The Strix glides into position.
This is the first Strix motherboard in the pages of APC, with the range derived from a confused heritage of mid-tier gaming orientated motherboard products that previously sat outside the umbrella of ASUS’s premium Republic of Gamers (RoG) family. Yet, this board’s lineage has previously knocked on the RoG door and had a slightly awkward relationship.
The lineage started two generations back with the Intel 9-series based ‘Pro Gamer’ family, which evolved into the Intel 100-series ‘Pro Gaming’ range, then again into this Intel 200-series ‘RoG Strix Gaming’range.
However, it’s now competing against a full suite of mid-tier RoG motherboards — something that’s a bit of a double-edged sword for ASUS. On the positive side, with this Strix joining the fray, the RoG brand’s no longer just focused on high-end products, such as the Maximus, Rampage and Crosshair lines. However, the negative for ASUS is that, by introducing a lower-positioned range within the RoG stack, it could diminish the brand’s premium ‘gaming’ position — something it’s held and maintained for the past decade, long before the ‘Gaming’ moniker craze.
There’ve been efforts to lower the cost of entry to the RoG range in previous generations, and in many ways, it feels like the Strix Z270G Gaming is the spiritual successor to the Maximus VIII Gene — and we’re informed there’s unlikely to be a IX Gene this year. The Gene model evolved to garner a strong following in the micro-ATX enthusiast niche and it appears the Strix Z270G Gaming is set to continue that reputation.
Spec-wise, the Strix Z270G Gaming ticks the desired boxes and the 24 PCIe lanes of a Z270 Kaby Lake setup paired with the micro-ATX form factor leads to a fully featured board, reducing resource compromises (unlike on the MSI H270, opposite). The primary PCIe xl6 slot draws its PCIe lane allocation directly from the CPU and splits this into two PCIe x8 links across the primary and secondary PCIe xl6 slot to accommodate SLI and CrossFire multi-GPU support. The motherboard also supports two M.2 ports allowing for RAID configuration, even with a multi-GPU setup and all SATA ports in use.
Audio’s handled by the Realtek ALC S1220A codec paired with dual Texas Instruments operational amplifiers (RC4580 and OPA1688), audio-focused Nichicon capacitors and wrapped up under the RoG SupremeFX audio tech branding. However, it’s important to note that not all SupremeFX configs are made equal and this unit won’t compete with, for example, the SupremeFX solution found on the RoG Maximus IX Formula.
With dual RGB headers — one in the bottom left sector, another in the top right — paired with extensive RGB control via the ASUS Aura Sync software, configuration is possible across the RGB features of the motherboard, Strix RGB GPU range, RoG RGB peripherals and third-party RGB hardware from the likes of In Win, NZXT, Bitfenix, Cablemod, Cooler Master, EKWB.G.Skill and others.
Dare we say it, this is a very neat little ‘board — and with it, the ASUS mid-tier gaming motherboard range has finally come of age.
■ Josh Collins
A fully featured, kitted-out micro-ATX LAN gaming setup for end-users conscious of the system’s footprint.
A fully featured, kitted-out micro-ATX LAN gaming setup for end-users conscious of the system's footprint.