Biostar's Z270 boards race to the finish


— 3:05 PM on January 13, 2017

Biostar skipped the CES rush and let us know today about its high-end offerings for Kaby Lake CPUs using the Z270 chipset. The company is sticking with its Racing theme for the new boards, and is releasing three variants: the Z270GT8, Z270GT6, and Z270GT4.

The Racing Z270GT8 is the top-of-the-range model. The board boasts six physical PCIe x16 slots, although Biostar doesn't specifically list support for SLI or CrossFire. The GT8 thankfully skips the questionably-useful SATA Express connector in favor of an M.2 socket and two U.2 ports. The M.2 socket has its own dedicated heatsink, too. The mobo has USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports on the back panel, and supports quick-charging standards from both Qualcomm and Apple. Networking connectivity comes by way of an Intel I219-V Gigabit Ethernet controller.

Biostar is clearly targeting the Z270GT8 at tweakers and tuners, as the board comes with a plethora of overclocking features including debug LEDs and a hardware dual-BIOS switch. The board even has a special switch to allow it to boot at temperatures below zero. There's also a handy "GT Touch" panel that lets users power on and reset the board, as well as select Speed or Eco presets. The audio circuitry is powered by a high-end Realtek ALC1220 codec. Biostar also includes RGB LED lighting (under the "Vivid LED DJ" moniker) and a 5050 connector for additional LED strips.

The Racing Z270GT6 is a slight step-down from the GT8 board. It drops down to three physical PCIe x16 slots, one U.2 connector, and zero USB 3.1 connectors. The USB quick-charge functionality also goes away, and the audio codec gets downgraded to the Realtek ALC892. The GT6 does have a USB 3.0 Type-C port to make up for those cuts. Aside from those changes, this model is very similar to the GT8, down to the debug LEDs and GT Touch panel.

Finally, the Racing Z270GT4 could be described as the microATX version of the GT6, as it shares most of its bigger brother's feature set. There's no heatsink on the M.2 slot this time around, and due to its size, there naturally aren't as many PCIe slots. However, where the GT6 only has DVI and HDMI outputs, the GT4 board actually has DVI, HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort connectors.

Biostar says the Racing Z270GT8 board will come as a bundle with a 256GB Intel 600p NVMe SSD for $330. The company bundles one of its own 240GB G300 SSDs with the Z270GT6 board for a final price of $210. The Z270GT4 instead gets a Vivid LED DJ-enabled fan as its bundled item, and will go for $130.

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