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Best Z270 Motherboards For Intel’s New Kaby Lake CPUs

With the new flagship, Kaby Lake range of Intel i7 and i5 CPUs now on sale many gamers and PC enthusiasts have decided now is the time to upgrade. Meaning you are now in need of a new gaming motherboard which comes with a new z270 chip set. If you are like me, you’re looking for an upgrade to ensure those frames come thick and fast. I am in the process of upgrading from an i5 2500k to i7 7700k, one hell of a jump wouldn’t you agree?! So I myself have been using this guide as a way to decide which z270 motherboard is best for me which has turned out to be the Asus ROG STRIX Z270-E. Upgrading to something like the Core i7 7700k seems to be what most gamers are looking to do right now unless you fall into the AMD Ryzen camp. If so then your should read our guide for the best X370 and B350 Ryzen motherboards.

If you are looking at Intel Kaby Lake then be sure to read on as we have details and reviews for the best z270 motherboards.

Below we have sectioned our best gaming motherboards guide based on both features, price and performance. This is so we can ensure all of our readers have the most relevant information for their specific CPU and budget. It is worth keeping in mind that we will suggest both the best motherboard is based on features and performance as well as being value for money. Basically, we want bang for your buck!

Best Z270 Gaming Motherboards

NoteMoboRAMExpansion SlotsRear I/O SlotsPrice
Best Z270 Motherboard - Editors ChoiceASUS ROG STRIX Z270EMax: 64GB DDR4
Up to 3866 Mhz (O.C.)
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16
4 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1
2 x M.2 Socket 3
6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)
1 x PS/2
1 x DVI-D
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
2 x USB 3.1 Type-A & C
4 x USB 3.0 (blue)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jack(s)
1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module
Best Premium BoardAsus ROG Maximus IX FormulaMax: 64GB DDR4
Up to 4133MHz (O.C.)
3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots
3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slot
6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports
2 x M.2 socket
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI port
1 x LAN / RJ45 port
2 x USB 3.1
4 x USB 3.0
4 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jacks
1 x Clear CMOS button
2 x Wi-Fi antenna ports
1 x USB BIOS flashback button
Top Budget ChoiceASUS PRIME Z270-AMax: 64GB DDR4
Up to 3866MHz (O.C.)
3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots
4 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slot
6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports
2 x M.2 socket
1 x PS/2
1 x DVI-D
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
4 x USB 3.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jack(s)
Top Mid Range ChoiceGigabyte Aorus Z270X Gaming 5Max: 64GB DDR4
Up to 4000MHz (O.C.)
3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots
3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slot
6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports
3 x SATA Express
2 x M.2 socket
1 x U.2 socket
1 x PS/2
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI port
1 x USB Type-C™ port 3.1
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
2 x RJ-45 ports
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out connector
5 x Audio jacks

The 7th generation of Core i7 CPUs is called Kaby Lake. This generation launched in January 2017 to a blaze of great reviews from gamers looking to push those benchmarks. Granted the increases in performance were less than hoped, but regardless the Kaby Lake I7’s are blisteringly fast and by far the best CPUs for gaming. We have three processors which have an unlocked clock speed; i7 7700k, i5 7600k and the now unlocked Core i3 7350.

All Kaby Lake processors are compatible with the existing 1151 socket motherboards which allow both Z270 motherboards as well as Z170 motherboards to be supported. With that in mind, I would suggest if your upgrading to an i7 7700k or i5 7600k  and you don’t have a z170 chip set motherboard then buy a z270 motherboard as it does give you some extra features.

Kaby lake has been considered the optimisation version of the Skylake processors. This is why there has been no socket change required for the new i7 CPUs. This optimisation has allowed Intel to increase clock speeds, turbo speeds and has given overclockers a higher ceiling to hit.

Looking for other options, or want to see the best-selling Z270 boards? This links will show you the best-selling Kaby Lake compatible motherboards on Amazon.

The Best Z270 Motherboard –  Editors Choice

 

Motherboard: Asus ROG STRIX Z270-E
Socket: Intel LGA 1151 e.g. i7 7700k, i5 7600k etc.
Chipset: Z270
Form Factor: ATX
Release Year: 2017
CPU Support: Kaby Lake / Skylake
Expansion Slots: 6 PCIe, 6 SATA, 2 M.2
RAM: Slots 4 x DDR4
Maximum: RAM 64GB

 

The new Z270 Asus ROG lineup has numerous models, 6 if I ain’t mistaken. There are subtle differences in the added features and of course a less subtle difference in costs. The Asus ROG STRIX Z270-E is effectively the Extreme edition. The sole purpose for this motherboard is to target gamers that are looking to get performance, quality and features at a best for the money cost. It delivers everything from SLI support, 6 SATA slots, RGB lighting and supremeFX 8 channel audio. There is also an outstanding WiFi chip that is second to none when it comes to high-speed, low latency and reliable connections – this is a MUST HAVE for gamers.

The board itself looks amazing, with a sleek black look and beautiful RBG lighting. This lighting can be synced with any other Asus STRIX hardware like your graphics cards. This will result in a magnificent effect where the colour glow and pulses are synchronised across the whole computer. It has to be seen in person to get the full effect.

You can easily go cheaper and look for the Asus Prime motherboard but with that features, aesthetics and audio take a jump down in quality. The STRIX Z270-E is arguably the best Z270 motherboard based on value for money, features and performance.

If you’re a gamer that is looking for a motherboard that gives you bang for your buck then look no further than the Asus ROG STRIX Z270-E – I even have one myself, hence the Editors Choice!

Top Premium Z270 Motherboard for i7 7700k & i5 7600k

Asus ROG Maximus IX Formula

Motherboard: Asus ROG Maximus IX Formula
Socket: Intel LGA 1151 e.g. i7 7700k, i5 7600k etc.
Chipset: Z270
Form Factor: ATX
Release Year: 2017
CPU Support: Kaby Lake / Skylake
Expansion Slots: 6 PCIe, 6 SATA, 2 M.2
RAM: Slots 4 x DDR4
Maximum: RAM 64GB

The Asus Maximus IX Formula was a launch Z270 motherboard which was available for the Kaby lake processors in January 2017. The Maximus IX is the next iteration of the previous Maximus VIII which was released for z170 and Skylake CPUs.

This motherboard doesn’t just look like a beast it is a beast! The board itself looks absolutely astounding and has the specification to back up its looks and price.

The improvements consist of headers for improved water cooling support for this motherboard, this alone is enough for many users to upgrade. Other improvements are integrated rear I/O shield and back plate, a front USB 3.1 header and last but by no means the least (actually very important for lots of us gamers) extra M.2 slot.

Let’s start with the “issues”. Some are a little frustrated, simply because the new motherboard looks very similar to its predecessor. It would have been nice to see a bigger upgrade in looks. There is a slight niggle with regards to the M.2 SSD setup, it’s not an issue if you don’t need/want to setup a RAID with two SSDs. If you do then this motherboard might be a little problematic for you.

So now on to the plus sides which are massive compared to the “issues”. For us gamers, the best feature is the overclocking tools that far surpass other motherboards. Another feature that helps many PC gamers is the integrated water block, built in WiFi and audio. The audio from this board is excellent!

Best Budget z270 Motherboard for i7 7700k & i5 7600k

ASUS PRIME Z270-A

Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z270-A
Socket: Intel LGA 1151 e.g. i7 7700k, i5 7600k etc.
Chipset: Z270
Form Factor: ATX
Release Year: 2017
CPU Support: Kaby Lake / Skylake
Expansion Slots: 3 PCIe, 6 SATA, 2 M.2
RAM: Slots 4 x DDR4
Maximum: RAM 64GB

First off, the ASUS Prime Z270-A isn’t a motherboard you should ignore based on its cost. The Prime is a budget Z270 motherboard but it also brings premium features with it, at a cost of having some other features dropped. If you are in the market for an entry level Z270 motherboard then, yes, the Prime is your best bet. With that in mind, for a little extra you can get the Asus ROG STRIX Z270-E which comes with a boatload of extra features, most of which even the casual gamer will use daily!

The technical specs are covered above but the few key pieces here are WiFi and audio. They do take a hit, by that I mean WiFi isn’t supported (third part adaptor required) but more importantly the audio is a Realtek S1220A chip which is fine, but in an ideal world you should really be looking for a better audio solution for gaming.

Another issue can be overclocking, most gamers have been able to overclock a i7 7700K to 5Ghz with this motherboard but there have been reports where some people haven’t been so lucky. From all of my research, I have yet to find a gamer who has been able to reliably overclock past 5Ghz using this hardware. Likely not a problem for most, but certainly an issue to keep in mind for future.

Overall this is a great budget board and if I were building a gaming PC on a budget. It lives up to its name in that its cheap, reliable, great for gamers on a budget and comes from a brand known for producing the best motherboards.