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AORUS Z270X-GAMING 7 Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Jan 3, 2017 5:15 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: AORUS

Packaging and Overview

 

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AORUS is not hiding the fact that it is owned by GIGABYTE; I much prefer the AORUS branding. The box is sleek and simple. The packaging should keep everything protected.

 

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The accessory package includes four SATA6Gb/s cables, RGBW extension cable, two external temperature sensor cables, iGPU output dust protectors, GIGABYTE G-Connector, AORUS cable stickers, two AORUS Velcro cable ties, AORUS case badge, a SLI HB bridge, IO shield (with Intel and Killer NIC markings), and manuals/driver DVD.

 

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One of the biggest improvements the Z270X-Gaming 7 offers over its predecessor is fan control. The motherboard has eight 2A PWM or DC mode auto-sensing fan headers; they will detect the type of fan plugged in. The UEFI offers full control over all the fans so that you can set a custom curve without the use of software, and two external temperature sensors (included) can plug into either of the headers circled in green. You can now choose between many different reference temperatures for each fan header, including the temperature of the VRM, PCI-E, PCH, CPU, and either external sensor. These might be the first generation of AORUS branded motherboards, but their fan control is superior to anything GIGABYTE had done in the past.

 

The motherboard has a white and black color theme. I think it's nice looking, and I like the polygon design of the heat sinks and shields, they would match well with NVIDIA's reference Pascal heat sink design. Since black and white match other colors well, and since the board uses RGB LEDs instead of fixed color LEDs, you can choose your own color theme. Some of you are worried about LEDs; I will say now that you can disable all the LEDs or just certain sections, but the sections are limited. The back of the motherboard is bare except for some LEDs.

 

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The IO panel on the Z270X-GAMING 7 features two yellow DAC-UP 2 USB 3.0 ports (adjustable voltage compensation levels), gold plated HDMI 1.4a and DisplayPort, three USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.1 type-C (ThunderBolt 3) and type-A, Intel LAN, Killer LAN, 7.1 gold plated audio ports with S/PDIF optical.

 

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The PCI-E layout is simple; the first and second full sized x16 slots operate using the CPU's x16 PCI-E 3.0 lanes. You can do either x16/x0 or x8/x8. The last x16 slot is connected to the PCH and shares its bandwidth with the nearest M.2 slot (M2P_32G). The U.2 connector does not share bandwidth. All six SATA6Gb/s ports are connected to the Intel Z270 PCH, and some of them share bandwidth with either M.2 slot. The manual specifies the sharing and port availability. Each set of two SATA6Gb/s ports doubles as an SATA Express port.

 

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Two USB 3.0 internal headers get their bandwidth from a Realtek hub, and they also support AORUS's DAC-UP 2, which offers different voltage compensation levels to make up for the voltage drop longer USB cables can produce. Each port has its own dedicated power controller, and you can even disable power if you are connecting to a DAC and only need data. There are two M.2 x4 PCI-E 3.0 slots; the first is located right above the third x16 PCI-E slot.

 

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The second M.2 port sits below the CPU and supports longer M.2 drives. At the right edge of the motherboard is an interchangeable acrylic plastic cutout with an embedded design. Two RGB LEDs tastefully illuminate this strip; it doesn't look tacky, but the 24-pin power connector might block some of the view.

 

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High-end motherboards must carry OC features, at least in my opinion, and the Z270X-Gaming 7 doesn't disappoint. Voltage read points, power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons, as well as OC and ECO mode buttons, are located in the top right corner of the motherboard. I wish AORUS had better labeled which button is reset and which is clear CMOS. For those of you who are allergic to manuals, the white button is reset, and the black is clear CMOS. A POST Code display can be found at the bottom of the motherboard to the right of two USB 2.0 internal headers.

 

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AORUS is the first motherboard vendor I have seen to offer RGBW headers, which are backward compatible with RGB headers. The W stands for white, since the LEDs that use the W have an extra white chip for true white. RGBW offers much better white, an actual white instead of maxed out RGB, and offers more color range since the white can soften colors. That LED Demo connector is not something you will use; it's a power input header used by GIGABYTE for motherboard display purposes (it lights up the LEDs on the board without the motherboard requiring main power).

 

A Dual BIOS switch is located above a Single BIOS mode switch. The dual BIOS switch allows you to choose between either of the two onboard BIOS ROMs, and the single BIOS mode switch will severe inter-BIOS communications and disable automatic BIOS recovery. The CAP switch allows you to choose between x6 and x2.5 gain for the amplifier. The heat sinks and shields are well designed and use screws. The shields are plastic.

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