ASUS ROG Strix Z270i Gaming Motherboard Review @ [H]

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
Joined
May 18, 1997
Messages
49,878
ASUS ROG Strix Z270i Gaming Motherboard Review - ASUS brings big gaming power in a tiny package with its latest mini-ITX motherboard: The ROG Strix Z270i Gaming motherboard. We’ve been huge fans of these mini-ITX powerhouses over the years. ASUS has arguably dominated this market with few options coming close to challenging that position. Can ASUS maintain its mITX dominance?
 
Joined
May 22, 2014
Messages
28
Great review, I've been loving my z270i since I used it on my S4 mini build, such a nice board and that onboard RGB does look sweet!

Great to see you tested that double-decker heatsink too! Before your review I actually ended up swapping installing my only M.2 drive over to the back of the motherboard, because of how hot the top cover of the M.2 heatsink was once when I touched it during a CPU HSF swap, it was scary hot! But it's good to know it does help with temps.

"The only issues I had were with the system not wanting to POST at 5.0GHz or similar speeds from a cold boot. I could reset, or restart within Windows all day without issues. When the thing wouldn’t POST, I’d have to power cycle the thing a couple of times and let the watchdog feature kick in. All I’d have to do is go into the BIOS and hit "Save and Exit" to get the system running again. It’s a minor issue, but something I found annoying. This may be corrected easily with an update to the UEFI BIOS and I see no reason why that can’t or wouldn’t happen before too long."
About the cold-boot POST issue at 5.0GHz or similar frequencies, I have this issue as well! Whenever I'd be running a CPU OC on my 7700k and tried to cold-boot the Motherboard wouldn't boot and the CPU LED would be a solid RED. I then have to short the CLEAR CMOS pins in order to boot again. I even contacted ASUS's Service Center about it, they emailed me back some possible solutions, and so I'm trying out some of their proposed solutions in hopes of fixing the issue before requiring a BIOS update or something, and will report back if any of their solutions fixed it.

I had a question, about the VRM heatsinks, it's mentioned the VRMs ran about 100-105c... would you say the VRMs need those heatsinks to keep them cool and under max operating temps (without overclocking?) I'm considering removing them to fit a wider cooler on mine. And would you consider those VRM heatsinks essential if overclocking on this board? Any alternative solutions to cool the VRMs if someone were to decide to run without the VRM heatsinks in favor of a larger and more effective CPU cooler & HSF orientation? I'm basically trying to fit the Thermolab LP53 on there with the fins parallel to the ram. xD
 
Last edited:

pookguy88

Gawd
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Messages
675
can anyone post some basic manual control bios settings to o/c a 7600k?

There's so many options in there I really don't know where to start.. like the Asus energy-saving, normal, or performance profiles... what do those do? What do I set that at when I o/c??
 

Rhialto

Gawd
Joined
Feb 23, 2004
Messages
543
Does the RAMCache thing still makes sense when having a NVMe SSD in there?
To me RAM disk belongs to the early 2000 years. Why it that still a thing?
 

BitMaster

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 10, 2016
Messages
367
Good review ! Thank you

If that board had been available when I got mine I would have picked the mITX instead.





The hardest part on my OC was pairing the 5G with XMP3600, just as you said in your review.

Each one alone is stable to an even greater OC but in the end, 5G and 3600 is the fastest I got stable.

For my own system, the culprit was VCCIO and LLC5 from a certain point on with 3600.

VCCIO gradually needed an UP as I upped the CPU from stock settings to 5.0 and from 4.9GHz and UP it also needed LLC raised from 2 to 5.


The problems start past 4.8GHz. Up till there it was real smooth and not much tweaking was needed vs. the Auto-Asus settings for 4.8.

Asus Volts were too high mostly, I could lower many of them remaining perfectly stable in p95AVX and Aida64.



As soon as I bypass 4.8GHz all that remains stable from DDR4 is XMP and no notch higher. I am happy that it runs those stable, have had bad luck before with Z170 and XMP3200 Corsair modules.

With 4.8 the RAM will do 3866 solid p95avx and aida64 but I found no setting that would not randomly error a stresstest over time at 5G/3600, it may even take 2h to show the failure but it will come.



I had the same booting issue but could cure it, for me it was an UP in VCCIO from 1.225v to 1.250v and the system boots like normal. With the lower setting it would maybe boot fast, maybe spend 90sec "thinking" and then keep on booting ( the "thinking" moment is AFTER the beep to be precise, RAM test maybe )

About 5 days ago I raised VCCIO as described and since then no more booting issues.


My goal wasd to have all Volatges as low as possible as well and not only MHz as high as possible. Also not sacrifice CPU speed over RAM speed. The RAM will let me play games at 4133MHz but fail serious testing ( at 5G ). I would call it "testflight worthy" but would not recommend for serious work etc..


The KL IMC is a tricky bitch !!!!!!!!

VCCIO is tricky, so is the vDIMM setting !


To explain:

My system would and will not prime95 or aida54 stable in STOCK settings out of the box with JUST XMP enabled. It fails miserably. That is up for Asus to fix as not all know how to catch the system.

The ONLY thing it needed it prime95AVX for 4h burn in "show me your guts and liver - before we proceed" kinda thing was 1.3728V as a minimum. I dont call this XMP ready !

The RAM would also not pass the test at 2133MHz at stock settings ! That is real bad.

My Z170 combo with MSI M9 board and Corsair Veng. 3200XMP was even worse to name another XMP fail. That I couldnt get stable at all unless heavily tweaked...until it bricked



Still, it would now prime out of the box with a vDIMM tweak alone..but HECK..it would NOT reliably cold boot mostly, sometimes even reboots went dead..or exit from Bios..etc..

What cured that was an UP on the VCCIO wehn XMP was enabled. Not needed for 2133MHz.




The Z270 is a tricky bitch with fast RAM, at least with the currently available Bios's
 
Last edited:

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
55,988
can anyone post some basic manual control bios settings to o/c a 7600k?

There's so many options in there I really don't know where to start.. like the Asus energy-saving, normal, or performance profiles... what do those do? What do I set that at when I o/c??
To be honest, most of the settings mentioned in that guide do not need to be set on this motherboard. If I touched VCCIO or some other settings the results were actually worse. Like all the other Z270 motherboards I've looked at we only really needed to adjust the CPU vCore, DRAM voltage, load-line calibration and turbo frequency multiplier. Anything else you'd touch would be memory related.
 

Dullard

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
3,974
Dan_D Does it matter if the system M.2 drive is on the front or back slot? The other will ge for loading games, if it matters.
 

Dullard

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
3,974
Thanks. Dumb question #2 - when loading the OS, do you know which drive slot it's loading into? I guess the BIOS would differentiate between _1 and _2
 

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
55,988
Thanks. Dumb question #2 - when loading the OS, do you know which drive slot it's loading into? I guess the BIOS would differentiate between _1 and _2
There isn't really a way to tell from what I remember. The BIOS doesn't make a meaningful distinction between them that I recall. I didn't load the OS to these drives so I wasn't all that concerned about it. I try to label the drives so I know which is which by their names, but whenever I do RAID testing those get erased.
 

Dullard

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
3,974
I just installed one drive, on the front, to get booted up. I'll install the other later when I mount the stuff in the case. Figured it'd be easier to not give it a choice.
 

Dullard

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
3,974
FWIW, the front drive shows as Disk_1 in Disk Manager, the rear drive comes up as Drive_0
 

Raendor

Gawd
Joined
Sep 21, 2015
Messages
845
I got this MB yesterday for my mini-itx Node 202 build focused on future expandability (right now it will simply accommodate 1050ti and g4560), and I was planning to put my main rig's delidded 6700k in it later, though I might simply put a Coffee Lake CPU in it instead (assuming z270 is supported, which I sure hope it is. Hell, maybe even z170?) as this board is so amazing and is even better than my z170 Pro gaming in the ATX rig in terms of features and is capable fo very nice OC. The simple Asus z170 Pro gaming that I have now is serving quite well, allowing me to run 6700k @ 4.6 at 1.34 in adaptive mode (LLC 4 and almost no voltage fluctuation at full load) with 3200 MHz Ram with no trickery. Generally was always happy with Asus boards.
 

p3z

n00b
Joined
Apr 6, 2017
Messages
58
ghostwich suggested I cross-post this in here, and if I need to provide more details on my process, let me know!

So I finally solved my Wifi woes with the Asus STRIX 270i about a week ago. Essentially the most recent (ASUS and Windows) driver do not play nicely with Windows 10. I was getting constant drops to the point it was absolutely destroying the whole WLAN. Went into Device Manager and chose the Windows driver from 2015 (for Windows 7 :rolleyes: ) and it's been working like a dream. I didn't see too many others with the issue, but I did find a lot of people having issues with the particular chip the 270i uses. Hopefully this comes to help someone in the future :).
 

OmenemO

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 25, 2016
Messages
129
Dan_D I'm not quite understanding what you mean with your piece on the "double decker" heatsink.

Assuming someone is using an M.2 drive in the front, are you saying that the M.2 card and the chipset are just as cool without the top portion of the heatsink installed? Furthermore do you think overall temperatures for both would be improved by installing an EK-M.2 NVMe Heatsink & leaving off the dual chamber heatsink?
 

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
55,988
Dan_D I'm not quite understanding what you mean with your piece on the "double decker" heatsink.

Assuming someone is using an M.2 drive in the front, are you saying that the M.2 card and the chipset are just as cool without the top portion of the heatsink installed? Furthermore do you think overall temperatures for both would be improved by installing an EK-M.2 NVMe Heatsink & leaving off the dual chamber heatsink?
The heat sink has a space in it where you place the M.2 drive. Thus, it has a hot metal above and below it, sandwiching the drive inside like an oven. I don't think an aftermarket heat sink is going to do any better. I think ASUS' is fine. I'm more concerned about the fact that you've got hot metal on both sides of the drive.
 

Rhialto

Gawd
Joined
Feb 23, 2004
Messages
543
I'm more concerned about the fact that you've got hot metal on both sides of the drive.
I think it's exactly the same for newer Z370i so I guess they haven't received lots of complaints?

But like you I'm not sure how effective it is, I think it only a marketing selling point without actual proof it's THAT good.
 

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
55,988
I think it's exactly the same for newer Z370i so I guess they haven't received lots of complaints?

But like you I'm not sure how effective it is, I think it only a marketing selling point without actual proof it's THAT good.
From what little testing I was able to do with it temperature wise, it really seems to me like all you do is break even with not having a heat sink at all. Maybe the Z370 will have some actual temperature monitoring capability to it that I can test further.
 

OmenemO

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 25, 2016
Messages
129
The heat sink has a space in it where you place the M.2 drive. Thus, it has a hot metal above and below it, sandwiching the drive inside like an oven. I don't think an aftermarket heat sink is going to do any better. I think ASUS' is fine. I'm more concerned about the fact that you've got hot metal on both sides of the drive.
Your first and last sentence is why I'm wondering if the aftermarket M.2 heatsink without the top of the double decker would lead to an improvement. It removes the hot metal from above, and should in theory allow for air to flow over the bottom portion of the heatsink for the chipset and the M.2's Heatsink for the drive.

I don't really have the resources to test this accurately, but if you do a review on the Z370i & willing to test this, I'd be happy to ship you an M.2 heatsink + return bag.
 
Top