Throw a Quadro card on Gigabyte's Z270X-Designare

Gigabyte's Designare branding is reserved for boards at the top of the company's range. The company says these boards are aimed at content creation professionals, and the just-announced Z270X-Designare ATX motherboard should fit that bill easily. Like most high-end motherboards, it's covered in fancy features. It's also fully validated for use with Nvidia's Quadro graphics cards.

This board isn't quite as out-there as the X99-Designare EX that we reviewed last November. That's mostly because this model is based on Intel's Z270 desktop chipset rather than the X99 high-end platform. With the Z270X-Designare, you still get four DDR4 DIMM slots supporting transfer rates up to 3866 MT/sec, M.2 and U.2 sockets with PCIe 3.0 x4 connectivity, and a trio of USB 3.1 ports. One of those ports is an internal header that can be used for a front-panel USB 3.1 connector, while the other two are standard Type-A and Type-C ports located on the rear panel. Like other companies have been doing lately, Gigabyte's moved to ASMedia's 2142 USB 3.1 controller to let users run two devices at up to 8Gbps simultaneously. Curiously, Gigabyte also included two SATA Express connectors.

The Z270X-Designare includes all of Gigabyte's usual builder conveniences including my favorite feature, the "G Connector" front-panel header sleeve. All five of the Z270X-Designare's fan headers are "hybrid" headers that can intelligently adapt to run a CPU fan, a case fan, a water pump, or whatever else you plug into them. All of the memory slots and PCIe x16 slots are heavily reinforced with stainless steel, too.

The board supports Gigabyte's newly-redesigned RGB Fusion application for controlling its onboard RGB LEDs, as well as RGBW light-strips and the lighting on Gigabyte graphics cards. Onboard audio is provided by Realtek's top-end ALC1220 codec and includes Gigabyte's custom-designed headphone amplifier. Meanwhile, an Intel chip offers Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. It doesn't look like Gigabyte's latest effort has hit online retailers yet, but don't expect it to be cheap when it does.

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