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Supermicro C7Z270-CG – Review

Supermicro C7Z270-CG – Review

Help With Writing Papers Supermicro is perhaps the least well-known of consumer motherboard manufacturers. That’s probably because the company is better known as a provider of server, and business/enterprise, solutions. So where does the C7Z270-CG and its siblings fit in? It’s a good question, and the CG here stands for ‘core gaming’. We know Supermicro products are reliable, after all one of our test systems features a Supermicro board. Still, this is a market where companies like ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock and MSI are competing with strong marketing and design combinations. Marketing intent is conspicuous by its absence, but let’s see what this motherboard delivers.

Full specifications

DesignSupermicro C7Z270-CG - Review

When we think of enthusiast motherboard packaging, we think of features. And when we think of motherboard design in general, we tend to think of styled I/O covers and funked-up PCH heatsinks fitting an overall theme implemented across a motherboard. With the C7Z270-CG our initial impressions are mixed. First is the colour scheme, which we wouldn’t choose, and perhaps offers less flair and excitement to proceedings. The green elements put us in a mind of the aesthetics of 1990s PC components, and Supermicro’s colour of choice perhaps shouldn’t have that effect.

Green does offer a kind of curious charm on, although the uninspiring graphics on the I/O cover and PCH heatsinks do little to raise the bar. As we say, there is a certain charm, yet translating that user interest isn’t an easy sum. When even mid-range motherboards like the Asus Prime Z270-A look smart, the C7Z270-CG’s design choice does itself few favours.

Layout and Features

Supermicro’s tag “Server Quality. Built for Gaming”, is probably the best explanation for the lack of marketing fanfare around this or any other Supermicro motherboard. There’s little promotion of any special features, and the box of the C7Z270-CG is limited to a list of specifications which are more common-sense than key differentiators – fine for those who life to build and let stability do the talking.

This isn’t anything new from the company, as the packaging for our C7Z170-OCE adopts a similar low-key approach. This, and what marketing copy there is, all feeds that story of reliability and performance over hyped bells and whistles. We’ll come on to how that plays out a little further down, but what it means for users is this: the specifications are the offering. There’s no sugar-coating, and when this model is tagged ‘core gaming’ the core is all.

Supermicro C7Z270-CG - ReviewThe C7Z270-CG opts for four DIMM sockets supporting a maximum of 64GB DDR4 RAM up to 3733MHz. By comparison Asus’ Maximus IX Hero supports up to a theoretical max of 4133MHz, and Asus’ mid-range Prime Z270-A up to 3866MHz. Supermicro’s DIMM sockets add alternately to that black-green colour scheme, and to the top right of the sockets are power, reset and clear CMOS buttons.

Moving around the board, the C7Z270-CG offers three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (at 16/X/X, 8/8/X and 8/4/4) as well as three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. In close proximity are the board’s two M.2 connectors. M.2_1 is between the second and third PCIe X16 slots, with the second above the first PCIe slot. There’s nothing unexpected here, and Supermicro has upped connectivity in line with general trends. There’s a Q-code display too, found beneath the PCH heatsink at the bottom of the board.

For audio, things are just as straight forward. Realtek’s ALC1150 underpins the solutions on other manufacturers motherboards (Asus’ SupremeFX for example), and is implemented here without any additional fanfare – well in keeping with Supermicro’s down-the-line approach. Cooling is supported by five 4-pin headers, and there’s no additional guidance for AIO or water cooling pumps as might be found on other enthusiast boards. That’s not a problem, although it is a mark against the likelihood of new builders being enthused.

Buy Business Plans Additional connectivity is again as expected. Two USB 3.0 ports are provided by internal headers, as are two of six of the USB 2.0 ports. The other two 2.0 ports are joined by four 3.1 ports (3x Type A, 1x Type C) on the rear I/O panel. Here too are one each of DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI-D connectors, standard audio connectors, a PS/2 port and Intel i219V 1GB Lan.

BIOS

The BIOS on the C7Z270-CG is fair. There’s actually quite a comprehensive list of features included, albeit none which appear to go above and beyond those of other manufacturers. Unfortunately though, a good level of options suffer somewhat due to ease of use; navigating and using the BIOS could be better. The design does little to help matters here. Supermicro sticks to a strong green theme, and it wasn’t something we found very appealing. In actual fact, we prefer the cool blue BIOS in our C7Z170-OCE sample. Why the interface was changed we don’t know.

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Performance

In the absence of a Core i7-7700K, we tested the C7Z270-CG against the C7Z170-OCE in order to gauge performance gains based on Supermicro’s motherboard revisions. Our results provided few surprises based on that comparison, and taking into account a theoretical performance increase offered by a Kaby Lake chip. We will update the results below with Z270 comparisons based on testing with an i7-7700K when possible.

Test System*:

  • Intel Core i7-6700K
  • Samsung 850 Pro SSD
  • 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3000 kit
  • Noctua NH-U12S
  • Corsair AX1500i
  • Windows 10 Home Edition

*No graphics card installed

Supermicro C7Z270-CG - Review

Supermicro C7Z270-CG - Review

Supermicro C7Z270-CG - Review

Supermicro C7Z270-CG - Review

Supermicro C7Z270-CG - Review

Supermicro C7Z270-CG - Review

Supermicro C7Z270-CG - Review

Supermicro C7Z270-CG - Review

Supermicro C7Z270-CG - Review

Supermicro C7Z270-CG – Conclusion

As our results show, there’s not a huge performance difference when compared to Supermicro’s own C7Z170-OCE. However the C7Z270-CG’s lower power draw suggests the manufacturer has increased the efficiency of its latest products, which – given fairly similar performance results – is an achievement worth noting. Additional connectivity is also implemented as we’d expect. A better consideration though is how this motherboard stacks up against other Z270 products.

The answer really is that for a complete package of performance, design and features this motherboard may miss out. However, with a Core i7 6700K installed, this board provided comparable results to every Z270 board we’ve seen so far – even though other boards were tested with a i7-7700K. That’s impressive, and Supermicro’s focus on the stability and performance of its consumer products seems well-placed.

If trust in that stability (and a need to eek out as much performance as possible while gaming) are key, then there’s an argument here for choosing Supermicro and the C7Z270-CG. On the other hand, if you like to show off your components, prefer additional features, and can’t be swayed by Supermicro’s ‘build it and forget it’ approached, you may be best looking elsewhere.

Supermicro C7Z270-CG - Review

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Supermicro C7Z270-CG
Author Rating
3Supermicro C7Z270-CG - ReviewSupermicro C7Z270-CG - ReviewSupermicro C7Z270-CG - ReviewSupermicro C7Z270-CG - ReviewSupermicro C7Z270-CG - Review

About Author

Kevin Pocock

Kevin is a tech-lover with over a decade's experience testing, reviewing and writing about all kinds of kit.

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