Overall, I have to say I was impressed by the quality and the aesthetics of the Z170 FTW. It has the key features that people are looking for in a modern motherboard. It is a capable motherboard being able to overclock the processor with the best of them. While we were not able to match our maximum overclock on the CPU, we were able to surpass our previous overclock on the memory. The small 100MHz difference in the CPU overclock did not affect the performance that much. In many cases, the slightly lower overclock, with a slightly faster memory overclock was able to outperform the faster CPU with slower memory.
The EVGA Z170 FTW does not implement any bright colors, instead they go for an all black color scheme, allowing the user to decide the color scheme. While this doesn’t affect performance, it is an important factor for many users. EVGA tried to hide the rear I/O cluster with an add-on cover, however this is one of the sticking points. I really like the rear I/O cover when it was in place, however what I do not like is that it rubs against the back of a video card and you can have spacing issues if you happen to have a thick backplate on your GPU. There is some give with the cover, and if you make it’s in the right location before tightening the screw down you can mitigate the spacing issue. If you are simply replacing a motherboard with the Z170 FTW you might have to re-do your cabling due to the different location of the 8-pin motherboard AUX power connection and the USB 3.0 header.
The Dr Debug post code display is not unique to EVGA, however I have not seen a display that shows the CPU temperature once it is past the POST stage. Again, while it doesn’t do much for many people, it is a nice add-on if you’re working on overclocking or troubleshooting a system. Speaking of extra features for overclocking, the tiny clear CMOS button on the back panel comes in handy if you’re tweaking the system and something goes haywire, not having to open the case to reset is extremely helpful.
While the EVGA Z170 FTW performed rather well, there are some downsides to keep in mind. Mostly regarding missing features such as no USB 2.0 headers, USB 3.1 or Type-C connections. USB 2.0 while it will use the USB 3.0 ports, most cases are still implementing a pair of USB 2.0 ports along with a pair of USB 3.0 ports. If you don’t provide at least one USB 2.0 header, please provide TWO USB 3.0 headers. There are easy way to convert USB 3.0 headers for USB 2.0 ports. USB 3.1 and Type-C is the latest update to the USB specification, and while they are not widely in use yet many people expect Type-C to be very popular soon. Unless you happen to change your motherboard very often, you should want to get a motherboard with all the current features.
The EVGA Z170 FTW is a great high quality, high performance motherboard that should provide the vast majority of the users all the key features they want. Currently, you can purchase the EVGA Z170 FTW for $169.99 with free shipping after a $20 rebate. Newegg has 60 different Intel Z170 motherboards for sale and over half are available for $149.99 or less, so this board is priced higher than the average despite the rebate. This isn’t a bad price for a motherboard of this quality, however there are other motherboards that have more features and similar quailty for around the same price. I’d really like to see this board under $150 for the features that it includes before I could fully recommend it.
Legit Bottom Line: The EVGA Z170 FTW is a great high quality motherboard that doesn’t have all the features that similar motherboards do at the same price. What EVGA focus’s more on is the build quality and their customer service, which it is one of the best in the industry.