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ASRock's 5Gbit Journey and the Z270 SuperCarrier

By: Steven Bassiri | Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: Apr 20, 2017 3:03 am

The Z270 SuperCarrier and Its 5Gbit NIC

 

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The Z270 SuperCarrier offers the 5Gbit NIC, two 1Gbit NICs, Wireless-AC, 4-way SLI/CrossFireX, three Ultra M.2 slots, ThunderBolt 3, and even overclocking features. If you want to know what we think of the motherboard, our review is located here. If you want to know more about the multi-GPU capabilities and the triple M.2 slots on the motherboard, the last pages cover those features.

 

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The motherboard's VRM is built with quality components. With multiple phases using Texas Instruments NexFETs matched with an International Rectifier digital PWM, 60A chokes, and 12K capacitors, it's total overkill for any LGA1151 CPU.

 

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The Z270 SuperCarrier (top) and Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming i7 (bottom) are two of ASRock's top Z270 chipset motherboards. The Z270 SuperCarrier offers Thunderbolt 3 and 4-way SLI/CrossFireX over the Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming i7. In this article, I will have both boards use their 5Gbit NICs to transfer large files. ASRock has also ensured that both motherboards get dual Intel NICs to compliment the 5Gbit Aquantia NIC, as well as Wireless-AC.

 

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The Aquantia 5Gbit NIC does get warm, and ASRock has installed a dedicated heat sink to cool it down.

 

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These three chips provide the high-bandwidth features on the Z270 SuperCarrier. Intel's ThunderBolt 3 controller is used with two Texas Instruments Type-C controllers to produce two ThunderBolt 3 ports. The Avago PEX8747 doubles the x16 upstream ports from the CPU to x32 downstream ports to support x16/x16, x16/x8/x8, or x8/x8/x8/x8 configurations for 2-Way, 3-way, and 4-Way SLI/CrossFireX. Finally, we have the Aquantia AQC108 5Gbit NIC, which we will cover now.

 

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The Aquantia AQC108 is a four-speed NIC that incorporates both the MAC and PHY into a single package. It supports the NBase-T standard up to 5Gbps and offers 2.5Gbps, 1Gbps, and 100Mbps operation. It connects to the system through a PCI-E 3.0 x1, x2, or x4 connection, and to the rest of the world through either Cat5e or Cat6a cabling up to 100m long. The chip has a 3W TDP, and ASRock cools it down with a tiny heat sink.

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