EVGA Z270 FTW K 132-KS-E277-KR Motherboard Review

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Whether your PC was bought in a store or you built it on your own, you have a motherboard in there.  Like everything, there are different types of motherboards and with them different quality levels of motherboards.  Today’s review is on EVGA’s Z270 FTW K 132-KS-E277-KR motherboard, it’s got tons of features and specs, but does it have the quality to be considered a high-end gaming board?

Don’t be misled though when I say a gaming board and you are not a gamer, a gaming board can do so much more than just game.  A gaming board, video card, processor and the likes means that it can handle any load.  Games are so demanding on a PC as you raise the resolution, eye candy and more while you do other tasks in the background puts a lot of stress on the PC.

A standard PC can do all of this with lower resolutions and no eye candy due to low GPU performance and a reduced CPU core set, less UBS ports, SATA ports, etc.  A gaming PC is a high-performance workstation minus the ECC RAM and potential compute performance.

Before we can comment on how good or bad this board is, we have to check out what features and specifications it has, so let’s start there.

Features and Specifications

  • CPU Compatibility: Intel Kaby Lake-S and Intel Skylake Processors
  • Socket: Intel Socket 1151
  • Chipset: Intel Z270
  • Form Factor: ATX 12in (304.8mm) x 9.6in (243.8mm)
  • Multi-GPU Support Supports NVIDIA -Way GPU SLI Technology + PhysX / AMD 2-Way CrossFire X Technology
  • Memory: 4 x DIMM, Dual-Channel DDR4 3600Mhz+ and up to 64GB
  • Capacitors: POSCAP/Solid State
  • Ethernet: 1 x Killer E2400 / 1 x Intel Gigabit I219-V
  • Audio: 8 Channel Realtek HD ALC1150+ Optical
  • Display Outputs: 1 Display Port 1.2 / 1 x HDMI 1.4
  • PCB: 6 Layer
  • PCI-E 3.0/2.0 Slot Arrangement
    • 1 x 16 (x16/x8)
    • 1 x 16 (x8)
    • 1 x 16 (x1)
    • 1 x 4
    • 1 x 1
    • NVMe Support
  • SATA
    • 2 x Native SATA Express 16.0Gb/s ports
    • 6 x Native SATA 6Gb/s
    • 1 x U.2 Port 32Gb/s
  • 2 Support
    • 1 x M.2 Key E
      • Intel Optane Memory Readys I will remove the rear case I/O, so don’t be
    • 2 x M.2 Key M
  • USB
    • 6 x USB 3.0
    • 4 x USB 3.0 (2 x Headers)
    • 2 x USB 2.0 (1 x Header)
    • 1 x USB 3.1 Type C
    • 1 x USB 3.1 Type A
  • Package Contents
    • Motherboard
    • EVGA Driver and Software Disc
    • Rear Case I/O Panel
    • Rear Case I/O Cover
    • 2 x SATA 6G Data Cables
    • 2-Ways SLI Bridge
    • Enthusiast Stickers
    • Case Badge
    • Manual

OK, I know that’s a lot of specifications to go through, so now let’s get into an unboxing so we can see what comes in the box.


Comes with a few nice things, but let’s check each out in detail.

Includes a Rear Case I/O cover.  This covers up the ethernet, USB, audio and all the little things that goes up on the back covered by the Rear I/O shield, just to make the inside a little prettier.   Both sides are held down by the motherboard screws.

I like looking at everything PC related, but it does make it look a little sexy with it on.  This is optional of course.

This board is 2-Way SLI compatible and EVGA included a 2-Way SLI bridge that is 4 inches long (25.4mm).  Even though AMD’s CrossFire is compatible… EVGA is an NVIDIA partner, not an AMD so it does not come with a CrossFire bridge.

The I/O shield, not only serves to help a bit keeping dust, bugs and dirt out of your case (so does cleaning your case and house) but it offers RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) and EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) protection from your inputs.  The shield helps a bit as well in keeping your case with its positive or negative air pressure, however you prefer it work.

The EVGA Z270 Driver and Utilities installation disc contains all of the drivers for your motherboard (audio, Chipset, Framework, Graphics, Intel Rapid Store, LAN, ME, RAID, SATA, Thunderbolt and USB3.1) but it also contains the manual for the motherboard in PDF format.  Generally, I do not use the disc’s as the minute they are printed they are already out of date.  I recommend once you receive your board and install windows on it, download the drivers off of EVGA’s website, the Intel Ethernet port works fine without drivers.

The package includes 2 x 6G SATA cables, but these are the nice ones.

The ones that have the metal clip at the end, I like those as they help keep the cable from slipping out by mistake when moving the computer.

Even though they include the manual in a PDF format on the CD, they also include the physical manual.  I do recommend reading it before you install the board as it will answer all of your questions, but so will the installation videos I have done installing this board into a chassis and of course this review.

They include as well this little case badge, a very nice little case badge.  While it is nice and shiny and feels like metal, it is actually a very strong plastic backed with 3M adhesive to stick onto your case.

This board does have a M.2 slots, and in case you lose one of the screws that hold the card down they include and extra one, very thoughtful.

Then finally we have the motherboard itself.  Let’s go over some of the aspects of the board close up.  For this I will remove the rear case I/O, so don’t be surprised if in the next few shots you don’t see it.  There’s going to be a lot of information here and in the next few pages.


[nextpage title=”Board Design Layout and Features close up”]

We will make a round trip of the board.  We will start off on the Rear I/O (Input/Output).

On the left, we can see USB 3.0 ports 1 and 2.  On the right, we find USB 3.1 Type A (the wider red one on the top) and USB 3.1 Type C (the thinner on one the bottom).  USB 3.1 is still relatively new and not totally wide spread just yet but more and more devices are beginning to adapt to them.

USB 3.1 Type A, doubles the speed of USB 3.0 at 10Gbps and can provide up to 100Watts for charging and powering devices and is fully backward compatible.  While USB 3.1 Type is is nice, is still suffers from the big draw back from the connection of USB 1.1, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, you will plug it wrong 50% of the time.  USB 3.1 Type C however can plug in no matter how it is connected and can even be used to power laptops, carry Display Port and HDMI video signals and still provide a matter of transferring data, it is an amazing technology.

Moving on a little more to the right, we 2 x Ethernet ports and 4 USB 3.0 ports.  The left Ethernet port, is the Intel i219 Gigabit Ethernet port and the one on the right is the Killer E2400.  The Killer E2400 Gigabit Ethernet Controller is not just a plain Ethernet adapter, it allows the network adapter to detect and control network traffic to provide more priority to the things that matter to you.

This is the Killer E2400 chip.  With the Killer E2400, you can improve (reduce) latency, jitter and video stutters as it accelerates your critical network traffic.  The software, in addition to the adapter, provides 2 additional network priority levels and 7 levels of application and website traffic prioritization, but we will go over thing a little more later in the review.   The Intel i219 Ethernet controller, while a good controller, is a basic adapter.

The 4 additional USB 3.0 ports, are standard USB 3.0 Ports and then there is a little red button on the bottom right hand corner of the picture.  The little red button is an BIOS/CMOS reset button, which allows you to manually reset the BIOS in the unfortunate event that you set a BIOS setting incorrectly.  Back in the day, this was done with jumpers on the motherboard, usually near the battery, or manually removing the battery on the board, but this little button saves so much time.

To the right of the BIOS/CMOS reset button, we can see a on the bottom an HDMI 1.4 port and above it a Display Port 1.2 (DP).  Mind you, EVGA sells video cards and they more than want you to buy their video cards, but as you are saving to buy one of them they allow you to use the integrated video, of course if the CPU you buy supports integrated video.  To the right of that, we can see the 8 Channel Audio, controlled by the ALC1150 controller.

Green is for Left and Right (Stereo) line out, Blue is for Analog Line in and, Black for Surround Left and Right and Orange is for the Sub and Center Channel speaker.  The Pink is for a microphone the oddly shaped almost box connector is the Optical connector.  The optical connection usually has better audio when paired with a surround sound speaker system that support optical and a nice TOSLINK cable.

Behind the rear audio ports, we find the controller hidden on the board.

To the right of the rear I/O panel, on the board, we find the Key-E M.2 Socket 1.  M.2 Key-E is used for devices like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards, an M.2 SSD will not fit here, it is a Key-M slot.  Installing a card here will disable PCI-e slot 3, which thankfully is a X1 PCI-e slot right under where the video card would go.

Another cool thing to mention, more in detail later but that green line you see travelling along the side of the M.2 Slot, actually serves for a visually aesthetic purpose.  Again, we will go over that a little later in the review, now back to M.2.

This is PCI-e Slot3, the x1.

For a different angle of where it is.

On the bottom left hand corner of the board, we find an oddly placed, 90° angled 6-Pin PCI-e connector.  This connector provides additional PCI-e connector provides additional power to the PCI-e slots, designated for 3 or 4-Way SLI configurations, sort of odd they would include it in this board being that it is said to only support 2-way SLI.

Even though the board has 3 physical x16 PCi-e slots, the first x16 slot is a x16 or a x8.  It is x16 if it is the only slot populated.  The 2nd PCI-e slot is a x8, if there is a card there as well, that is when the 1st slot will switch to a x8, so that both cards can run in SLI.  The 3rd physical x16 PCI-e slot is electrically a x1 slot, so it will not be able to run in SLI.

Skylake processors will only support up to 20 PCI-e lanes.  The PCH (formerly known as south bridge) will support 24 additional PCI-lanes but those are SATA devices.  Being that the PCI-e lanes are taken from the CPU, you can see there is no way a Skylake processor will support 3 x Video cards, even having all at x8.

To the right of the 6-pin PCI-e connector, we find the Front Panel Audio header and the SPDIF_Out header.

To the right of that, we have a Chassis Fan 4 Pin header and a system 2 fan header.

To the right of that, we have the USB 2.0 header, only USB 2.0 header on the board which is a bit disappointing, if you have 4 front panel USB 2.0 devices, but I have a fix for that coming soon.

Next to that we have the Front Panel headers for things like your Power button, reset button, Power LED, HD Activity Light.  Here is a diagram off of the EVGA Manual for this board

Very important connecting these when building your PC, which I will go over later.

This one makes me a little happy, but we have 2 x USB 3.0 headers, for 4 additional USB 3.0 ports.

Of course, this would mean you would need 4 USB ports on your case, but if not, you can use this for 2 additional USB 2.0 ports, since EVGA only included a single USB 2.0 header.

This adapter, converts a USB 3.0 header into a USB 2.0 header, you would just connect the USB 2.0 connection from your case to this.  This is not included, but clicking on the picture will take you to amazon where you can buy one, or just use this link: https://geni.us/6NAIJBN?QeS8

Coming up on the edge, a small yet very important piece when in need is the diagnostic PC Speaker.  This often-forgotten little guy will help you if your PC will not boot in figuring out what exactly is going on.  Many times, to save a buck, motherboard manufactures will omit this in favor of having 2 additional pins on the front panel header so that you can connect a separate PC speaker, that you need to purchase separately.

Next to that PC speaker, we find a four pin System Fan, Sys1 Fan.

Moving up from there, we find some SATA ports, but some might look a little odd.

Coming from the left, these 2 SATA ports are the Intel SATA 3 / 6G ports.  While they are 6G ports, they are backwards compatible with SATA 2 and SATA devices.  These are run off of the Intel Z270 PCH which allows for NCQ, TRIM, hot swapping and RAID 0/1/5/10.

These ports, also part of the Intel Z270’s PCH controller offer something a bit new.  While the right four ports are part of the 6 ports on this controller (I showed you the other 2 on the previous picture), this also can utilize SATA Express, but at a bit of a cost as they can be shared ports.

SATA Express, a standard created by Intel as a faster standard to improve the performance of SSDs.  The cost is that SATA Express utilizes 2 SATA ports, as well as that additional port on the left.  This one collection of SATA ports can only house 2 SATA drives when utilizing SATA Express.  A nice feature, but very limiting capitalizing on speed versus function.  If you don’t have many SATA devices this might be a nice feature, but if you do have many, you might want to skip this one.

SATA Express also makes use of a special cable, the SATA Express cable and a special drive.

This is the Intel 750 Series 800GB PCI Express 3.0 MLC SSD.

To the right of those SATA ports, we have yet another newer port U.2, no not the band… the port, the technology.  This is another iteration of SATA Express but has twice the available bandwidth and a much smaller connection.  Like M.2, this utilizes 4 PCI-e express lanes but comes in the form of a 2.5in drive, looks like a regular SSD but you can’t use both M.2 and U.2 simultaneously since they both take up the same x4 PCH lanes.

Like SATA Express, it utilizes a new cable, but can utilize the same Intel 750 Series 800GB PCI Express 3.0 MLC SSD drive I listed previously.

Above that, we find the AMI BIOS’ tomb.  AMI stands for American Megatrends Inc, they make the BIOS.  In this coffin lay the AMI BIOS Chip.  This makes it a little easier to remove the chip in case the BIOS gets corrupted when flashing or something else occurs.  Older types, you would need to use a paper clip to prey the chip our, or a BIOS chip puller, here just pop the doors our and lift the chip.

Just above the BIOS chip, we find the 24Pin ATX connector, pretty basic but I wanted to make mention of it.  This is not an angled connector, which might make it great for some cases in tight spots though some might prefer angled.

Above the ATX connection, we find the Debug LED / CPU Temp code reader.  This is almost as good as the PC Speaker and equally as helpful.  This display shows POST codes (Power On Self Test) during boot up, to let you know if it gets stuck during boot up, what it’s stuck on.  When the system is already on though, it displays the CPU Temperature.

Here is how it looks inside of a system.  The Intel Core i7 7700K is running very cool on the EVGA CLC 280 Liquid CPU Cooling unit.

A bit long to list here, but in the manual and in the link I provided previously to the manual, EVGA lists the AMI POST Codes.

Coming up from there, we find the RESET, POWER and CMOS buttons.  You might find these on some board, but usually they are tiny red buttons, like the CMOS button, but EVGA made them look really nice here.  The main purpose for these buttons of course is to reset, power up and to clear the CMOS, but these are usually meant for people that have their boards on a test bench, to easily access the buttons when overclocking.

While a small aspect, it is worth mentioning like the last few, at the very top right-hand corner we find a 4 Pin Power Fan.

To the left, we find the 4 DIMM slots (Dual In-line Memory Module).  These are the slots for your DDR4 memory.

To the left of the DIMMs you can find the silk screening of what the DIMM numbers are.  If you have 4 sticks of RAM, you can just pop them all in, but if you have 1, 2 or 3 you have to check the manual on how to install them.  In this video, I show you how to install RAM onto this board.

Now that we are done with the RAM, to the left of the DIMM slots we find CPU Fan 1 and CPU Fan 2.

Coming over a little more to the left, we find the ATX 8 Pin connection, used to provide additional power to the CPU.

So that is about it for the edges of the board, now let’s discover other aspects of the board.

Under the 8 Pin ATX power, we find the LGA1151 socket.

Removing the CPU pin cover and lifting the CPU retention arm we find the CPU pins.  Be careful with these, if you bend/break the pins you have voided the warranty of this board.  In a bit later in this review, we will go over how to build a complete PC and with that, I will show you how to install a processor into this socket.

Zooming back out, we will look into the PCI-e slots, so let’s zoom back in.

First off, we find at the very top, another 4 Pin Fan connecter, the Auxiliary Fan.

Just below that, we find a x4 PCI-e slot PCI-e slot 1.  If you use the U.2 port, this slot needs to be disabled in the BIOS.  Below that, we find the PCI-e x 16/8 slot, PCI-e slot 2.  Next up is the PCI-e x 1 slot, which is PCIe slot 3, then the PCI-e x8 slot which is PCI-e slot 4 and finally the PCI-e x 1 slot which is PCI-e slot 5, it looks like a x16 but electrically it is a x1.

As mentioned before, it can handle 2-way SLI and Crossfire, but since the bottom slot is a x1, while it would fit, another video card will function.

Between PCI-e slots 2 and 3, you will see a Key-M type M.2 socket.  Placing a card here will require that you disable SATA ports 4 and 5, I will show you a little later not only how to install a drive here but also how to enable it in the BIOS.  This will be directly under the video card.

Between PCI-e slot 4 and 5, we find the final (of 3) M.2 slots.  It is another Key-M slot and placing a driver here will require disabled SATA ports 0 and 1.

OK, so we have looked at the board and all, but how do you install it?

In this next chapter, I will show you how to build and cable a computer from the ground up using the EVGA Z270 FTW K motherboard.


[nextpage title=”Building a Computer with the EVGA Z270 FTW K”]

In this video, I should you how to build a complete system using this board inside of the Cougar Panzer case.

and in this video, I show you how to do some basic cabling

When I built this machine, I did not have an M.2 Socket SSD, though I got one slightly later.   In this video, I will show you how to install the WD Black 512GB PCI-e M.2 NVMe SSD.

So now with all of that, I will need you how to configure everything within the BIOS, then how to install your OS.


[nextpage title=”The BIOS”]

To configure the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) once everything is installed, you will need to power on your beast of a machine and once you see this BIOS Splash screen, start tapping on the Delete key.  Since you have never configured your BIOS, you will hear a bunch of beeps which are the POST beeps (Power On Self Test), which if you did everything fine is a good thing.  This is basically a legend so that you can see all of the settings in the BIOS.

Once you get into your BIOS, you will be greeted with a screen like this, depending on your CPU and memory you might have slightly different readings.  I had the Patriot Viper Elite Series DDR4 32GB 2800MHz previously overclocked so it was reading 3200Mhz on the RAM, a decent overclock on the Patriot Viper Elite Series DDR4 2800Mhz 32GB RAM PVE432G280C6KGY from 2800Mhz to 3200Mhz.

From here, you can overclock the CPU, raise the BLCK speed on the CPU either don’t like raising the CPU Multiplier, or want to raise a few extra Mhz’s with the Multiplier as well.  Generally, I don’t like raising the BCLK (Base Clock), since it also raises the bus speeds of your computer, so you will essentially overclock your RAM, PCI-e slots, CPU and more, so it can cause instabilities. Along with raising Multipliers and BCLK, you may have to raise voltages depending on high you overclock and this board gives you a lot of control, so let’s move on.

This is the overclock tab, for the CPU and if you are used to more text based BIOS than this, it’s because this is a UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS, so you can use your mouse.  EUFI is designed to allow your computers firmware to interact more closely with the operating system, in this reviews case Windows 10.  This BIOS allows you to take screenshots of the BIOS, like I have here by plugging in a USB thumb drive, so every time you hit F12 with a thumb drive inserted while in the BIOS, it will capture a screenshot of that screen.

Clicking on the Memory tab, brings us to this screen.  This screen allows you to view memory information, the set XMP (Intel Xtreme Memory Profile) Profiles for your memory. Memory frequencies, voltages and clock speeds.  XMP Profiles allow you to safely overclock your memory above JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) standards to a predefined safe overclock set by and validated by memory manufacturers.

The particular memory I was using had an XMP Profile of 2800Mhz and I overclocked it to 3200Mhz, and I will run you through all of it.  Let’s jump over to the Advanced Tab.

The memory tab, gives us a bunch of sub-menus, let’s check them out.

CPU Configuration, lets you see and set specific configurations for your CPU, another sub tab here is CPU Information.

CPU Information shows us specifics on the CPU, but it’s just for information, nothing to change here.  Back up one, to the Graphics Configuration.

Here you can enable or disable the CPU’s internal graphics if available then also lets you set which is your Primary Display if you use both a physical GPU and the integrated GPU.  Talking about GPU’s, let’s check out the PCI-e Configuration section

Here you can disable or set the PCI-e slots to more specific settings, like Gen 1, 2, 3 or Auto as you see here.  On to SATA Configuration.

Under SATA Configuration, you can set the SATA Mode Selection as AHCI, RAID.  Then under SATA Information you can enable or disable physical SATA ports.

Under the USB Configuration, we find the ability to Enable or Disable Legacy USB Support.  Along with that, under USB Per-Port Setting, you can disable specific USB ports as well as on board USB headers.

Under Power Management, you can enable or disable the lights on the motherboard, which actually I kind of like.

Here you will notice on the left, just under the video card, kind of looks like molten hot pipe, I actually went over this line earlier in the review, travelling alongside the M.2 Slot.  Remember I mentioned “serves for a visually aesthetic purpose”, well this is it, and I think it looks pretty cool.  This is how the board looks like with Dark Mode off.

With Dark Mode On, the board looks a bit dull.  Mind you, not all of us like flashy board, or maybe you don’t like red, my favorite color is Blue, but it’s OK that they are in a constant battle within my machine.

ERP Support disabled, allows the system to consume less than 1watt of power in an S5 (shutdown) state.  With ERP enabled, PME Events Wake Up, Power On by Mouse, Power on By Keyboard and Wake on LAN will be unavailable.  ACPI Sleep states allows you to disable Suspend States or enable S3 only (Suspend to RAM).  Restore AC Power Loss, allows you to have the system go into its Last State if the power goes out and back on, allows it to keep the PC powered off and power on if the lights turn off then back on, even if the PC was off already.

Onboard Device Configuration allows you to Enable or Disable Intel LAN, Wake on LAN, Azalia (Realtek Audio), the Killer E2400 NIC, USB 3.1 Controller and then here is where you can enable or disable the U.2 and M.2 sockets.  I have Socket 3 enabled since I am using the WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD.

Under this section, you can check the temperature and set all of the individual fan headers.

Under NVMe Information Page, we find very basic information on the NVMe drives within the system.

Finally, out of the Advanced tab, we now find ourselves in the boot tab.  In the boot tab, you can set the current system date and time.  You can also enable the Bootup Numlock state, I have grown used to that being enabled. Speaker Beep, the POST beep some find annoying then Quiet boot, which allows the PC to skip the POST splash screen and then Fast Boot, which allows the PC to boot slightly faster by slipping the boot device check choosing the last boot HDD/SDD used.

Under Fixed Boot Order Priorities, we have the windows 7 Installation which enabled allows you to support Windows 7 USB keyboard and mouse operation.  I keep mine disabled since we are using Windows 10, but if you are using 7, you may want to enabled that.  Boot mode select, will let you select UEFI or Legacy for boot mode.

Under these settings you have the options of up to 8 different boot options, in which you select which you would like your PC to attempt to boot to if the previous one stops working, is not a boot device or maybe a thumb drive or a CD/DVD.

CSM Configuration by default is set to Disabled, but I did have to enable it to support the M.2 NVMe SSD.

Under CSM Configuration, in order for an M.2 device to operate, you will need to Enable CSM Support and set the Storage to UEFI, this enables the system to launch the Storage OpRom (Option Rom) allowing for the M.2 drive into the Boot sequence.  It took me a few minutes to find and figure this one out when I was attempting to install Windows onto this drive.

Under security, you are able to setup a password to enter the BIOS or even a password to be able to boot into your OS.

Here are the options under Secure Boot

Then even further into Key Management.

Coming back a few layers, we find the UEFI Hard Disk Drive BBS Priorities, another screen I had problems finding when I installed the M.2 Drive.  You need to make sure that drive you install is under Boot option #1 if you will be installing windows on to it.

UEFI USB Hard Drive BBS Priorities allows you to boot from USB devices.  Another reason it is important to secure what the boot priorities in all areas.  Without known, I could have had my Corsair thumb drive as a boot device and on each reboot, my PC would have booted up to this drive.  It is inserted because I was taking screenshots in the BIOS.

UEFI USB key Drive BBS Priorities allows you to boot off of alternate sources, in this case a Micro SD card slot which was part of the Qacqoc GN30H multi-Port Adapter I had plugged into the USB C port, with an SD card inserted.

On the final tab, Save & Exit we find a few settings that are somewhat dangerous depending on how you the set the rest of the system up.  Save Changes and Reset, saves any changes in the BIOS you have already set then attempts to restart the computer.  Discard Changes and Rest, allows you to discard all of the changes you have made and restart the computer.

Restore Defaults, like I used for this review, allowed me to restore all of the defaults that were set on the BIOS from the factory.  Load Last Saved Settings allows you to load the last settings you have made, in case you have saved some settings after your prior changes, it has helped me a few times while I was overclocking the RAM.

Boot Override allows you to boot from any drive inserted into the drive, even if it is not the primary drive.

Setup Profile, allows you to save different BIOS settings into specific profiles.  For example, if I didn’t want to overclock my memory or CPU all the time, I would save this as a separate profile, then my plain settings as another profile.  Load Profile, allows you to choose to load any of those profiles you previously saved.

Save Profile to USB/Load Profile from USB, a setting I have seen before allows you to save the configuration of the BIOS to a thumb drive, then using Load Profile to apply those settings later.  The odd part is that if the BIOS is flashed to a new version, those settings will not transfer over.  This is good in case maybe the BIOS chip is damaged and EVGA needs to send you another, with the same BIOS version you can load the settings.  Another good use may be to give the BIOS settings to your friend, again as long as they have the same BIOS version.

Lastly, under BIOS firmware update, Select BIOS File allows you to flash the BIOS to a newer version from within the BIOS.  That makes BIOS flashing a bit easier.

Also, you might have missed it, but on the first screenshot of the BIOS there was some information on the top of the screen.  I cropped it out of the rest of the screenshots as to not take up too much space.

The top shows you on the upper left corner how much memory you have in each bank (DIMM Slot), how many banks you have, in total how much memory you have as well as the speed of the RAM.  Just below that you can see the voltages of the CPU and memory.

In the center of the upper portion, you can see the CPU Multiplier with the Base Clock.  Just below that, you can see the physical core count, CPU Clock Speed and showing you that HyperThreading is enabled.

On upper right corner of the screen, how many PCI-e slots the board has then how many devices each slot has. This also shows the device (EVGA Geforce GTX1080 TI FTW3 Gaming iCX Video Card) is taking advantage of PCI-e 3.0 as well as the fact that it is running in a x16.  Just below that you can see the VRM and CPU temperatures.  Pretty handy information.

Now that we have a better understanding of the BIOS and its settings, let’s go ahead and install Windows 10 Professional.


[nextpage title=”Installing Windows”]

So now that we have built a PC and you have a better understanding of the BIOS and have made some changes, let’s go ahead and install Windows 10.  If you plan on overclocking, it is always recommended to install the OS at base settings, then overclock after everything is installed and configured.  This way you know everything is working before you start throwing in changes.

Now after installing Windows 10, you will need to install all of your drivers and software and get windows just how you like it.  The Drivers disc provided will have all you need for the motherboard, the foundation of your system, then you can install the rest.  Let’s check out what the Drivers Disc includes.


[nextpage title=”Software”]

If your machine still has an optical drive, or maybe you have an external optical drive, EVGA includes a Drivers CD.  This disc not only includes drivers but a few other software applications.  We will go over them here.

  • Drivers
    • Audio
      • Realtek Audio 8 Channel Audio Driver –
      • Creative Sound Core 3D –
    • Chipset
      • Intel Chipset Device Software
    • Framework
      • dotNet 4.5 Framework
    • Graphics
      • Intel Graphics Driver –
    • Intel Rapid Storage
      • Intel Rapid Storage Technology –
    • LAN
      • Intel Network Connections Software – 21.1
      • KillerSuite –
    • ME
      • Intel Management Engine Components –
    • RAID
      • 32/64bit F6 drivers –
    • SATA
      • Marvell Magni Drivers –
    • Thunderbolt
      • Thunderbolt –
    • 1
      • Asmedia USB Host Controller Driver –

There are aspects of the drivers that will not work on this board since it is a general disc made for the Z270 Stinger, FTW K and Classified K boards.  Most of the drivers will work for all the boards but for example the Creative Sound Core 3D drivers will only work on the Z270 Classified K board since the FTW K and Stinger have Realtek audio.

Prior to reviewing this board, I was using the EVGA Classified X99 board which had Creative Audio.  Between this Z270 FTW K and the X99 Classified board I can tell you first hand, the Creative Audio makes such a huge difference, it sounds so much better.

Aside from the Drivers, the disc includes the motherboard manual and wall papers for the Z270 FTW K and the Z270 Classified.

This was the wallpaper for example, for the FTW K comes in the following resolutions 640×480, 800×600, 1024×768, 1280×960 and 1920×960.

For the Z270 Classified, its comes in 640×480, 800×600, 1024×768, 1280×960 and 1920×960 resolutions as well.

After everything is installed, we need to perform some benchmarks at base settings so that we can see how well our overclocks work afterwords.


[nextpage title=”Benchmarks”]

For your reference, I will list the build specs as well to help you compare results with your own system.

Here are the programs I used for the benchmarks

  • Cinebench: A real world cross platform suite used to evaluate your computers performance capabilities.  Cinebench results show you the relevant speed of your CPU with other similar CPUs.
  • 3DMark/TimeSpy: While not a benchmark for memory or CPU’s specifically, it does provide overall system performance.  It does of course steer more in the direction for gaming in the line of video but CPU and memory speeds do play a role in its performance.
  • 7Zip: 7Zip is a tool for file compression, it also provides a tool to benchmark the speed of your processor and RAM measured in MIPS (Million instructions per second).  The Compression speed test relies heavily on your RAM latency, Data cache size and speed and TLP or translation lookaside buffer.  The TLB is a memories cache that stores recent translations of virtual memory into physical addresses for faster retrieval of that cache.
    • Decompression relies more on the CPU’s integer operations and very little on memory and its own cache, but it is wrapped in the test.  The performance is based off of MIPS (Million Instructions per second.  The overall score is calculated from the measured speed of its calculations.  I run this test for 100 passes, not only test get a better tested score but also to test system stability under each configuration.
  • AIDA64: Is a benchmarking suite that can benchmark the entire system, but I will focus this test only on Memory, since we have a few other suites benchmarking everything.  The memory test here benchmarks reading, writing with data transfer bandwidth and latency.
  • PCMark 10:  Does not focus on memory specifically, memory and memory speed will affect its end result.  PCMark has various testing packages, the Complete PCMark 10 test, PCMArk 10 Express and PCMark 10 Extended.  Some packages are self-explanatory; I will focus on the Complete Benchmark.
    • The Complete benchmark are all different types of workloads and are more made for the modern office. The benchmark measures performance with test based on real-world tasks and activities allowing to see what benefit every tweak can bring to overall system performance all are very memory centric, including overall system performance.
  • Sisoft Sandra:  Sandra is also a suite that can potentially benchmark the entire system and can also be used for diagnostic purposes, like most if not all of the previous software titles mention.  For memory, I will be running Sandra’s Memory Bandwidth and Latency tests.

The base benchmarks are running the CPU at stock (Auto) speeds and the memory XMP Profile set and slightly overclocked to 3200Mhz (I will show you the setting towards the end of the base benchmark).

Here in Cinebench, we can get a baseline score of CPU performance.  With a quick test, we can see that the stock Intel Core i7 7700K receives a score of 975 cb.  If you have never used Cinebench, this shows you the performance of your CPU against similar CPU’s.  During this test, the highest CPU temperature among all 4 cores and the package was 58°C.

Disregard that Validation issue with G-SYNC, my monitor is an Asus PB287Q and sadly it does not have G-Sync.  A pretty decent score on its own, especially rocking that EVGA Geforce GTX1080 TI ICX Gaming. The highest temperature the Intel Core i7 7700K processor reached was 61°C and the GTX1080 TI was 67°C.  A decent 98% better than all other benchmarks put this in a very nice spot.

Let’s check out Time Spy.

Yet another great score here but 3DMark and TimeSpy are very GPU centric, though they do rely a bit on CPU and Memory frequencies and timings and we will explore that a bit more in the review when we get into the real CPU overclocks.  The highest the CPU temperature reached was 62°C and the GPU was 71°C.

At 91% better than all other results, I feel like there is some more work we can do here.

Let’s check out what 7Zip can do here.  7Zip will rely heavily on the CPU and memory.

7Zip, may not look like much on its single comparison, but later I will compare it to the overclocked performance and we will see just what it can do.  Remember, the memory here was already overclocked to 3200Mhz.  The CPU rose to 57°C.  Let’s check out AIDA64.

ADIA64 is great, because it can test many aspects of your PC.  For the tests above, we performed many Memory and CPU test.  The memory tests might be a bit self-explanatory, how quickly it reads, writes copies and its latency but CPU Queen might be a little less descriptive.  CPU Hash measures the CPU performance using SHA1 hashing algorithm.

The CPU reached a high temp of 66°C and the GPU reached 37°C.

Another great piece of software that tests overall system performance is PCMark coming from our friends at FutureMark that also make 3DMark and Time Spy.  Let’s see what it says.

They might not mean much now, but in the end these scores might help to understand overall performance.  During these tests, the highest temperature the CPU reached was 67°C and the GPU was 65°C.

With this performance, PCMark resulted in achieving better than 98% of all other PC’s tested.  Not bad at all right?

Last but certainly not least, let’s check out SiSoft Sandra.

Sisoft Sandra, a staple in benchmarking for years taking benchmarking to the next level, these guys do it all.  Whetstone Single Float results are used for to measure FPU (Float Point Unit, or co-processor) performance.    The results measure the time it takes to perform sequences of floating point instructions usually used for computing scientific computations.  Dhrystone measures the time it takes to perform sequences of instructions for system programming and main code loop per seconds.

OK, so let me show you what everything was set to in the BIOS, then we can move onto the overclocks.

On the Memory tab, you can see that XMP Profile 1 was selected, but overclocked to 3200Mhz.

On the Overclock tab, you can see the changes we made here.  Make note of the AVX Ratio as it will be mentioned a little later in the review.  To help keep temps down, I dropped the Offset voltage to +0 enabled Adaptive for Vcore and set the Target voltage to 1.210.

Let’s get to the CPU overclock then for comparison.

I was able to hit 5Ghz, but it did hit 100°C pretty quick so I had to tune it down to 4.7Ghz so that I could stay in the 70’s.

For this I am using an Intel Core i7 7700K, which is known to be a hot processor even with the EVGA CLC 280 Liquid CPU Cooling unit.  While this is not a review of either, I will be later reviewing the EVGA CLC 280 Liquid CPU Cooling unit in a separate review, with the processor maybe de-lidded, not sure yet so keep an eye out.

Here are some screenshots of EVGA’s E-LEET Utility X.  I did not use it for overclocking, though it could be but I used it to make sure the CPU did not throttle which it did not.  This CPU can hit a 100°C TjMax before it throttles.  It throttles to protect itself from burning itself out damaging the CPU, Motherboard and/or more.

I took these screenshots while the system was benchmarking.

I had the BIOS set for 1.210 Target Voltage and the Vcore set to Adaptive with the Offset set to +0, but I will show you the BIOS screenshots as well.  You can adjust these voltages here as well for testing purposes but they will not save into the BIOS.

During this review, before I started benching, I realized EVGA came out with a newer BIOS, 1.04 so I flashed my BIOS to it.  I previously had the memory overclocked to 3333Mhz on BIOS version 1.03 but after the flash, I could only get it to 3200Mhz, my previous settings did not work though I am sure I could have hit 3333Mhz, but I did not want to spend too much more time on that.

You can adjust the CPU Multiplier as well as the BCLK ratio from here as well, again for testing as these will not carry over into the BIOS.

Here are the voltages and temps while benching.  Now some BIOS shots.

Pretty basic settings and I usually like to define everything, but this board seems to handle Auto very well.

Moving over to the Memory tab, you can see the 3200Mhz setting I was talking about.  Not a big deal really, but I wanted to show you how it differed from my Patriot Viper Elite Series DDR4 32GB 2800MHz review.  So on to the benches and comparisons.

With this 4.7Ghz overclock, we can see the Intel Core i7 7700K inching that much close to a 6 core 12thread Intel Core i7 3930K processor.  A little more over an overclock we can easily pass its performance.  Its stock clock temperature was 58°C with this nice overclock the temps rose to 74°C, a 21.62% increase.  Let’s see what 3DMark has for us.

Here we can see a difference between the Auto (4.2Ghz/4.5Ghz) and the overclocked 4.7Ghz.  Remember, between both stock speeds and the overclocked speeds the memory was overclocked to 3200Mhz.

Between Auto and 4.7Ghz, we can see a clean sweep in performance in favor of the 4.7Ghz overclock.

Along with the sweep, previously on auto the 4.2/4.5Ghz heated up to 61°C while the overclocked 4.7Ghz heated up to a still decent 70°C.  The GPU at stock rose to 67°C while the overclocked 4.7Ghz, not touching the bus speed actually went down a degree to 66°C.  Since it was an insignificant 1°C, we know that this was not affected by the overclock, more by chance and since the bclock was not touch nothing here would have affected the temperature.  Let’s see what occurs with Time Spy.

Like we saw previously in 3DMark, another clean sweep here in performance in favor of the 4.7Ghz overclock.  The temps in here in previous stock speeds were 62°C on the CPU and overclocked at 78°C, a 20.51% increase in thermals.  On the comparison, it actually went to 94% better than all other results which is very nice, a bit more and who knows where it can go.  Will this overclock affect 7Zip any?

From the stock 4.2/4.5Ghz, we can see a 6.60% increase in performance coming in at 29,278MIPS over 27,347MIPS.  The increase in performance came with an increase in thermals as well, up to 72°C up from its stock 57°C, a 20.83% increase in temperature.  Let’s see what AIDA64 has to say, one of my favorite and most useful benchmarking utilities.

This is one is a bit mixed, as you can see most of the results were higher in the overclocked results except for one, if you only look at it as higher is better.  In all of the results we can see that once again the overclocked 4.7Ghz performed better but in the Memory Latency test it was .1ns lower.  Like the internet, when the latency is lower you will get better and smoother results, so actually the overclock affected the latency negatively, but it was by only .1ns so I think it is safe to say that this would not have affected anything.

With this overclock CPU temps skyrocketed a bit, coming up to 91°C for the package.  The stock clocked processor came in a 66°C, so there was a 27.48% increase in thermals due to the overclock.  I think this calls for a delidding or maybe better thermal paste.

Another one of my favorites for benchmarking, is PCMark.  Let’s see what PCMark says about this overclock.

The overclock leans to their not being a huge downside as yet again it provided a clean sweep in its favor.  All of the results once again dominated over the stock CPU performance.  The main downside however does strike again, being the thermals.  At stock, the hottest a single core, including the package got was 67°C but on the overclock, the CPU reached 87°C though still a decent temperature it is 22.99% higher.

At stock, the scores resulted in outperforming 98% of all PC’s benchmarked and it can’t get much better can it?  Turns out it can, overclocked it actually performed 99% better than all other PCs benchmarked, that is a nice little treat.

Finally, let’s see how the overclocked affects Sisoft Sandra’s results.

Sandra’s results are mostly like the others, aside for the Whetstone performance.  All others performance was toppled by the overclock except for Whetstone performance, but why?  In order for the overclock to register correctly, we had to drop the AVX ratio from the stock 3 to 0.  Without dropping AVX, the overclock would only register a lower overclock which would mean it would be a pointless overclock, all in your head.

The thing about AVX is Whetstone performance is based off of AVX instructions, without them there a higher overclock would of course result in a lower score.  AVX or Advanced Vector Extensions are extension to the x86 instruction set to support integer comments up to 1024 bits for encoding purposes.  With NVIDIA’s CUDA or AMD’s Stream Processors AVX might be somewhat irrelevant unless your encoding program utilizes AVX only.  It is your battle to choose.

On the overclocks, we see what a nice Memory and CPU overclock can do, and I did these to show you what the board can handle, and it can do a lot more than just these.  I would have spent much more time with a higher overclock on both, but I did not want to spend too much more time on the review as it is late as it was but it is just to give you an idea of the control you are capable of.

We spoke about software

A motherboard is a lot more than just CPU and memory control, let’s go to the next chapter to see what else this board offers.


[nextpage title=”Further Testing”]

Throughout this review, we have mainly gone on about what the board has to offer on the inside in regards to the CPU, PCI-e slots, Memory, SATA ports.  We have only tested the CPU and Memory, let’s briefly go over all the other components and how they function.

Let’s start off with the rear I/O.

To test these ports, I used a Sandisk UItra Dual Drive USB Type-C drive.  These drives allows you to use it has a USB 3.0, USB 3.1 and USB 3.1 Type C though the throughput is maxed to 150MB/s.  I bought this drive for this review, and I could have gotten a faster one, but this is all I had access to at the moment.

It’s pretty slick the way it works too.  Push the thumb slider to the left and you have a full-fledged USB 3.1 connection.

To the right and you have a USB 3.1 Type C connection.  To test, I used USB Flash Benchmark and CrystalDiskMark.

From top to bottom, we can see there are 2 USB 3.0 ports, always great to have many of these.  USB 3.0 can transfer at 5gbps per second or 640 megabytes per second.

Testing the USB 3.0 connection, we find the following speeds.

A far cry from the 640 megabytes per second USB 3.0 can support and we can see that the write speed not only suffered terribly, it dropped out for a few towards the end but picked back up.

Just below that, we have a USB Type-C port and a USB C Type-A port, these are USB 3.1 ports.

USB C can transfer at a rate of 10Gbps (Gigabits) or 1,250 Megabytes per seconds, that’s blazing fast.

Testing the USB 3.1 Type-C connection, we find the following speeds.

For read speeds, we can see it performed actually a little higher than the drives rated speed then also higher than the USB 3.0 speeds, and though the write speed did suffer, it was still slightly higher than the USB 3.0 speeds.  This is a drive issue rather than a port issue though.

Testing the USB 3.1 full sized USB connection, we find the following speeds.

Just a bit faster on the writes, but almost the same speeds on the writes faster on the sequential and a teeny bit faster on the 4K.   It was slightly slower on the 4K Q32T1 Write and exactly the same on the Sequential Q32T1 write.

Just below that, we have 4 more USB 3.0 ports as well as 2 Ethernet ports.  The top Ethernet port is an Intel i219-V Ethernet port which can transfer at up to 1 Gigabit per second and the bottom, is a Killer E2400 Gigabit port that can also transfer at up to 1 Gigabit per second.  The top port is a port that we have all come to know and love and is basically a standard Ethernet port, but the bottom is something a little newer than Intel’s port and has a lot more to offer.

After you install the Killer E2400 driver off of the disc or the package downloaded off of EVGA’s website, you will have the Killer Network Manager starting up with your computer, if you don’t disable it at least.  Starting it up, you will have this screen.

From here you can Select what application s utilize this ports priority queuing that enables improved latency that reducing or eliminates video freezers by identifying, prioritizing and accelerating your selected network traffic to help you enjoy just a little more your gaming, web and overall entertainment online.

When you click on the Applications page, at first will be totally blank, but clicking on the “Show All Applications” check box on the lower left-hand side will bring up all of your applications in Alphabetical order, but you can change that too.

You can sort by Name, Priority, Download and Upload.

If you don’t like the default priority, click on the drop down and change the Priority.  If you set a priority of 2 or lower, you can change the Download or Upload speeds by clicking and sliding the bar down or up.

In the picture above, you can see I slide the bar down on “OriginThinSetupInternal” on download down to 395.05 Mbps.

If you wanted to, you could choose to Block the application totally.  This could really help you if you are constantly upload/downloading and can’t stop to game, if you have really high pings because of all the other traffic you are generating, this can help.  Myself, I have a low ping as it is but within Battlefield One, same server and all, on the Intel i219V, my ping was 16ms and then switching to the Killer E2400 it was 11ms.  That is not a lot of gain though my ping was great to begin with, but I had nothing else running, imagine if you could prioritize all your bandwidth the way you wanted to?

How’s your ping?

From the Network Settings, you can control the upload and download speeds then also download updated app priorities.  I did not find this one useful because it seemed no matter how the speeds were set.  During my testing, I could not vouch for this application as for downloads and uploads, it seems to not have changed my results.

System Performance, tells you which 5 applications create your total traffic.  This can help you to locate any applications that could be tearing up your speeds and then with that allow you to throttle down that priority.

Moving down from the Killer E2400, we have a few more features.

Rest CMOS, allows you to physically reset your BIOS settings from the outside of the chassis in case your overclock becomes corrupt or setting any other setting incorrectly, it’s a life saver.  Below that, we have an HDMI port and a Display port.  The performance of these depend on the CPU within the machine, since this will be utilizing Intel HD Graphics.

To the right of that, we see what looks like Wi-Fi- symbols, but this I/O shield is also used with the EVGA Z270 Stinger board which is a mITX board which has onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

At the bottom of this I/O shield, we find the 8 Channel Audio connections, with the Optical.  Here you can connection to up to 7.1 audio and below.

Now coming back to the board, itself, testing the transfer speeds of the USB ports, we would also need to test the transfer speeds of the PCI-e M.2 slot as well as the SATA ports.

To test the M.2 Slot, I used the WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD, which I reviewed previously, you can find that review with a lot more information and tests done on this board as well by clicking hereWD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD Review.

And installed into the machine

So, let’s check out what this drive can do.

This M.2 slot is directly under the video card and a danger of these types of slots has been the drives overheating but in this configuration, the drive during testing only reached 82°C.  This is using the EVGA Geforce GTX1080 TI FTW3 Gaming iCX Video Card with its default profile which has the fans that turn off.  Turning on the manual video card fan control using EVGA’s Precision X, I raised the fan speeds just for testing purposes and retested for drive performance and the highest temperature the drive hit was 47°C, what a huge difference.

This speaks loads in the off chance that you are looking to liquid cool your GPU and you have one of the M.2 drives, try to direct some airflow here.  While 82°C is still within safe temperatures, it is somewhat close to 100°C in which it would fail so keep your eye on it.  As you can see from my test, as long as there is some airflow over the PCI-e slots, you should be fine.

Then going off of the Internal SATA port, we test the Samsung 850 EVO 500GB MZ-75E500B/AM drive.

It performs amazingly here, coming in well over its rated read/write speeds.

Blazing faster performance for a drive, these NVMe drives are amazing and being that EVGA gives you 2 slots you are use means you have that much more potential.  The internal SATA 6GB ports seem to perform very well also, and what’s best is you have 6 to choose from.

The board does also have SATA Express but I do not have the drives currently to test with.

With all of these metrics and features, let’s go to the final page to see my final thoughts and conclusion, please let me know what you think.


[nextpage title=”Final Thoughts and Conclusion”]

This has been a great board to work with, and the quality has been amazing too but there are a few things this board could have benefited from though it’s not all EVGA’s fault.


  • High Quality Components throughout
    • 100% Solid State Capacitors
    • 150% Socket Gold Content
  • Killer and Intel Ethernet Ports
  • 90-degree 6Pin PCI-e and 24Pin ATX Connection might be great for some
  • Includes USB C and USB C Type C Connections
  • Includes 3 x M.2 slots
  • Includes HDMI and DP (Unusual for EVGA boards)
  • Onboard Clear CMOS, Power and Reset buttons as well as a reset CMOS in the back.
  • Supports RAID 0/1/5/10
  • Onboard LED control
  • Feature Rich BIOS


  • Only 8 Rear USB Ports, though this is a limitation of the Chipset.
    • A separate controller could have allowed for more USB ports, but this would have required a higher cost to the board.
  • Realtek audio while decent does not compare to the quality of the Creative Core audio.
  • 90-degree 6Pin PCI-e and 24Pin ATX Connection might be great for some but not for all.  Check your case to make sure it will fit.

 I was going to give this board a 4.5 thinking that other boards offered a better feature set in line with the cost, now I have to give it a 5.0 Editor’s Choice.  EVGA is usually known for having things cost just a little more but with 8 rear USB ports (6 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 3.1), 2 front panel USB 3.0 headers (2 headers mean 4 Ports), 6 x SATA Ports, 3 x M.2 slots and such a configurable BIOS at a decent price I feel like Editor’s choice might be an understatement.

The only thing I could recommend above what the board brings is that Creative audio and maybe an additional USB card wouldn’t hurt.  I might recommend a Z270 Classified board but there is a tradeoff, it is about $100 more, has 2 less USB ports (on the rear) but has Creative Audio, the 2 less USB ports might have been for the Creative audio.

All in all, I think EVGA did an amazing job with this board.

Return to Intro: Intro

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