EVGA Z68 FTW Motherboard ReviewMon, Dec 12, 2011 - 12:00 AM
EVGA Z68 FTW Intel Z68 Motherboard
The EVGA Z68 FTW edition is the top Intel Z68 offering from EVGA. Before we get to far in, I just want to let you know FTW doesn’t stand for what you think it does, it’s meant to stand for; For The Win. With the performance that EVGA is know for, they could quite possibly do that! The Intel Z68 Express chipset has been around for some time now so we aren’t going to dwell to much on it this time around.
The EVGA Z68 FTW (160-SB-E689-K2) is a very feature rich motherboard. One of the first features that is almost painfully obvious is the expansion slots. The Z68 FTW has six PCIe X16 slots and one PCIe X1 slot. EVGA has done away with the nearly out of date PCI slot that we are still seeing on some of the motherboards we have looked at recently. If you’re looking to run multiple overclocked graphics cards you could potentially run into a voltage shortage in the PCIe slots, EVGA has equipped the Z68 FTW with a four pin molex plug on the board to supply additional power. The Intel Z68 Express chipset doesn’t supply enough PCIe X16 lanes to truly run NVIDIA Tri-SLI technology. To remedy this situation EVGA has implemented a NVIDIA NF200 chip to supply additional PCIe lanes. The NVIDIA NF200 adds an additional 16 lanes to the PCIe architecture.
The EVGA Z68 FTW has a very solid CPU power delivery system, it uses a 12 Phase PWM (Pulse Width Modulator). Using a 12 Phase PWM will supply your Intel Core i5/i7 with very clean variable power switching. EVGA has also implemented their EVGA Vdroop Control. Within the EVGA UEFI BIOS you can choose with Vdroop or without Vdroop. When you set the UEFI BIOS to without Vdroop, what you set your Vcore to inside the BIOS is what you will get inside the operating system. If there is a question about your voltages EVGA has tossed in a few EZ Voltage Read points that you can check your voltages with a multimeter.
Every company that makes an ‘enthusiast’ motherboard has a utility to go along with it. EVGA uses their ELEET software utility. When you first open the ELEET utility, you see a very CPUz like screen. Here we can see the details on the processor being used, in our test system case an Intel Core i7 2600K. Unlike CPUz though, we are able to overclock the system using the ELEET utility. We are able to tweak the multiplier, Bclk, and voltages. We’re able to monitor the various fan speeds, temperatures, and voltages throughout the system. It’s quite a nice little utility to play with.
EVGA Z68 FTW (160-SB-E689-K2) Features and Specifications:
- Based on Intel Z68 chipset
- Supports Intel Socket 1155 Processors
- 4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
- Dual Channel DDR3
- Maximum of 16GB of DDR3 2133MHz+
- 3 x PCIe x16/x8, 2 x PCIe x8, 2 x PCIe x1
- 8 x Serial ATA 300MB/sec (6x Internal + 2x E-SATA) with support for RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5, RAID10 and JBOD
- 2 x Serial ATA 600MB/sec (2 Internal) with support for RAID 0 and RAID1
- 8 Channel High Definition
- 2 x 10/100/1000
- 10 x USB2.0 ports (6 external + 4 internal headers)
- 4 x USB3.0 ports (2 external + 2 internal headers)
- Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)
- FireWire 1394A (1 external)
- EATX Form Factor
- Length: 12in – 304.8mm
- Width: 10.375in – 263.5mm
The EVGA Z68 FTW looks like it’s going to be a great board, at least on paper. As we take the tour of the EVGA Z68 FTW we will take a look at a few more of the feature on the board. For now let’s take a look at the retail packaging and bundle that comes with the EVGA Z68 FTW (160-SB-E689-K2).