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

BIOS and Overclocking …

Get fast to the right UEFI settings …

BIOS and Overclocking
ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac overclocking
ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac memory settings
ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac voltage settings
Overclock even easier
BIOS undervolting
Fan control

BIOS and overclocking …

Let us continue with the BIOS / UEFI Setup options and the UEFI overclocking. By pressing F2 or Del during PC boot, you get access to the UEFI Setup.

The ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac UEFI has a graphical interface that allows intuitive operation with the mouse, or can be operated still as usual with a keyboard.

For beginners there is also the ASRock EZ Mode – so Easy Mode, an entry page with most important information and is still not looking overloaded. It offers basic information such as time, date, CPU temperature, motherboard temperature, CPU voltage, first details about the hardware, fan speeds, as well as an adjustment of the fan with one click.

Some applications were grouped together in a tools page.

Who like to see more details about the installed hardware, there is also the System Browser view, where you can view graphically which components are installed in the PC.

With a click on the component you can get more information and with a click on the I/O panel you can see the installed devices of each port.

Of course, you can also set the time and date over the EZ menu.

More functions can be activated with keyboard shortcuts or using the F-keys, here’s a list with all ASRock BIOS shortcuts.

With the F6 key you can get back to the ASRock advanced mode after a short confirm, which you can also set as standard option. Overclockers start probably already with the Advanced mode or directly with the Tweaker menu or the favorite menu, but more on that later.

In Advanced Mode you can see at the first screen the UEFI version, the installed CPU, DDR4 memory with dual channel support, a language selection and the My Favorite menu item.

The My Favorite feature is very useful, because you can add here often needed menu items. You start with a blank page – it’s unfortunately also blank after a BIOS update.

Simply select the desired menu item, then press F5 and the feature is added or removed from the my favorite overview page. Here is a selection of some favorites.

The Z270 motherboard has a selection to view the UEFI in Full HD and also offers the Active Page on Entry selection, where you can decide which UEFI page you want to see when you enter the UEFI Setup. This is very helpful mainly for overclocking, since one have to enter the second OC Tweaker menu very often to find the best OC settings. Or you just add all necessary points to the My Favorite overview and start directly to the My Favorite overview page. At the ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac you find the Active Page on Entry option and the Full HD UEFI selection now in Advanced.

UEFI BIOS Update …

Before we begin with the UEFI overclocking settings, we first update the UEFI BIOS to the latest version. ASRock offers some different ways to flash the UEFI update, e.g. the very simple Instant Flash or the ASRock Internet Flash with a direct connection to the Internet. By the so-called ASRock Instant Flash option in the tool screen or via F6 during PC start you get into the ASRock Instant Flash utility. You can easily flash a previously downloaded ASRock BIOS without a boot CD or similar by simply starting the ASRock Instant Flash utility. Just select the BIOS Flash ROM from the desired drive, like an USB stick.

This time we’ve selected the ASRock Internet Flash option to check if and which UEFI is available. The board was already supplied with the BIOS P1.20. At testing date, this UEFI BIOS version P1.20 was the newest download. Usually you just confirm the UEFI update and the new UEFI will be updated.

Then the new UEFI version is available after restart and can be checked directly on the entry page.

If you need technical UEFI support, you can even contact the ASRock Tech Service over the UEFI setup by an internet connection.

On the tool page, you can find by the way a system browser view, where you can see and overview with all installed components.

OMG – the Online Management Guard to restrict online time access by the way is no more available in UEFI.

ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac overclocking …

ASRock split the OC-Tweaker settings for this ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac in CPU Configuration, DRAM Configuration and Voltage Configuration.

A look at the CPU configuration shows many OC options for the Intel LGA1151 CPU overclocking.

One can set the BCLK/PCIE frequency in this menu from 100 MHz to 538.2 MHz. This frequency is very important for a lot of frequencies also with Intel LGA1151 processors, which can get quickly too high. For this reason, you should increase the BCLK host clock very carefully.

In our tests the board could be stable overclocked to 290 MHz !!! BCLK ! New record on HWBot !

Intel “K” CPUs have an unlocked multiplier, so one can overclock the CPU frequency very extensively over the CPU multiplier. With a 7600K CPU (default clock 3800 MHz with a CPU ratio of 38x), the ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac motherboard offered a multiplier range from 8x to 120x. In addition to the CPU ratio and BCLK settings there’re of course many more settings.

ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac memory settings …

In the DRAM configuration menu you will find all important memory settings.

Thanks to XMP support, XMP memory modules can be set correctly by one mouse click in the UEFI by selecting the desired profile in the DRAM configuration.

There are DDR4 memory settings like e.g. the memory frequency from DDR4-800 …

… up to DDR4-4133.

With manual BCLK overclocking and the correct RAM modules, significantly higher memory clock rates are possible. The frequency of all memory modules is calculated and displayed after changing the reference clock to make it much easier adjusting to the right RAM frequency.

Optionally you can manually adjust all DDR4 timings:

The ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac offers a DRAM Tweaker menu and an overview of all SPD and XMP values to select them directly.

ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac voltage settings …

Now we come to the voltage settings that can be adjusted in the UEFI.

The Z270 voltage settings are found in Voltage Configuration and not like Intel X299 separated in FIVR Configuration and Voltage Configuration.

Here are the settings for the voltage configuration. The motherboard offers many voltage settings, like for example a VCore selection with the Intel Core i5-7600K Test CPU from 0.900 Volt to 1.500 Volt and -0.100 to +0.200 Offset, PCH +1.0V Voltage 0.900 to 1.140V, VCCIO Voltage 0.850 to 1.200V, VCC PLL Voltage 1.100 to 1.500V, CPU Internal PLL Voltage 0.900 to 1.095 Volt, CPU Core Current Limit, GT Slice Current Limit, Short Duration Power Limit, Long Duration Power Limit, Long Duration Maintained, being high overclocking settings for the Intel Kaby Lake CPU.

The DDR4 voltage could be increased between 1.100 and 1.500 Volt, DRAM Activating Power Supply from 2.500 to 2.700V for high DDR4 memory overclocking or undervolting.

ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac even easier overclocking …

If you do not like to get deeper inside of overclocking, you can overclock either by the Load Optimized CPU OC Setting to try overclocking with predefined OC settings. It can increase the system performance automatically by overclocking in different Turbo steps – at least with some luck and if it is possible with your processor. Simply select the desired Optimized CPU OC setting; then some components and the CPU are overclocked, e.g. to Turbo 4.4 GHz, Turbo 4.5 GHz, Turbo 4.6 GHz, Turbo 4.7 GHz or Turbo 4.8 GHz – overclocking could not be easier!

Here you can see the Load Optimized CPU OC Settings for the Intel Kaby Lake 7600K CPU.

And here you can see the load optimized GPU OC settings of Intel Kaby Lake 7600K processor, if you use the iGPU.

Who rather would like to overclock in Windows, can adjust many of the above voltage and frequency settings even with the ASRock F-Stream tool.

Highest overclocking should set manually for each value, to be able adjusting all values in detail for the installed hardware. We give you overclocking help in our PC Forum (German and English OC community available).

Once the desired settings are found, you can save up to five different OC Tweaker BIOS settings with names in the UEFI. For example, you can save balanced BIOS settings, overclocking settings and undervolting settings or Office and Gaming settings in an user profile of the UEFI to load them very quickly at any time.

Also interesting is the new Save User UEFI Setup Profile to Disk option. Just click it to save your own UEFI settings on the hard drive or an USB stick.

BIOS Undervolting …

The downclocking or underclocking is also tested in this review. It was possible to lower the Intel Core-i5-7600K CPU multiplier over the BIOS to 8x to underclock the processor with 100 MHz BCLK to approx. 800 MHz. Of course, underclocking is like overclocking outside of the manufacturers specification, so it is necessary to have some luck. ASRock gives several options for easy PC underclocking / downclocking.

Of course there are more UEFI settings like CPU, Chipset, Storage, Intel Thunderbolt, Super IO, ACPI, USB Configuration and Trusted Computing setup.

If you want to save energy consumption of the Intel PC, you should check all settings in the CPU configuration menu under Advanced.

But also the other settings like PCIe Ports performance, etc. in Advanced Chipset Configuration are interesting.

Manual deactivation of each individual USB ports is also possible.

Fan control …

The UEFI Setup of the passive cooled Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac motherboard offers extensive temperature fan control options for 4-pin or 3-pin CPU fans. The settings for the fan controller can be found in H/W Monitor directly below the temperature und voltage display.

Here are settings for the CPU Fans, chassis fan or W_Pump switch. There is also a selection of time to raise and lower the fan speed and the motherboard automatically detects if a 4-pin fan or a 3-pin fan is connected at the 4-pin chassis fan connector and fits the type of control (PWM or analog) accordingly to.

You have the choice between Customize, Silent, Standard, Performance and Full Speed. In Customize mode are several temperature steps available to assign a certain fan speed.

Here you can see the settings of the fan controller and the timing settings for increasing or lowering the fan speed.

Now, you can adjust the speed to the temperature in several steps.

Since the announcement of X99 motherboards, ASRock has even implemented a graphical interface in the UEFI setup for controlling the fans. You can find the FAN-Tastic Tuning menu also in the H/W monitor and thus can make all the settings very clearly. Simply select the respective fan connector on the left and select the mode on the right side – e.g. Performance.

In Customize mode, you can set all values directly in the chart and save them.

For the chassis fan connectors you can even select which source you want to use for temperature measurement – Monitor CPU Sensor or Monitor Motherboard Sensor. Then click on apply and save the values.

You can usually get along without an expensive Fan Controller, because the fans are controlled with this fan control based on CPU or motherboard temperature. And even on a control of the 3-pin chassis fan was thought.

Who would rather set the values in the Windows, can use also the ASRock F-Stream tool.

When everything is set, just save with the F10 key and confirm.

ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac energy consumption …