ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac Intel LGA 1151 Motherboard Review

Get fast to the right Hardware Equipment …

Layout, Design and Features
ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac Equipment and other features
ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac Expansion cards
ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac Memory
ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac HDD/SDD connectors
ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac USB and FireWire
ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac Network
ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac Sound
ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac ATX back panel connectors
ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac Test System

Layout, Design and Features …

As already explained in the unboxing video on our OCinside YouTube Channel, you can not only install the latest Intel Kaby Lake processors on this Z270 board, but also the previous Intel Sky Lake processors.

Here is the ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac unboxing video (English subtitles):

Here you see the stylish, black and white cardboard box of the ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac Socket 1151 motherboard.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_1

The back of the box shows some features like the fast Intel Thunderbolt USB 3.1 Typ-C Port, Intel Optane Modul support, Dual-Band WiFi, Ultra M.2 and much more.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_2

After removing and opening the box, we take a first look at the contents.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_3

Already at the first glance this ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac sapphire black board looks very high-quality processed. It has very durable Nichicon 12K Black Caps, Premium 60A Power Chokes, 12 Power Phase Design, Digi power, Dual-Stack MOSFET and 7.1 HD Purity Sound 4 over ALC1220 with Nichicon Fine Gold Audio capacitors, 120dB SNR DAC and TI NE5532 headset amplifier.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_4

On the picture you can see the new PCIe Steel Slot.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_5

On the PCB back is the Ultra M.2 slot, where you can install conventional 2260 or 2280 M.2 modules. We have tested the Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac with a Crucial MX300 M.2 SSD.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_6

Here you can see the two internal USB3.0 header, above the SATA Express 10 Gb/s Port, in addition the vertical USB3.0 Type-A port, a few of the high-quality Nichicon 12 K Black Caps and the 24-pin ATX power connector.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_7

On the next picture you can see a motherboard side view with both heat sinks made of aluminium alloy, which are connected with a heat pipe. We show the distribution of heat at the end of this page with a thermal imaging camera.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_8

Equipment and other features …

The ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac motherboard came with a manual, software setup guide, DVD, two SATA data cables, a screw for the M.2 socket, ASRock WiFi 2.4/5 GHz antenna and an ATX I/O shield. USB Slot brackets and the ASRock 3.5-inch USB 3.0 front panel are optional available.

The ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac offers numerous features like for example the ASRock F-Stream Tool, ASRock Instant Flash, ASRock Internet Flash, ASRock UEFI System Browser, ASRock Easy RAID Installer, ASRock Easy Driver Installer, ASRock UEFI Tech Service, 8 Power Phase Design, Digi Power and ASRock FAN-Tastic Tuning.

Expansion cards …

The board offers four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots for a graphics card with x16 bandwidth.

Memory …

The ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac can be equipped with up to four DDR4 modules and is expandable depending upon operating system used (see list) up to maximally 32 GB memory.

Here is a picture of both DDR4 memory slots with dual channel support.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_9

The Intel LGA1151 motherboard supports DDR4 memory modules and can be optimized in the BIOS for DDR4-2400 Dual Channel modules with Intel Kaby Lake processor and up to DDR4-2133 Dual Channel modules when using an Intel Sky Lake processor. UEFI offers the selection for DDR4-800, DDR4-900, DDR4-933, DDR4-1000, DDR4-1066, DDR4-1100, DDR4-1200, DDR4-1300, DDR4-1333, DDR4-1400, DDR4-1466, DDR4-1500, DDR4-1600, DDR4-1700 … up to DDR4-4133 and higher clock-rates are currently possible with Intel BCLK overclocking.

Thanks to XMP support (Intel Extreme Memory Profiles), XMP memory modules are set correctly with one mouse click in the UEFI and of course there are far more memory adjustments and more OC-options, but more on that later. Before buying the RAM, you should check the officially supported RAM modules at the ASRock memory support page.

HDD/SDD connectors …

The ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac offers ten angled SATA3 ports and two shared SATA Express 10 Gb/s ports.

Here you can see the SATA3 ports, whereby with installed M.2 module, the SATA_3_0 port will be disabled.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_10

The SATA 3 ports are supporting RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel Rapid Storage Technology 15, Intel Smart Response Technology, NCQ, AHCI and the Hot Plug function in AHCI mode (AHCI stands for Advanced Host Controller Interface and can/should be selected in the UEFI). Thanks to the UEFI BIOS also drives with more than 2 TB for the installation of Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 7 x64 can be installed. Installing the drivers was absolutely no problem with Windows 10 and the Windows 10 installation was done very quickly. At review date, there were only beta drivers for Windows 7 HD 630 video card available, so we have installed Windows 10 for the Integrated GPU tests.

Drivers for Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7 32-Bit and 64-Bit can be installed over the Easy Driver Installer or Easy RAID Installer button in the UEFI, are provided on the DVD, and can be downloaded at the ASRock support page. Where the Windows 10 installation should be currently preferred.

USB and FireWire …

The ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac has a Thunderbolt 3 (compatible with USB 3.1 Typ-C and USB-C Display) port at the ATX panel, which can be inserted in both directions.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_11

Furthermore this Fatal1ty Killer motherboard offers a special Fatal1ty Mouse Port, which you can configure by the supplied F-stream software, to set the mouse sample.

Furthermore it has five USB 3.0 Type-A ports on the ATX Panel. Internally there is one more USB 2.0 connectors for up to two optional USB 2.0 ports, as well as one USB 3.0 connector for up to two optional USB3.0 ports. The 20-pin connector can be connected either to an optional USB3.0 front panel or to an enclosure with USB3.0 support.

Network …

The ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac motherboard is equipped with an Intel I219V, offering the 10/100/1000 network connector on the ATX panel. The LAN connections are WoL capable, offers LAN cable detection, supports the 802.3az energy efficient Ethernet standard and supports Intel Remote Wake Technology, ASRock Full Spike Protection, PXE and more. Additionally the ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac has onboard WLAN 2,4/5 GHz IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with up to 433 Mbps transfer rate.

Sound …

The ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac motherboard is equipped with the ALC1220 audio codec with content protection, 120dB SNR DAC, TI NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier and Creative SoundBlaster Cinema3, which supports 7.1 surround sound for example analog over 6x 3.5mm connectors on the ATX panel or over an internal front panel audio connector. The left and the right channel has even different board layers. Additionally, there is an optical SPDIF digital output and premium Blu-Ray audio support. So most users do not need to buy an additional sound card with digital outputs.

ATX back panel connectors …

From left to right, you can see Clear CMOS button, WiFi antenna connectors, 1x PS/2 connector for PS/2 keyboard or PS/2 mouse and USB 3.0 Fatal1ty mouse port and and USB 3.0, optical SPDIF output and DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1x Thunderbolt 3, Intel RJ45 Gigabit LAN and 2x USB 3.0 Type-A, 2x USB 3.0, 6x 3.5mm jacks for sound.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_12

Test System …

Now we come to the CPU socket: Like the previous Z170 motherboards, the Z270, H270, etc. it also has the LGA1151 Socket. So let us install the new Intel Core-i5 7600K Kaby Lake CPU.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_13

Here you can see the Z270 motherboard with two memory modules installed for dual channel support.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_14

Here you can see the installed memory modules and CPU again from the side.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_15

The following image shows the tiny LGA1151 ITX motherboard on the test system with the new Icy Dock MB171SP-B Turbo Swap for fast replacement of SSD and HDD again from front.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_16

Here you can see a thermal image of the assembled board.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_17

From above without graphics card you can see the heat distribution on the small ASRock Z270 gaming-ITX/ac motherboard.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_18

And so the ASRock Z270 gaming-ITX/ac motherboard looks in an ITX chassis from the company Streacom, which we’ll test soon also in detail. As you can see one can excellently reach all areas of the mainboard even when fully assembled.
asrock_z270_gaming_itx_ac_22

ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac BIOS and Overclocking …