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BIOSTAR Racing Z270GT6 – Review

BIOSTAR Racing Z270GT6 – Review

BIOSTAR is a new name on UK shores, and it’s arrived with a bang. The Racing Z270GT6 is a £178 board that works with Intel’s latest CPUs, and it also includes something we’ve never seen with a motherboard in the past – a free SSD.


Form Factor: ATX
Chipset: Intel Z270
CPU support: LGA 1151 (Intel Skylake, Intel Kaby Lake)
Memory support: Dual-channel 64GB DDR4 3,200MHz
Audio: Realtek ALC892
Networking: Intel Gigabit Ethernet
Slots: 1 x PCI-E x16, 2 x PCI-E x16 4x, 4 x PCI-E x1
Storage: 6 x SATA 3, 1 x U.2, 1 x M.2
Backplate: 4 x USB 3, 1 x USB 3 type-C, 2 x USB 2, 1 x PS/2, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI-D, 1 x Ethernet, 6 x audio

Design & Features

The free SSD is a 240GB unit that uses 16nm TLC NAND. That means its storage chips are arranged in several layers in order to keep costs down – but it also means this drive won’t break any speed records. Still, when formatted it provides 223GB of space, which isn’t exactly bad for a freebie.

This board sets out its stall as a high-end slab of PCB. The top of the board has a row of smart, touch-sensitive buttons that handle booting and resets alongside Eco and Sport modes, and there’s a two-character POST display to help with diagnostics. There’s also a neat switch that can be used to swap between two saved BIOSes, which is ideal for tweaking.

BIOSTAR has backed up these fast-paced features with some solid aesthetic touches. The Racing brand is highlight with a chequered flag design that streaks across the black PCB, and there are a couple of RGB LEDs – a row alongside the left-hand border, near the audio circuitry, and another in the main heatsink.

The LEDs can be customised in software, with the full gamut of colours available alongside a few different patterns. That’s good, although other boards offer more, including lights that respond to system activity or temperatures. Pleasingly, BIOSTAR has included two headers designed to use with strips of RGB LEDs – connect these and the strips of light can be synchronised with the on-board illuminations.

The BIOSTAR ticks some of the right boxes when you look beyond high-end options and investigate the basics. It supports every one of Intel’s Skylake and Kaby Lake processors, and it handles 64GB of DDR4 memory at a maximum speed of 3,200MHz. That’s enough for most people, but higher-end boards will support overclocked memory at faster speeds – the Asus ROG Strix Z270E, for instance, supports 3,866MHz memory and still costs less than £200.

It’s got a PCI-Express x16 slot that can use its full bandwidth allocation, which is great for running top-tier graphics cards. The BIOSTAR has two more PCI-Express x16 slots, but those two only run at 4x speed – so they’re no good for dual-graphics. Indeed, this board doesn’t even support more than one Nvidia or AMD GPU, unlike the Asus, which can run two PCI-Express x16 slots at 8x speed with a pair of graphics cards deployed.

That’s not ideal for high-end gamers, but the BIOSTAR’s selection of slots fights back elsewhere. Those two slower PCI-Express x16 slots have ample bandwidth for Intel Optane memory, and this board offers four PCI-Express x1 sockets – tiny connectors that are ideal for wireless cards, sound cards and PCI-based NVMe storage.

The storage selection is reasonable elsewhere. There are six SATA 3 ports with four installed perpendicular to the board – which is easier for cables – and there’s a single future-proofed U.2 connector. There’s an M.2 connector, too, which is ideal for NVMe storage, and the connector here comes with a beefy heatsink.

That’s a good inclusion for keeping today’s super-fast SSDs cool, but we’re a little disappointed to see only a single M.2 port on this board, because the Intel Z270 chipset supports two of these connectors – and the Asus includes two.

The BIOSTAR has several impressive features, but in other areas it’s more ordinary. Its audio circuitry is isolated and there’s a headphone amp, but that’s par for the course these days – and there’s nothing special about the Realtek ALC892 audio chip that underpins this board’s sound, either.

We’ve got a couple of layout quibbles, too. Any large expansion card in the second PCI-Express x16 slot will block the POST display, and it’s liable to be hindered by cables at the bottom of the board too – we’d have preferred it at the top, near the touch-sensitive buttons. The front panel headers aren’t colour-coded, either, which makes this fiddly installation a little trickier.

There are five PWM-equipped fan headers, but none at mid-board, which is irritating. And the backplate is basic: there are USB 3 ports but no USB 3.1, no optical S/PDIF or wireless internet. All of those features are included on the Asus. There are six audio ports, but they’re not colour-coded – an odd design decision that just impedes connectivity.

The board is governed by the Z270 chipset. It’s Intel’s top Kaby Lake silicon, which means it delivers the most PCI bandwidth, support for Intel Optane memory and the maximum number of SATA, USB and M.2 ports – although it’s a little disappointing that BIOSTAR hasn’t used the chipset to its full effect here.


The BIOS is a UEFI affair, so there’s mouse control, but it’s a little underdeveloped when compared to rivals. Its front screen doesn’t offer as much information as the Asus equivalent, and there isn’t many options to change things from this panel – something that Asus does very well indeed.

Delve into the menus and all of the usual options are there, but even these can be tricky to navigate. The only menu with its name written down is the one you’ve selected, so finding your way around is a bit cumbersome. We also found mouse control was less responsive than the software included with rival boards.

It’s a fine BIOS and it won’t stop you overclocking or tweaking, but the Asus has software that’s slicker and easier to use.


Test System:

Intel Core i7-7700K
Samsung 850 Pro SSD
16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3,200MHz DDR4
Noctua NH-D15
Corsair CX500M
Windows 10 Professional

The BIOSTAR’s free SSD is a 240GB drive that uses 16nm TLC NAND. That’s enough information to suggest that it’ll be a middling SATA 3 drive, and benchmarks proved those suspicions correct. Its read and write scores of 527MB/s and 457MB/s are entirely ordinary, and its small file results of 31MB/s and 107MB/s are inconsistent – which suggests the drive will be quicker when writing than when reading files.

Still, it’s difficult to criticise this SSD when it’s included with the motherboard, and it was never sluggish in our benchmarks. Its pace is on par from Samsung’s market-leading SATA drives from a couple of years ago, and it’s far faster than any traditional hard disk.

The board itself proved middling across most of our benchmarks. Its Geekbench single- and multi-core results are a couple of hundred points behind the Asus board, and the BIOSTAR fell behind by similarly small distances in Cinebench – in the CPU benchmark it was only three points behind.

The BIOSTAR’s memory bandwidth results were only a tiny distance behind the Asus, and it was similarly close in 3D Mark Fire Strike – its result of 1,236 wasn’t even 30 points behind the rival product.

That tiny gap translated to solid gaming results, with barely any difference between the BIOSTAR and the Asus in Fallout 4 and Battlefield 1 – the BIOSTAR was always slower, but it’s not enough to make a difference in real-world tests.

The BIOSTAR also snuck ahead of the Asus in storage tests, with its read and write speeds a handle of megabytes ahead of the Asus.

The GT6 was behind its biggest rival in most benchmarks, then, but motherboard tests always come with caveats. The margins here are tiny, with slower results or superior scores making no noticeable different in almost all real-world scenarios – only those looking for absolute peak performance will want to study the results tables.


The BIOSTAR board has most of the basic features we require from an ATX product, and we can’t forget that SSD – it’s not the fastest, but it’s a generous inclusion with this £178 slab of PCB.

Elsewhere, though, it’s a bit inconsistent. It’s got some good features, but it’s missing many of the inclusions that are now commonplace on mid-range gaming boards, like dual-graphics support, multiple M.2 sockets and beefed-up audio. It’s a solid performer, too – never far enough behind the Asus to make a different in real-world applications and games.

If you’re after an SSD and don’t mind giving up some features, then the Z270GT6 is a good option. But if you have the cash to buy a better SSD elsewhere, then opt for the Asus board – it’s a tad faster and it easily beats the BIOSTAR when it comes to features too.


Review Date
Reviewed Item
BIOSTAR Racing Z270GT6
Author Rating

Review Overview

About Author

Mike Jennings

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