Which ASUS Z270 motherboard should I buy?

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Prime Z270-A: The all-rounder

Lineups evolve, branding changes, but there are some traditions that should not be broken. An ASUS motherboard lineup would be incomplete without a member of the Prime family to lay a solid foundation of features and performance at the $169 mark.

 Prime Z270-A
CPU supportIntel® Socket 1151 for 7th/6th Generation Core™ i7/i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors
ChipsetIntel Z270
Memory4 x DDR4 up to 3866
Onboard VGA outputs1 x DVI-D
1 x HDMI (1.4b)
1 x DP (1.2)
PCIe 3.0 x16 slots2 (supporting x16, x8/x8)
PCIe 3.0 X 16 (x4) slots1
PCIe 3.0 X 1 slots4
Multi-GPU2-way SLI/CrossFireX
Gigabit Ethernet1 x Intel
Wireless-
Storage2 x M.2
6 x SATA
USB 3.11 x Type-C
1 x Type-A
AudioCrystal Sound 3
Aura lightingOnboard + 1 x strip header
Form factorATX
Price$169

PRIME Z270-A-2D

Beneath the conservatively modeled surface, the Z270-A takes everything Intel’s latest chipset has to offer and melds it with all the ASUS fundamentals, making it a difficult motherboard to ignore. 5-Way optimization, comprehensive cooling controls, an audio solution capable of driving all gaming headsets, RGB lighting, support for the ASUS Fan Extension card – it’s all here.

For users that prefer simple setup procedures, an onboard XMP can be used to apply memory overclock profiles without needing to access the firmware or install software. Speaking of overclocking, like its Strix and TUF siblings, the Z270-A is engineered to comfortably handle Kaby Lake’s overclocking prowess; capable of supporting CPU frequencies in excess of 5GHz and managing to cater for 4-DIMM memory frequencies up to DDR4-3866. Unless you’re into extreme overclocking, the Z270-A has all the headroom you need.

There are a few concessions at the Z270-A’s $169 price point, such as the absence of a front panel USB 3.1 connector, and a single RGB 5050 header as opposed to two, although they’re not the type omissions that will deter discerning buyers that are focused on cost-to-performance ratios. You still get dual M.2 ports, USB 3.1 in Type-A and Type-C at the rear IO cluster, and both PCI Express x16 ports are at full SafeSlot spec.  The balance of features and price is nigh-on perfect, standing up to scrutiny in a competitive market. If no-nonsense is what you’re after, the buck stops at the Z270-A.

USACanada
Amazon
Newegg
Amazon
Newegg

TUF Z270 Mark 1: Durability beyond reproach

Utilizing military spec components and engineered to withstand a rigorous battery of thermal, flex, stress, and drop tests, it’s durability that forms the essence of the TUF series.  Every TUF motherboard is validated to work with hundreds of peripherals and is backed by a 5-year warranty, providing users with the peace of mind they deserve when building a PC that needs to work flawlessly day in, day out.

 TUF Z270 Mark 1
CPU supportIntel® Socket 1151 for 7th/6th Generation Core™ i7/i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors
ChipsetIntel Z270
Memory4 x DDR4 up to 3866MHz
Onboard VGA outputs1 x HDMI (1.4b)
1 x DP (1.2)
PCIe 3.0 x16 slots2 (supporting x16, x8/x8)
PCIe 3.0 X 16 (x4) slots1
PCIe 3.0 X 1 slots3
Multi-GPU2-way SLI/CrossFireX
Gigabit Ethernet1 x Intel
Wireless-
Storage2 x M.2
6 x SATA
USB 3.11 x Type-C
1 x Type-A
AudioRealtek S1220A
Aura lightingOnboard
Form factorATX
Price$249

TUF Z270 MARK 1-2D-Front

The rugged military-style attire of the TUF Z270 Mark 1 – Ooh Rah!

There’s more to the TUF Z270 Mark 1 than the rugged engineering and aesthetics, though. As discussed in the cross-series preamble earlier, ASUS motherboards offer an intricate level of control over system cooling. For many of us, the options are more than enough to set up a rig that’s both quiet when performing light tasks, and efficiently cooled when crunching data.  However, as with all things, there are enthusiasts that have a compulsive obsession with a particular feature; some, with thermal management.  With an enhanced onboard fan controller called TUF Ice that provides 10 fan headers (9 of which are independently controllable), 12 thermal sensors, and extensive control options via firmware or software, the Z270 Mark 1 has the credentials to satiate such addicts.

Long-term users of TUF motherboards and newcomers to overclocking will be pleased to know the fully-fledged 5-Way Optimization finally makes its way to the series. So, you get automated overclocking capabilities similar to the Prime and Strix boards, with the TUF take on cooling controls – a combination that is difficult to ignore.

USACanada
Amazon
Newegg
Amazon
Newegg

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