Intel Z270 Motherboard Roundup

With the launch of Coffee Lake, Intel's Kaby Lake products have started the slow march towards exiting the market. But there is still value in the aging platform, and the 200-series chipsets and the associated Kaby Lake processors still offer a lot of performance for your every day needs.

Intel's Z270 chipsets is the most feature rich solution for Kaby Lake processors. It is nearly identical in every detail to the newer Z370 chipset, but it does not support the newer Coffee Lake CPUs, despite sharing the same LGA 1151 socket. Compared to the other 200-series chispets, Z270 has more HSIO lanes, PCIe lanes, and USB 3.0 ports, and it is the only 200-series chipset that supports overclocking CPUs. The Z270 chipset is also the only 200-series chipset that can divide the CPU's PCIe 3.0 lanes between multiple graphics cards.


Intel Z270 Motherboards

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Motherboards have dozens of specs that may vary from one board to the next, but there are four key variables that outweigh the rest: CPU, chipset, memory, and power delivery system. Now, depending on your own specific uses, other factors such as the USB support or networking options may be prioritized, but the importance of these other features will vary considerably from one person to the next, whereas everyone should carefully consider the four key variables.

Typically, you first decide if you want to build your new PC around an AMD or an Intel CPU. Next, you'll need to pick a chipset based on its featureset and price. As this article is focused on Z270 motherboards, we will proceed under the assumption that you've selected an unlocked Intel Kaby Lake processor and the Z270 chipset. If you don't plan to overclock, you may want to consider a lower-end chipset and CPU.

You should also consider the system's memory support. Unless you're building a compact PC, you want to have four DIMM slots to support higher quantities of memory. The maximum memory frequency is also important if you plan to use high-performance DDR4. Officially, Kaby Lake only supports DDR4 at speeds up to 2400MHz, but a Z270 motherboard may support DDR4 DIMMs operating at speeds of 4233MHz or higher.

When selecting a Z270 motherboard, it's crucial to pay attention to the power delivery system, especially if you plan to overclock. An insufficient number of power phases or inadequate cooling can limit your overall system performance and cause the CPU to throttle. In general, a greater number of power phases and larger heatsinks over the MOFSETs, the better. While eight phases is typically sufficient for most folks, boards with more than eight phases may produce better overclocking results.

Extended ATX Intel Z270 Motherboards

ATX Intel Z270 Motherboards

Mini-ITX Intel Z270 Motherboards

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  • samer.forums
    why this round up now ? very few will buy a Z270 motherboard now .
  • Crashman
    Not enough data to do Z370 roundup :D
  • John Philips
    Where is the Strix z270i , the only itx board with 2 m.2 nvme ssd?
  • joz
    Why is inclusion or lack of U.2 ports a consideration on motherboard scoring at all? There's all of ONE SSD in the consumer market that uses u.2 natively - the intel 750 series ( I think, searching for u.2 SSDs brings me nowwhere.)
  • joz
    Why is inclusion or lack of U.2 ports a consideration on motherboard scoring at all? There's all of ONE SSD in the consumer market that uses u.2 natively - the intel 750 series ( I think, searching for u.2 SSDs brings me nowhere.)


    If anything, I'd say u.2 inclusion is a negative, as it just adds additional cost to a component of the motherboard that no one is every going to use going forward.

    There's m.2 and there's SATA, and that's it for consumers. u.2 died. flipped, flopped, and then burned.
  • samer.forums
    120989 said:
    Why is inclusion or lack of U.2 ports a consideration on motherboard scoring at all? There's all of ONE SSD in the consumer market that uses u.2 natively - the intel 750 series ( I think, searching for u.2 SSDs brings me nowhere.) If anything, I'd say u.2 inclusion is a negative, as it just adds additional cost to a component of the motherboard that no one is every going to use going forward. There's m.2 and there's SATA, and that's it for consumers. u.2 died. flipped, flopped, and then burned.


    If you want >2TB NVME SSD your only option is U.2 2.5 inch SSD. and you are mistaken about only one available , Almost all companies offer U.2 NVME SSDs not only Intel.
  • joz
    Besides Intel, could you please link an actual for-sale SSD product that has a u.2 interface - and not just a seperate m.2 to u.2 or sata to u.2 adapter or something. I just checked a whole ton of websites, newegg, amazon, crucial, wd, samsung, etc...

    Go ahead, I'll wait.
  • samer.forums
    120989 said:
    Besides Intel, could you please link an actual for-sale SSD product that has a u.2 interface - and not just a seperate m.2 to u.2 or sata to u.2 adapter or something. I just checked a whole ton of websites, newegg, amazon, crucial, wd, samsung, etc... Go ahead, I'll wait.


    1- Samsung SSD PM963 U.2

    2- Seagate Nytro XF1440 U.2

    3- Micron 9100 U.2

    4-HGST Ultrastar SN200 U.2

    5- Samsung SSD PM1725a U.2

    the capacity varies upto 6 TB if you can afford paying for it.

    Plus Intel U2 as well
  • joz
    PM963 - $800+ for ~1tb
    XF1440 - $700 - 800GB
    9100 - ~$1000 - ~1.2B
    SN200 - $6-10k - ~$1k per ~TB
    PM1725a - $7-15K - 3.2-6.4TB

    And while I concede that there are...some U.2 drives.

    They aren't consumer drives. Were as this article is all about consumer level motherboards.

    I stand by my point that u.2 on consumer level hardware is pointless and shouldn't be scored against for not having.
  • samer.forums
    120989 said:
    PM963 - $800+ for ~1tb XF1440 - $700 - 800GB 9100 - ~$1000 - ~1.2B SN200 - $6-10k - ~$1k per ~TB PM1725a - $7-15K - 3.2-6.4TB And while I concede that there are...some U.2 drives. They aren't consumer drives. Were as this article is all about consumer level motherboards. I stand by my point that u.2 on consumer level hardware is pointless and shouldn't be scored against for not having.


    depends on your budget buddy ... depends on your budget. U.2 are not meant for cheap drives , and you can use even cheaper motherboards with U.2 as well. no one said the Z series motherboards are consumer level only , you can build a $6000 PC using Z motherboards , actually B chipsets can also have U.2 ports .
  • CRamseyer
    Just think of U.2 as having onboard SCSI on a board from, well, a long time ago. On the positive side you don't have to buy an adapter to use an enterprise-class SSD. On the negative side those lanes could have been used for a M.2 slot.

    Intel will release more U.2 form factor drives but the ecosystem hasn't caught on in the client market. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why. Cables stink and the NAND shortage destroyed any hope of using the additional space to increase low-cost flash capacity.

    If at first your don't succeed...
  • samer.forums
    1888934 said:
    Just think of U.2 as having onboard SCSI on a board from, well, a long time ago. On the positive side you don't have to buy an adapter to use an enterprise-class SSD. On the negative side those lanes could have been used for a M.2 slot. Intel will release more U.2 form factor drives but the ecosystem hasn't caught on in the client market. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why. Cables stink and the NAND shortage destroyed any hope of using the additional space to increase low-cost flash capacity. If at first your don't succeed...


    Actually I prefer U.2 drives over M2 , and I wish SSD manufacturers make a U.2 version of every NVME SSD they make , for one reason : heat ... NVME drives throttle on M2 slots and get hot.

    The Other reason I prefer U.2 is the hot swap capability of 2.5 SSD which is impossible to do with M2

    and Finally , if you populate the solts the M2 drive will be below it and you will have to remove the cards to access the M2 SSD .

    2.5 inch NVME SSD are 10 times better than M2 NVME SSD , for both performance and ease to swap/access