Gi­ga­byte Aorus Z270X-Gam­ing 9

Gi­ga­byte turns the Aorus range up to 11.

APC Australia - - » Latest Reviews - $849 | WWW.GI­GA­BYTE.COM.AU MOTHERBOARD

The Z270X-Gam­ing 9 is ex­pen­sive. How­ever, the mind­set be­hind a prod­uct like this is that ‘price doesn’t mat­ter’. It’s what’s known, in in­dus­try par­lance, as a ‘halo prod­uct’ — one meant to cap­ture at­ten­tion, in­spire tech­ni­cal po­ten­tial and ex­plore bound­aries. While it’s rare in the motherboard mar­ket, plenty of other com­pa­nies use this kind of strat­egy.

This is a bit of kit for en­thu­si­asts — it should be ap­proached with an open mind when as­sess­ing its fea­tures and in­no­va­tions, es­pe­cially given many of the rea­sons for the in­flated price are fairly opaque ‘un­der the hood’ ones.

For ex­am­ple, the au­dio im­ple­men­ta­tion (Cre­ative Sound Blaster cer­ti­fied ZxRi 120+dB+ Au­dio) brings to­gether a com­bi­na­tion of com­po­nents to cre­ate a gen­uinely de­light­ful au­dio ex­pe­ri­ence; in­clud­ing the Cre­ative CA0132 Core3Di quad-core au­dio pro­ces­sor, Bur­rBrown PCM1794 stereo DAC, Cir­rus Logic CN8416 ADC, two new Ja­panese Ra­dio Co JRC2114D amps, a Texas In­stru­ments OPA2134 amp and a Texas In­stru­ments TPS5130 for pow­er­ing the am­pli­fiers.

The APC team has a long­stand­ing pref­er­ence for In­tel net­work­ing de­vices, whether wired or wire­less, and to see the In­tel i219-V (also fea­tured on the Aorus Z270X-Gam­ing 5 and 7, see is­sue 437) dropped in favour of Killer-branded NICs did cause us some con­cern.

The Gam­ing 9 has not just one but two Killer E2500 1Gbps NICs, along­side an 802.11ac Wi-Fi NIC, the Killer Wire­less-AC 1535. This trio of Killer NICs pro­vides hard­ware sup­port for Killer Dou­bleShot-X3 Pro, a soft­ware fea­ture pro­vid­ing a three-way net­work-team­ing tech that com­bines band­width and spreads the load across the three net­work con­nec­tions. This is a neat fea­ture for those crav­ing net­work band­width, though you will re­quire a hefty net­work con­nec­tion to fully utilise the band­width ca­pa­bil­ity.

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of a PLX chip pro­vides a PCIe bridg­ing hub for the plat­form and de­liv­ers 3- and 4-Way SLI and Cross­Fire sup­port — Z270 other­wise only pro­vides 2-Way SLI sup­port. This is a neat fea­ture and a sig­nif­i­cant point of dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion; how­ever, these types of set­ups are no­to­ri­ous for in­tro­duc­ing pro­cess­ing la­tency. This was ev­i­dent in the per­for­mance re­sults in Far Cry Pri­mal. The symp­toms also ap­peared in the 3DMark graph­ics and com­bined tests; how­ever, no­tably, the CPU and mem­ory per­for­mance is sig­nif­i­cant on this motherboard with an out­right first place in the physics test com­pared to the Z270’s we com­pared in APC 437. Those high CPU and mem­ory per­for­mance re­sults ap­pear again in the PCMark 8 and X265 4K video-en­cod­ing tests.

We hope to see Gi­ga­byte con­tinue its chal­lenge to ASUS within the halo and pre­mium prod­uct cat­e­gories, as this can only bode well for con­sumers as in­no­va­tive tech fil­ters down the prod­uct stack in fu­ture mod­els, as pre­vi­ously high-end fea­tures be­come the norm.

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