ASUS Prime Z270-A Motherboard Review

[caption id="attachment_189208" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Motherboard Overview[/caption] ASUS is one of the premier motherboard manufaturers, it is one of a handful of companies that enthusiast keep an eye on for new technology.  As Intel is releasing a new processor, a new motherboard chipset comes along with that.  The Intel Z270 includes a number of enhancements for 4K video, new storage devices such as Intel Optane, and more.  Most manufacturers will release a handful of motherboards designed to fit a wide range of users.  ASUS is preparing six Z270 motherboards for the initial launch of the chipset.  These motherboards are expected to range in price from $164 up to $379 at launch.  Today, we are getting a chance to take an early look at the Prime Z270-A motherboard, which is expected to have an MSRP of $164 with a 3 year warranty.  This puts it at the low end of ASUS's Z270 line-up, however that doesn't mean that they skimped out on the features. Here is a quick look at the ASUS Z270 motherboard line-up at launch.  As we can see, the Prime Z270-A will be at the low end of the motherboards, however that doesn't mean that ASUS has skimped out on features.  Also, we should note that the ROG Maximus IV Formula is listed with a $379 MSRP, however ASUS expects that will drop by time they go on sale on January 5th. ASUS Z270 Motherboard Lineup with MSRP:  It includes most of the storage options available with support for six SATA 6Gb/s drives, two M.2 (both SATA and PCIe) with support for Intel Optane, and multiple USB 3.1 connections.  Video options range from on-board graphics supplied by the latest Intel HD Graphics with HDMI 1.4a, DisplayPort 1.2 and DVI-D.  This also includes support for Intel InTru 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology and Insider.  However most enthusiasts will look at adding in a dedicated graphics card, which the ASUS Prime Z270-A supports 2-Way NVIDIA SLI or 3-Way CrossFireX. [caption id="attachment_189273" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Aura RGB Path Lighting[/caption] Storage and graphics options aside, there is a lot more to the Prime Z270-A hidden beneath the surface.  Separating the audio from the rest of the motherboard has become pretty common, ASUS does this and lights up the audio separation with RGB lighting.  The ASUS Aura RGB lighting system is becoming one of the most popular RGB lighting standards around, the Prime Z270-A includes a connection on the motherboard to support RGB light strips. There is much more to see on the Prime Z270-A, let's get started with a quick look at the features and specifications, before getting to the motherboard. Features and Specifications
ASUS Prime Z270-A Specifications
CPU Socket 1151 for 6th and 7th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron
Chipset Intel Z270 Chipset
Memory 4x DIMM Max 64GB, DDR4 up to 3866(OC)
Expansion Slots 2x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (x16 or x8/x8) 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (max x4 mode) 4x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
VGA Multi-VGA output support DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4a, DVI-D
Storage 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M-Key; type 2242/2260/2280/22110 (SATA and PCIe Mode) 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M-Key; type 2242/2260/2280 (PCIe mode only; shares SATA_56 ports for x4 mode)
LAN Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN
Audio Realtek S1220A 8-channel high definition audio CODEC featuring Crystal Sound 3 DTS HeadphoneX and DTS Connect
USB 1x Type-A USB 3.1 (back panel) 1x Type-C USB 3.1 (back panel) 6x USB 3.0/2.0 6x USB 2.0/1.1
Warranty 3 Year
[gallery ids="189205,189204,189206"] ASUS packages the Prime Z270-A like most motherboards.  The exterior of the box presents the key features on the front, along with an overview picture of the motherboard.  Flipping the box over, the back presents much more information on the Prime Z270-A.  Information on several key features such as 5-Way Optimization for overclocking, ASUS Aura, storage options and ASUS exclusive Realtek S1220A audio codec are provided.  On the back, ASUS also lists out the other specifications of the motherboard.  Opening the lid on the box, we find the motherboard in a standard anti-static bag, packed in the box pretty tightly to help avoid damage while being shipped. [caption id="attachment_189203" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Accessories[/caption] Included with the ASUS Prime Z270-A is a fairly standard accessory pack.  For documentation, the user manual and a driver/software DVD is included.  In addition, the standard rear I/O cover shield, ASUS CPU installation guide, three SATA cables, and the ASUS quick connect for the front panel headers.  The included SLI bracket is also standard, however ASUS has upgraded it from the "standard" basic flexible model to a heavy duty PCB based model. Lets take a quick look around the Prime Z270-A before we get to doing some testing.

ASUS Prime Z270-A Overview

[caption id="attachment_189208" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Motherboard Overview[/caption] The ASUS Prime Z270-A has a classic neutral color scheme, featuring a black PCB with white accents.  The rear I/O port and the Intel Z270 chipset heatsink has a white cover, with some silver accent lines.  This motherboard should fit any color scheme you want to do.  At a high level, the Prime Z270-A is a standard ATX motherboard for the latest generation socket 1151 processors (both Skylake and KabyLake), with three PCIe x16, four PCIe x1 slots, 4x DDR4 slots, support for six SATA 3.0 Gb/s drives, and two M.2 drives.  Let's take a quick look around the motherboard to see what other features it has. [caption id="attachment_189210" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Rear I/O[/caption] The rear I/O configuration is fairly condensed, but still contains all the necessary ports.  Usually, we find the first cluster to contain the classic PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse connection or some USB ports.  On the Prime Z270-A, ASUS has placed USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C ports in the first set.  Next we have the video connections, which consist of DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI.  Then we find the old school PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse port, along with two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports.  Followed by the Intel I219-V Gigabit Ethernet port and two more USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports.  Finally, we have the audio cluster powered by Realtek S1220A 8-channel CODEC, with Crystal Sound 3. [caption id="attachment_189212" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A CPU Area on Motherboard[/caption] The MOSFET heatsinks are located on two sides of the CPU socket, and are simple passive heatsinks.  The Chokes or capacitors aren't covered by the heatsinks, only the MOSFET's are.  Along the right edge is the standard 8-pin Aux power connector.  To the left of the top MOSFET heatsink is two 4-pin fan headers, one designated for the AIO_Pump, and the second listed as H_AMP_FAN. [caption id="attachment_189213" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A DDR4 Slots[/caption] In the lower right section, we find the standard DDR4 slots, that supports up to 64GB of memory, at 4266MHz.  Along the right edge, above the DDR4 slots is two 4-pin fan headers, listed as CPU_FAN and CPU_OPT.  Along the bottom edge, beneath the memory slots we find the main 24-pin power connector.  Then there are a few small debugging LED's for CPU, Memory, VGA and Boot Device.  Two buttons are included for MemOK (to try getting the motherboard to work with non-compatible memory), and Power Switch.  A 4-pin CHA_FAN header completes the bottom edge of the motherboard. [caption id="attachment_189214" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Intel Z270 Chipset Heatsink[/caption] Continuing on to the lower left corner we find the Intel Z270 chipset, with an oversize aluminum heatsink, along with a white and silver cover.  For storage, there are six SATA 6GB/s ports heading off the edge of the motherboard, and a large M.2 that is up to 22110 M-Key device.  This M.2 is compatible with both SATA and PCIe devices, along with the latest Intel Optane drives.  Directly next to the M.2 slot is the EZ-XMP switch, and a 5-pin fan header (EXT_FAN).  The EZ-XMP switch is disabled by default, switching it to on automatically overclocked the installed memory.  Along the left edge of the motherboard are various connections, starting with the normal front panel headers, a 4-pin fan connection (CHA_FAN2), two USB 2.0, a USB 3.0 and another USB 2.0 connection. [caption id="attachment_189215" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A PCIe Slots[/caption] Turning our attention to the last section of the motherboard, we find the usual PCIe expansion slots.  ASUS has done a great job at making sure there is plenty of room between the first PCIe x16 slot and the rear I/O port cover, by placing a PCIe x1 slot to the right of the first PCIe x16!  The expansion slots include four PCIe 3.0 x1 slots, and 3 PCIe 3.0 x16 slots.  Starting with the first x16 slot, it will run at x16 is using just one GPU.  If running two, you're going to be running at x8/x8.  For those that are concerned about the weight of modern graphics cards, ASUS has added steel reinforcements to the first two PCIe x16 slots.  To the right of the first PCIe x16 slot is one of the two M.2 slots, this one is limited to PCIe devices with M-Key, up to 2280 in length.  Along the top edge of the board, we find the Realtek S1220A Crystal Sound 3 chip, which is behind the LED lighted line.  Along the left edge, we find a range of headers, starting at the top connector, we have the front panel audio, an old school serial COM port, RGB LED strip connector, TPM, USB 2.0 and finally the USB 3.0 connector.  For those of you that have 3D printers, ASUS has a number of templates available to customize your motherboards, the Prime Z270-A has a 3D Printed part mounting screws along the edge of the motherboard, between the first two PCIe x16 slots.

Intel Z270 Test Platform

[caption id="attachment_189261" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Test Bench[/caption] [caption id="attachment_189262" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A CPU-Z Baseline[/caption]
Intel LGA 1151 Z270 Test Platform
Component Brand / Model Live Pricing
Processor Intel i7-7700K Unavailable
Memory Kingston 32GB DDR4 2666MHz Click Here
CPU Cooler Corsair H105 Click Here
Video Card eVGA GTX 970SC Click Here
Hard Drive Intel Pro 2500 180GB SSD Click Here
Hard Drive 2 Sandisk Ultra II 480GB SSD Click Here
M.2 Drive Kingston HyperX Predator 240GB Click Here
Power Supply Corsair CX750M Click Here
Operating System Windows 10-Pro 64-Bit Click Here
The Legit Reviews test platform for the Intel Z270 chipset will be installed on an open air test bed, running a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit Anniversary edition.  All patches, drivers and firmware will be updated and a 24-hour burn-in test will be conducted prior to beginning performance testing. All testing is done in a temperature controlled room, maintained at 70F (21.1C).  Whenever possible, testing will be done using integrated benchmarks to ensure consistancy.  If an integrated benchmark is not available, FRAPS or OCAT will be used to analyze the performance.  All benchmarks will be done multiple times, with the results averaged.

ASUS Value Added Software

[gallery ids="189263,189264"] Using the DVD to install drivers and software isn't a bad way to get your system up and running.  However, keeping in mind that these can quickly get outdated, it is always highly recommended to check ASUS's website for updates.  The ASUS installation tool provides a menu that allows you to select only the tools and drivers you want to install. [gallery ids="189379,189377,189378"] Many of the included ASUS tools are pretty common, however Aura is a fairly new one.  This is ASUS's method of controlling any built-in LED's and LED strips.  ASUS-Aura ready RGB LED strips are readily available from different manufacturers.  The Bitfenix RGB 2.0 Magnetic LED Strips we have for testing are just one of the options.  Within the tool you are presented with a range of lighting modes, that ranges from the standard single color, or any number of flashing, or alternative color options.  Each one of these mods has built-in options which allow you a wide range of fine tuning controls.  Options such as individual LED control includes color, and speed.  The color control is done through a color wheel, it would be nice if there was a way to enter the standard RGB color codes.  Also built in are options to control the LED's by the temperature of your system or for the LEDs to have a strobe type effect depending on your music preference. [gallery ids="189381,189380"] One of ASUS's main tools is the AI Suite 3, this is their main application launcher and is their system control tool.  Within this tool you can control nearly every aspect of your system from fan speeds, power voltages/usage, CPU/Memory frequency and more.  Along the left edge is a sub-menu that provides additional tools such as EZ Update, which will automatically check ASUS's servers for updated drivers, BIOS and software. [caption id="attachment_189382" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A AI Suite 3 Overclocking[/caption] Within the ASUS AI Suite 3 is the Dual Intelligent Processors 5 tool.  Within that tool, you can do overclocking from within Windows.  For the CPU Frequency, you can adjust the Frequency (base 100MHz), the CPU Ratio (base is 42 for the i7-7700K) and CPU Cache Ratio.  Plus if you can make adjustments to the voltage, or leave it set to Adaptive.  With all the tools that ASUS provides there isn't much you can't do within Windows to get a perfect overclock on your system.


[caption id="attachment_189265" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A BIOS EZ-Mode[/caption] The ASUS UEFI BIOS is designed for all levels of users, the EZ Mode you can enable the Intel XMP profile, change boot priority, set the automatic system performance level, and see a wealth of information that is highly useful.  For those that want to get into finer detail, the Advanced Mode is where you'll want to turn your attention to. [gallery ids="189269,189267,189266,189270,189268,189271"] The Advanced Mode, looks very similar to the classic BIOS screens with enhancements.  Each of the main menu screens are laid out so a user can quickly and easily find the appropriate setting to adjust within the 8 main menu options.  The MAIN menu is mostly for informational purposes only, it does allow you to adjust the date/time and language.  AI Tweaker is where the main overclocking and system performance options will be found.  Advanced is broken down into many sub-menu's allowing for adjustments over a wide array of components on the motherboard.  Monitor is so you can disable certain sensors on the motherboard, while Boot allows you to adjust boot up settings.  The Tools menu is where you find the ASUS Flash and Secure Erase utilities.  Other sub-menu's provide additional information on other features. [caption id="attachment_189383" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A CPU Overclocked[/caption] Most people looking to overclock the Prime Z270-A won't have an issue finding their way around in the AI Tweaker menu.  For those that just want to do a quick overclock, you can quickly adjust all four CPU cores by the CPU Core Ratio.  With it set at Sync All Cores, all available cores will run at the same speed, or you can set it to adjust all four cores to different speeds depending on your needs.  Further down is another sub-menu where you can adjust the voltages to the CPU. [caption id="attachment_189384" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A DDR4 Speed[/caption] The ASUS Prime Z270-A supports memory up to 4266MHz!  With a simple drop down, ASUS does a nice job at making sure you know the exact speed you are wanting to set the memory to by listing the speed, rather than a multiplier.


Following our standard motherboard overclocking procedure, within the BIOS we adjust the CPU Core Ration to Sync All Cores, and adjust the CPU Core Ratio Limit to do some simple overclocking.  We will adjust it to start at 45 (4.5GHz), once we boot successfully, we will run several benchmarks to check for stability.  Assuming these are successful, we will increase the multiplier by 1, until we get a failure. [caption id="attachment_189385" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A CPU-Z CPU and DDR4 Overclocked[/caption] The ASUS Prime Z270-A was able to easily achieve a 5.0GHz overclocked with the Intel i7-7700K processor.  The CPU voltage was set to Auto, so it pulled what it needed, which turned out to be 1.408V, according to CPU-Z.  We took the CPU to 5.1GHz, which caused Windows to fail to boot, setting the voltage to 1.45V we were able to boot into Windows, however several of the benchmarks were unsuccessful.  Changing the voltage back to Auto, we tried 5.2GHz, however the ASUS Prime Z270-A failed to post.  So far, it seems that 5.0GHz is the fastest we can push this particular hardware set. The Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 kit, has an XMP profile of 2666MHz which was configured in the BIOS correctly.  Overclocking the memory, we took the memory to 3000MHz, and everything ran successfully.  Going beyond that to 3100MHz, the system was unstable and would blue screen at various points.  On the previous generation motherboard, Z170, this memory kit was able to go beyond 3000MHz on very few motherboards.  For the most part, the average was 2933MHz for the Z170 chipset.  We believe that overclocking the memory is limited to around 3100MHz Let's get to running some benchmarks and see how the Intel i7-7700K and the ASUS Prime Z270-A work together.

General Performance Testing

SiSoftware Sandra CPU Arithmetic [caption id="attachment_189436" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Sisoftware Sandra CPU Arithmetic[/caption] SiSoftware Sandra Memory Bandwidth [caption id="attachment_189437" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Sisoftware Sandra Memory Bandwidth[/caption] Cinebench R15 [caption id="attachment_189438" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Cinebench R15[/caption] PCMark 8 Advanced Home Overall Score [caption id="attachment_189439" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A PCMark 8 Home Advanced[/caption] CPUz Bench [caption id="attachment_189440" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A CPUz Bench[/caption] Totusoft LAN Speed Test [caption id="attachment_189441" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Totusoft LAN Speed Test[/caption] Legit Reviews Benchmark Results: At stock speeds, the ASUS Prime Z270-A and the Intel i7-7700K was receiving between a 5% and 9% performance boost over the previous generation ASUS Sabertooth Z170 S and Intel i7-6700K combination.  That's not a bad start to a new motherboard and processor combination.  Once we overclocked the system, with a quick overclock, we were able to gain an additional 5% - 12% performance in the benchmarks.

Gaming Performance Testing

3DMark TimeSpy [caption id="attachment_189442" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A 3DMark TimeSpy[/caption] Rockstar Games: Grand Theft Auto V [caption id="attachment_189443" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Grand Theft Auto V[/caption] Codemasters: Dirt Rally [caption id="attachment_189444" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Dirt Rally[/caption] Eidos: Thief [caption id="attachment_189445" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Thief[/caption] CD Projekt: Witcher 3 [caption id="attachment_189446" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Witcher 3[/caption] Legit Reviews Gaming Performance Results: For gaming, while we saw a small performance increase across the board, it wasn't anything as dramatic as the General Performance Testing showed.  For the games we tested, only the Witcher 3 showed any significant increase in gaming performance, with a 4.7% increase in scores.  Even once overclocked the performance gains were minimal for gaming.

Storage Performance

All storage testing is done using the latest version of CrystalDiskMark.  We will format the specific device prior to executing the test, and will reboot the test system between each test.  Testing the SATA connection, we will use the SanDisk Ultra II 480GB SSD, with a rated speed of up to 550MB/s Sequential Read, and up to 500MB/s Sequential Write.  The M.2 interface will be tested with the HyperX Predator 240GB drive, with it's rated speed o up to 1400MB/s Sequential Read, and 600MB/s Sequential Write.  Finall, the USB 3.1 connection will be done using an external USB 3.0 hard drive dock, and the SanDisk Ultra II SSD. SATA 6Gb/s [caption id="attachment_189447" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A CrystalDiskMark SATA[/caption] M.2 [caption id="attachment_189448" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A CrystalDiskMark M.2[/caption] USB 3.1 Gen 1 [caption id="attachment_189449" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A USB 3.1 Gen 1[/caption] Storage Performance Results: Overall, the storage performance tests were right as we would expect.  The one surprise was the M.2 performance, throughout the Z170 motherboard testing, the Kingston HyperX Predator M.2 drive was consistently in the low 1300MB/s range.  The Prime Z270-A blew past that and took it to 1461MB/s Sequential Read!  Considering that the specifications on the Predator M.2 is for 1400MB/s, the 1461MB/s score is impressive.

Power Consumption and Temperature

Using a P3 Kill-A-Watt meter, we will monitor the power consumption of the test system throughout the all phases of testing.  During testing, HWMonitor was used to monitor the temperatures as reported by the various sensors on the motherboard.  The highest and lowest reading for the CPU will be tracked. [caption id="attachment_189450" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Power Consumption[/caption] The ASUS Prime Z270-A was pulling down around 11W of power more than the previous generation ASUS Sabertooth Z170S.  The power increase wasn't unexpected, as the new processor is known to be more power hungry than the Intel i7-6700K.  Under a full load, the difference increased to 12W difference.  Of course, as we overclocked the test system, the power usage went up.  Going from 58W at idle to 64W when Overclocked.  Load testing, it went from 259W to 272W; a 13W increase. [caption id="attachment_189451" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Temperature[/caption] During the idle state, the ASUS Prime Z270-A was running 21C, which isn't too far off from the previous Z170 chipset.  So that's the good part.  Once we started using the system, the temperature climbed pretty fast, reaching a maximum temperature of 56C.  This is still a decent temperature, so it's nothing to worry about.  However, once overclocked, everything changed pretty quick.  Idle temps jumped from 21C to 30C, and load temperatures went from 56C to 81C.  That's a 25C increase, and is starting to get a bit too high for comfort, but still within acceptable tolerance.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

[caption id="attachment_189208" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Motherboard Overview[/caption] ASUS knows how to manufacture incredible motherboards with all the features that enthusiasts want in a modern system.  The ASUS Prime Z270-A touches on nearly every major feature that we like to see.  The only major feature we see missing is a LED DeBug code reader.  Most modern storage devices are supported; with the exception of SATA Express, but who uses that anyways, graphic cards are supported through 2-Way NVIDIA SLI or 3-WAY CrossFireX, it is capable of using nearly any speed of DDR4 memory.  For those that don't care for a lot of RGB lighting on their motherboard, the Prime Z270-A keeps it simple with just a single RGB path lighting for the audio section.  You can add RGB LED light strips using the ASUS Aura controller on the motherboard.  For $169.00 you are getting a well rounded motherboard for the latest Intel processors, that includes a 3 year warranty. Performance wise, the Prime Z270-A did exactly what we expected it to with ease.  The Intel i7-7700K isn't a  huge step up from the previous Intel i7-6700K, so we didn't expect to see a big jump in performance numbers.  What we found is that the Prime Z270-A makes overclocking of the system very easy.  With the ability to overclock it within the BIOS or through software, ASUS has you covered.  Plus, if you are a novice or just want to get a quick boost in performance, ASUS has options to automatically overclock the system.  Of course, ASUS doesn't leave out the experts and tinkerer's, there are a large number of options within the BIOS to fully tweak the system to its fullest extent.  We were able to get our test system to 5.0GHz, without any issues.  With more time and effort, we expect we could get it even higher. [caption id="attachment_189273" align="aligncenter" width="645"]ASUS Prime Z270-A ASUS Prime Z270-A Aura Path Lighting[/caption] Two known area's of concern when it comes to Intel's latest processor and chipset, power usage and temperature.  In both of these we saw an increase over the previous generation, however both were manageable and did not cause any issues.  This of course isn't a by-product of the motherboard, just how the processor and chipset are designed.  Hopefully, with updates to the system, we will see this improve. As is always the case with new motherboards, there are refinements still taking place in the UEFI, drivers and software suite.  Currently, we tested the Prime Z270-A with 0604, ASUS expects to have an updated UEFI available at launch, but does not expect that it will impact performance.  The first update from ASUS will have updates Intel uCode and MEI changes, along with support for the new Intel i3K processor, minor improvements for high speed memory modules.  Please be sure to always check with the manufacturer to be sure you are running the lastest BIOS and drivers. Legit Bottom Line:  The ASUS Prime Z270-A is a great motherboard, it features the latest technology from Intel, along with ASUS's legendary quality and customization.  If you are looking for a motherboard that doesn't light up with all kinds of RGB LED's the Prime Z270-A keeps that to a minimum with just a single lighting path.  Performance wise, we saw a good boost in performance going up to 5.0GHz, which we believe is more of a limitation on the other components rather than the motherboard.