Micro ATX motherboards mark the spot between the limiting Mini ITX motherboards that are limited to a single expansion slot and the classic ATX motherboards that often offer more than what the user requires. Many users need more than a single PCIe slot but not nearly as many as seven. In this review, we are having a look at the Asus ROG Strix Z270G Gaming, a Micro ATX motherboard based on the Intel Z270 chipset.

We have looked at both Mini ITX and ATX motherboards based on Intel’s Z270 in the past few months, but not yet a Micro ATX motherboard. Although their market share is relatively low, Micro ATX systems are a viable compromise between the very compact but limiting Mini ITX factor and a full-size ATX motherboard. The Asus ROG Strix Z270G Gaming is specifically designed to be the basis of a powerful SLI/Crossfire gaming system that will be a little bit more compact than that of a full-size ATX motherboard.

Asus ROG Strix Z270G Gaming Overview

A quick look at the Asus ROG Strix Z270G Gaming reveals that the Micro ATX motherboard is loaded with features that are directly comparable in quality and number to those of any ATX motherboard around its price range. As it is 59 mm shorter than an ATX motherboard, the Asus ROG Strix Z270G Gaming has three fewer expansion slots. The configuration that Asus went with is two full-length PCIe ×16 slots (×8/×8 in SLI/Crossfire) and two short PCIe ×1 slots. There are two PCIe ×4 M.2 slots and six SATA connectors, which ought to be enough for the storage requirements of any gaming or home entertainment system. There are no native U.2 connectors, but U.2 drives can be connected to the M.2 slots by using appropriate adapters. Asus does not add any SATA Express connectors on most of their gaming range motherboards and the ROG Strix Z270G Gaming is, expectedly, no exception to that rule.

The controllers of the ROG Strix Z270G Gaming motherboard are interesting, yet nothing out of the ordinary for a motherboard of this class. For audio, Asus is particularly proud about their “Supreme FX” audio system that implements the Realtek ALC S1220A (aka ALC1220A) audio CODEC and is placing a lot of their marketing efforts on it. The single wired Gigabit LAN chipset is the very popular Intel I219-V, with Asus expressively advertising the implementation of their surge protection feature called “LANGuard”. Asus has also added a WiFi/Bluetooth module from Qualcomm (Atheros QCNFA364A). Finally, there are two USB 3.1 controllers from ASMedia, one for the rear USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (one Type-A and one Type-C) and one for the internal USB 3.1 Gen 2 header. At this point, we should also mention that the ROG Strix Z270G Gaming is the first Z270 motherboard that we have tested that has an internal USB 3.1 Gen 2 header.

From our testing, the Asus ROG Strix Z270G Gaming performs well under its default settings, with the spotlight being its extraordinary audio performance. In terms of raw speed and/or stability, it does not differentiate from any other typical Z270 motherboard, except when compared to models that do not have multi-core turbo enabled by default or are practicing overclocking under their default setup. We also acquired very good overclocking results that will certainly please more advanced users who are planning on building a very powerful cost-effective gaming system.

Motherboard Comparison
  Asus ROG STRIX Z270G GAMING
Socket LGA1151 LGA1151
MSRP at Review $349 $140
DRAM 4 x DDR4 4 x DDR4
PCIe Layout ×8/×8 x8/x8
BIOS Version Tested 0604 2.00
MCT Enabled Automatically? Yes Yes
USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) 2 × ASMedia ASM2142 None
M.2 Slots 2 x PCIe 3.0 x4 2 x PCIe 3.0 x4
U.2 Ports No No
Network Controller 1 x Intel I219-V
1 x Qualcomm QCNFA364A
1 x Intel I219-V
Audio Controller Realtek ALC1220A Realtek ALC892
HDMI 2.0 No No

Other AnandTech Reviews for Intel’s 7th Generation CPUs and 200-Series Motherboards

($110The ECS Z270H4-I Durathon 2 Review
($140The ASRock Z270 Killer SLI Review
($140The MSI Z270 SLI PLUS Review
($159The ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/AC Review
($170The Asus Prime Z270-A
($170The GIGABYTE Z270X-Ultra Gaming
($349The ASRock Z270 Supercarrier Motherboard Review

The Intel Core i7-7700K (91W) Review
The Intel Core i5-7600K (91W) Review
The Intel Core i3-7350K (60W) Review
CPU Buyer's Guide

In comparison to the older Z170 boards, the Z270 boards on the base specifications are hardly any different. The Z270 ones have four extra PCIe lanes configurable on the chipset, potentially new audio and new networking controllers, and Intel Optane Technology Support. Although four extra PCIe lanes do sound like a huge difference, it is an important upgrade for the implementation of native M.2 slots (on Z170-based motherboards, this usually meant disabling some other device/port on the motherboard). Also, note that Intel Optane drives should still function on other chipsets as drives; the Z270 only allows them to enable their “smart caching” technology.

The Intel Optane Memory (SSD) Preview: 32GB of Kaby Lake Caching

Individual motherboard manufacturers will be sprinkling on new features onto their Z270 products to aid the transition and provide other tangible benefits over the old platform. To read specifically about the Z170 chip/platform and the specifications therein, our deep dive into what it is can be found at this link.

A Small Note on USB Naming

One thing that we should note is that the advent of the Z270 chipset brought a change on the naming of the USB ports. What we knew as USB 3.0 ports are now being dubbed as “USB 3.1 Gen 1” and the 10Gbps ports are now called “USB 3.1 Gen 2”. We first encountered this change while reviewing the MSI Z270 SLI Plus a few months ago but it seems that most of the manufacturers are following suit, rewriting their websites and reprinting their manuals. Users need to be extra careful when very high bandwidth connectors are essential.

Visual Inspection
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  • DanNeely - Tuesday, October 03, 2017 - link

    Just to try and head the peanut gallery off at the pass. Based on something that either Ian or Ryan said a few days ago on twitter this should be the last board from the Z270 backlog. Reply
  • Gothmoth - Tuesday, October 03, 2017 - link

    take a look at the mainboard reviews here an anandtech and tell me anandtech is not biased.
    count the intel reviews then count the AMD reviews.

    full reviews for intel boards and "overviews" for AMD boards.

    and no, the reason is not that there are less AMD boards then intel boards.
    why not at least review the few AMD boards that exist?

    they rather preview Z270 boards then spending time on threadripper or AM4 boards.

    while AMD sells better in europe than intel for the past 3 month.
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, October 03, 2017 - link

    We've got two AMD motherboard reviews being edited this week for next week. Our new motherboard review team, all of whom are in different corners of the world, is slowly coming up to speed. In case you didn't notice, E.Fyll has been doing our Z270 reviews this year and only Z270 - the other reviewers are taking on other chipsets - Joe for X299, Gavin for AM4. E.Fyll is likely to take TR4 now, and when Patrick gets back from his vacation, he's likely to take the Z370 content. Reply
  • MajGenRelativity - Tuesday, October 03, 2017 - link

    I'm looking forward to seeing more motherboard reviews :) I appreciate the quality content Reply
  • Flunk - Tuesday, October 03, 2017 - link

    Since Anandtech doesn't buy the gear they review, they can only review whatever the manufacturer sends them. If ASUS sends them 4 Intel boards and one AMD board, that's what they review. Reply
  • smilingcrow - Tuesday, October 03, 2017 - link

    "while AMD sells better in europe than intel for the past 3 month."

    Is that based on the data for one webtailer or the whole of Europe?
    For all CPUs or just a range?
    I doubt that AMD currently have the capacity to supply that much of the retail market but if that's what they have done it's amazing.
    Reply
  • Gothmoth - Tuesday, October 03, 2017 - link

    yeah i will buy Z270 now that Z370 is released in 2 days.....

    great job on doing timely reviews. tremendous job.
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, October 03, 2017 - link

    As per my tweet a few days ago, just getting the last ones out. The platform is still going to exist for a couple of years, with retail sales of both motherboards and processors. Reviews are still relevant. Reply
  • reckless76 - Tuesday, October 03, 2017 - link

    Just wanted to chime in since you're being forced to defend yourself, that I appreciate all your reviews, whenever they're posted. I'm not in the market for new parts now, but I have in the past and will be again in the future. Your site has always been an invaluable resource, so thank you. Reply
  • notR1CH - Wednesday, October 04, 2017 - link

    I bought this board based only on the spec sheet when the 7700k came out as there were no reviews at the time. It's nice to know that I got a good board even if the review is late, in particular I had no idea the onboard audio was that good, I figured it was all just marketing. Reply

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