Don't Drool on These Z270 Boards
On hand we have two awesome looking motherboards, the Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming 7 and the Asrock Z270 Gaming K6. The Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming 7 is the first "Aorus" branded motherboard we have come across and I have to say it looks pretty amazing, both on paper and in the flash. Gigabyte has gone with a black, white and grey scheme -- a nice neutral palette.
The package is pretty nice as well. We have become accustomed to motherboard packages including pretty much just the motherboard but here consumers get a high-bandwidth SLI bridge, four SATA cables, RGB LED strip extension cable, velcro ties, thermistor cables, cable labels and a swanky I/O shield.
Onboard there's a Creative Sound Core 3D chip supporting Recon3Di and a headset amplifier. Networking is handled by an Intel Gigabit NIC along with a Killer E2500 controller. There are a pair of M.2 slots for high-speed storage along with a U.2 connector, three SATA Express ports and a grand total of six SATA ports. There's a heap of USB 3.1 ports along with a single USB 3.1 Gen 2 port which has been color-coded red. There is also a type-C port which supports Thunderbolt 3 devices.
Dressing up the board is Gigabyte's RGB fusion multi-zone lighting which transforms the Aorus Z270X-Gaming 7 from a regular motherboard into something that could shame most Christmas trees. The DIMM slots light up bright, as well as all three PCIe x16 slots, the VRM heatsinks and the I/O cover -- it's an RGB bonanza!
This motherboard is cool from top to bottom and I am very keen to see how much it ends up retailing for.
So now let's take a look at the Z270 Gaming K6. Asrock says this is to be positioned as a mainstream gaming motherboard, so translated into regular terms I believe this is their mid-range offering. I would expect it to be priced somewhere in the $140 to $180 range, perhaps slotting in around where the Fatal1ty Gaming Z170 Gaming K6 currently is.
Asrock has already informed us of some pretty crazy high-end Z270 boards they have in the works such as the Z270 Taichi, Gaming i7 and SuperCarrier. The Z270 SuperCarrier will be their flagship board, boasting features such as a 12 phase power design, 4-way SLI (that's interesting, well kinda), 5Gb LAN (that's super interesting), Purity Sound 4 and two Intel Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports.
Expect the SuperCarrier price to be exuberant. For most of us, the more down to earth Z270 Gaming K6 should fit the bill a little better. Armed with a 10-phase power delivery system, three M.2 slots (one for WiFi, though the card isn't included), dual Intel LAN, Creative SoundBlaster Cinema 3 audio and USB 3.1 support, it's hardly under-equipped.
Out of the box, the board looks impressive. It sports the standard red and black theme, the color of virtually almost every enthusiast PC out there, but it looks cool nonetheless. If the plastic I/O plate wasn't large enough on the higher-end 100-series boards then this extension might finally impress. It now extends a couple of inches back into the board towards the CPU socket.
With everything hooked up, the real 'wow' effect becomes known: like most of Asrock's new Z270 motherboards, the Gaming K6 features AURA RGB LED lighting.