The absence of the renowned Republic of Gamers Impact mini-ITX motherboard for the new ASUS Maximus IX series has not gone unnoticed. ASUS loyalists eager to build a mini-ITX system on the Z270 platform will have to opt for something else at the current moment in time. That alternative choice is the ASUS ROG Strix Z270i Gaming.
The ASUS ROG Strix Z270i Gaming is not of the same pedigree as a potential Maximus IX Impact and so for the die-hard enthusiast it may well not be prestigious enough. However, ASUS has still packed in a considerable amount of hardware and features into its mini-ITX Strix motherboard. Even if ASUS fails to release an Impact board for the Maximus IX generation, the Strix Z270i Gaming should still satisfy the majority of potential buyers.
ROG has long been associated with innovation and the mini-ITX Strix doesn’t disappoint. There’s a quirky “double-decker” chipset heatsink that doubles as an M.2 drive heatsink, dual M.2 ports (yes, dual M.2 on a mini-ITX motherboard!) and a front panel USB 3.1 header.
Innovation aside there’s a strong core specification including RGB lighting, ample USB and storage options, Intel Gigabit, Qualcomm AC Bluetooth & WiFi, Realtek ALC1220 audio and a powerful CPU VRM married to ROG’s well-refined UEFI.
A neutral colour scheme plays into the hands of consumers looking to customise their build and ASUS has been one of the most proactive brands in pushing forward 3D printing customisation for its motherboards so expect ample 3D printing potential going forward.
The ASUS Strix mini-ITX board currently carries a premium over rivals like the Gigabyte Z270N-Gaming 5 and MSI Z270i Gaming Pro Carbon AC so let’s assess what this ASUS motherboard has to offer and see if it can justify the additional cost over its competitors.
|ASUS ROG Strix Z270i Gaming|
|Form Factor||mini-ITX, 17cm x 17cm|
|CPU Socket||LGA 1151, 6+2 phase VRM|
|Memory||DDR4, 2 DIMMs, up to 32GB, up to 4266MHz+ with OC|
|Onboard Graphics||Intel HD Graphics (supported CPUs), up to 1024MB of video memory|
|Discrete Graphics||Single Graphics Card Configurations only|
|Expansion Slots||1 x PCIe 3.0 16X electrical (wired to CPU)|
|Storage||4 x SATA III (via PCH)
2 x M.2 (Both PCIe 3.0 X4 32Gbps, one supports SATA III)
|USB|| 6 x USB 3.0 (4 Rear [1 Type-C], 2 Front, via PCH)
4 x USB 2.0 (4 Rear, via PCH)
1 x USB 3.1 (1 Front via ASM2142)
|Networking|| 1 x Intel I219V Gigabit LAN
Qualcomm Atheros QCNFA364A 2T2R 802.11AC WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 Combo.
|Audio||Realtek ALC 1220-based 7.1 channel HD audio|
|Fan Headers||3, all support 3/4 pin fans (1 x CPU, 1 x SYS, 1 x AIO_PUMP)|
|Rear I/O|| 1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
4 x USB 3.0 Type-A + Type-C
4 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jack(s)
1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth v4.1)
|UEFI||UEFI AMI, 1 x 128Mb Flash|