPU tests?). I've been building a team in the interim to take care of MB review duties. Should be in full swing from about this point on.
jjj - Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - linkInteresting attitude and misleading statement.
You had 4 mobo reviews after the Ryzen launch , staff or no staff and it's statistically significant that none is for a Ryzen mobo. If you add context like interest in the product, value offered, it becomes more than odd.
What's the cause, that's for you to figure out and adjust but that seems unlikely given your attitude. - "or perhaps you'd want me to forgo the CPU tests?)"
In the end, you lose money by not serving the market.
DanNeely - Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - linkAll by a single reviewer - who also does all the case, PSU, and keyboard reviews too and thus has limited free time available - and on a single platform. The latter is because as a distributed team Anandtech doesn't have a single office to store all their stuff. Each reviewer needs his/her own set of parts to test with; and for consistency the same parts (particularly the CPU for OCing) need to be the same for everything done on the platform. To avoid spending large amounts on shipping and customs fees that means any part time mobo reviewers are probably only going to have a single platform. E. Fylladitakis is doing Z270. One or more of the newbies is working on Ryzen.
There was a tweet a few days ago (don't recall if from Ian or Ryan) about having gotten 5 submissions from the new mobo reviewers that need edited. Since we haven't seen anything except the x399 overview article on the subject from a newish Author (Joe Shields started in July) they're presumably all still being revised to site standards. I'd imagine at least some of the Ryzen mobo reviews you're looking for are coming soon.
Gothmoth - Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - linksince anand is gone it´s spiraling down the drain
realistz - Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - linkForum is a mess too. It's run by pro-AMD mods.