As with most product launches Z270 motherboards will command a price premium compared to equivalent Z170 motherboards until the launch buzz around Z270 and Kaby Lake dies down, stock begins to flow into retail channels and old Z170 stock is sold out. For the time being there are most likely some bargains to be had in Z170 inventories for consumers that are willing to part with their cash for a “last-gen” product.
However, for consumers wanting to get a latest generation Intel motherboard Gigabyte’s Z270X-Ultra Gaming still represents good value for money at an estimated retail price of £160. That price puts it in competition with a large number of motherboards from the new Z270 generation and the previous Z170 generation but despite the intense competition, Gigabyte’s latest mid-range offering stands up well.
With U.2, M.2, SATA Express, SATA III, USB 3.0, USB 3.1 and USB Type-C the Gigabyte Z270X-Ultra Gaming has just about all bases covered when it comes to storage options. Only a second M.2 is something that might be missed but the exclusion of this is a trade-off for the inclusion of the U.2 port. At this price point we’d argue that a second M.2 slot is more likely to be used than a U.2 port, but it’s also highly unlikely buyers will have two M.2 drives either.
While the rear I/O connectivity is solid for the price point, and relative to the competition, the I/O looks a bit empty and we feel a couple more USB ports would have been a nice touch. Gigabyte provides four USB headers, which could expand for up to 8 more USB ports, but few cases have that many USB ports at the front. Unless the user is making use of internal USB headers with card readers or other devices then this USB capability could be under-utilised.
In keeping with the wider motherboard trends we were pleased to see Gigabyte add fully-configurable RGB support and do so in so many areas of the motherboard. This is in addition to providing an RGB header on the motherboard and producing a tidy overall aesthetic with a matte black PCB and slot shielding for the PCIe and Memory lanes.
The only significant issue with the Z270X-Ultra Gaming, aside from an overly high auto voltage, is the UEFI not being as intuitive to use as it should be in terms of the layout and structure of the menus. Gigabyte needs to invest some time and effort into conducting user experience and usability testing to streamline the UEFI experience. It’s worth noting that the content of the UEFI is up to scratch meaning that all the key options and adjustment parameters are there, it just doesn’t feel all that pleasant to use.
The Gigabyte Z270X-Ultra Gaming is available at Overclockers UK for £149.99.
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- Clean aesthetics
- Multi-zone configurable RGB LEDs
- Balanced range of storage and peripheral connectivity
- Extensive software suite with unifying APP Center control panel
- Improved audio solution
- Reinforced PCIe slots and memory lanes
- UEFI layout could be more intuitive
- Auto CPU voltage is too high
- Strange water pump header location
- CPU VRM could be improved
KitGuru says: The Gigabyte Z270X-Ultra Gaming is a solid gaming motherboard choice for Kaby Lake and deserves to be on any shortlist at this price point.