ASRock Z270 Taichi Intel LGA 1151 Motherboard Review

Layout, Design and Features …

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

Here is the ASRock Z270 Taichi unboxing video (English subtitles):
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Here you see the stylish, black and white cardboard box of the ASRock Z270 Taichi Socket 1151 motherboard.

The back of the package shows some features like WiFi, Dual LAN, Aura RGB LED, Triple Ultra M.2 and much more.

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

As most high-quality ASRock motherboards, the Z270 Taichi is bordered in foam for safe transport.

Already at the first glance this ASRock Z270 Taichi 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.

The ASRock Z270 Taichi offers three Ultra M.2 slots for PCIe Gen3 x4 modules with up to 32 GB/s.

On the picture you can see the new PCIe Steel Slots and a M.2 slot, where you can install conventional 2230/2242/2260/2280 M.2 modules and in the right is pictured at the top by the way the IDT 6V41642B BCLK clock generator, which ensures an extremely high BCLK.

Here you can see the Dr. Debug 7-segment LED post code display and an additional Ultra M.2 slot.

We have tested the Z270 Taichi with a Crucial MX300 M.2 SSD.

On this Board, yesterday, we have created the interesting M.2 thermal video with the thermal imaging camera.
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This white 4-pin 12V RGB header is also new. Here, you can connect conventional RGB stripes in order to lighting, for example, the chassis.

ASRock has also RGB LEDs integrated under the chipset heatsink, which can be controlled as desired. The following image shows a few freely-selected colors on the previously tested ASRock Z270 Killer SLI. Here you can see the 24-pin ATX power connector beneath to the internal USB3.0 connector and some of the high-quality capacitors.

The RGB LED header and the integrated RGB LEDs are controlled by the supplied ASRock AURA RGB LED software or over the BIOS – in the course of this review, we’ll explain you all UEFI settings.

Here you can see the two internal USB3.0 header, in addition the vertical USB3.0 Type-A port and the 24-pin ATX power connector as well as a few of the high-quality Nichicon 12 K Black Caps capacitors.

Here you can see a motherboard side view with the protective I/O panel cover (I/O Armor) and the large XXL heat sink made of aluminium alloy, which is carefully installed on the MOSFETs.

Now we come to the CPU socket: Alike the previous Z170 motherboards, the Z270, H270, etc. also have the LGA1151 Socket.

So let us install the new Intel Core-i5 7600K Kaby Lake CPU in the LGA1151 Socket.

This is how two of four possible memory modules have to be installed on this Z270 motherboard to get dual channel mode support. Quad channel unfortunately is still not supported by Z270 motherboards.

Here is again a side view of the correct memory assembly.

Here is the LGA 1151 test system with MSI Radeon R9 280 video card.

And here you can see the Intel test system with the new Icy Dock MB171SP-B Turbo Swap for fast replacement of SSD and HDD again from front, this time without graphics card.

Here you can see a thermal image of assembled board with graphics card.

And so that you can better see how the distribution of heat on the ASRock Z270 Taichi motherboard, we have included a heat image without graphics card and CPU cooler. Even if there are some protections – please don’t imitate! In the left part you see the Intel Z270 heatsink, above the ASMedia ASM1184e PCI express bridge controller, in addition ASMedia ASM1074 USB 3.0 controller, right the CPU and directly above the voltage converter and 60A power chokes.

Even the heat spreader of the Intel Core-i5 7600K Kaby Lake CPU is already within a few seconds up to over 70°C, not to mention that the CPU core temperature is much higher. By the way, the medium HS part of the CPU is incorrectly displayed blue on thermal images, since the surface is IR reflective.

Equipment and other features …

The ASRock Z270 Taichi motherboard came with a manual, software setup guide, DVD, four SATA data cables, SLI HB Bridge 2S, three screws for the M.2 sockets, two ASRock WiFi 2.4/5 GHz antennas 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 Taichi offers numerous features like for example the ASRock A-Tuning Tool, ASRock Instant Flash, ASRock Internet Flash, ASRock UEFI System Browser, ASRock Easy RAID Installer, ASRock Easy Driver Installer, ASRock UEFI Tech Service, 12 Power Phase Design, Digi Power, ASRock AURA RGB LED and ASRock FAN-Tastic Tuning.

Expansion cards …

The board offers four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots for AMD CrossFireX or nVidia SLI, whereby either one graphics card with x16 bandwidth or two graphics cards with x8 lanes bandwidth can be installed. The motherboard comes with a SLI HB Bridge. More SLI/XFire switch cards are not required to obtain optimum performance for single or CrossFireX. In addition to the PCI Express 3.0 slots, there is a PCIe 3.0 x1 slot.

Memory …

The ASRock Z270 Taichi can be equipped with up to four DDR4 modules and is expandable depending upon operating system used (see list) up to maximally 64 GB memory.

Here you can see a picture of the four DDR4 memory slots with dual channel support, you should install them first in the slots DDR4_A2 and B2 or A1 and B1:

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. 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.

Hard disk drive connectors …

The ASRock Z270 Taichi offers ten angled SATA3 ports and two shared SATA Express 10 Gb/s ports.

Here you can see the SATA3 ports, whereby depending on the M.2 modules used, the SATA_3_1, SATA_3_3 or SATA_3_5 are disabled:

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 was 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.

USB and FireWire …

The ASRock Z270 Taichi has two USB 3.1 Type-C ports at the ATX panel: 1x USB 3.1 Type-A (oben) and 1x USB 3.1 Type-C (bottom, can be inserted in both directions), both with up to 10 Gb/s. The ASM 2142 IC offers USB 3.1 Gen3 x2 with up to 16 Gb/s.

Furthermore it has five USB 3.0 Type-A ports on the ATX Panel. Internally there are three more USB 2.0 connectors for up to six optional USB 2.0 ports, as well as two USB 3.0 connectors for up to four 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 Taichi motherboard is equipped with an Intel I219V and Intel I211AT, offering the 10/100/1000 network connectors 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 X99 Gaming i7 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 Taichi motherboard is equipped with the ALC1220 audio codec with content protection, 120dB SNR DAC, TI NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier and Purity Sound 4, which supports 7.1 surround sound for example analog over 5x 3.5mm connectors on the ATX panel or over an internal front panel audio connector. 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, 1x PS/2 connector for PS/2 keyboard or PS/2 mouse and 2x USB 3.0, WiFi antenna connectors, DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI, Intel RJ45 Gigabit LAN, Intel RJ45 Gigabit LAN and USB 3.1 Type-A Port and USB 3.1 Type-C Port, 2x USB 3.0, optical SPDIF output and 5x 3.5mm jacks for sound.

ASRock Z270 Taichi BIOS and Overclocking …