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Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3 Review

Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3 Review

While the premium motherboard market is occupied by the ‘Aorus’ name, Gigabyte brand boards are still found in lower price-brackets. Enter then the Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3. Priced as an affordable enthusiast board, such a tag may actually do it a disservice. Yes it’s available for around £130, but this looks more than merely a budget option for Kaby Lake builds. Especially if it can follow in the footsteps of its Z170 predecessor.

Full specifications

Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3 Review – Design

Tweaking the black and red theme of the Z170 board, the newcomer pulls back on the red, adding slashes of grey across the PCB. This tone down of colour, but up-level in style gives the Z270-Gaming K3 a grittier, more mechanical presence. Grey diagonals around the CPU socket and PCH heatsink emphasise the silver caps and components, visually reinforcing Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable PCIe shielding.

The lack of any rear I/O cover certainly adds to the look. There’s nothing in the way of the metal shielding of the I/O ports, and it’s here that ‘mechanical’ feel mainly emanates. Uncovered rear ports aren’t something we’re always fans of, but here it supports the design nicely. The motherboard’s heatsinks and DIMM sockets – often far more prominent in styling – appear visually sunken and understated – it all adds up to a very smart motherboard. For those who enjoy lighting, there’s no RGB functionality on the Z270-Gaming K3. However, Gigabyte has added red LED lighting, producing an even glow around the left and right edges of the PCB.

Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3 Review – Layout and Features

As an affordable option, this motherboard does miss some features found at higher price tags. A quick look around throws up just one M.2 connector (above the first PCIe slot). While two are offered on most premium products, a single option should be enough for most users looking at this price-point. Similarly solo in its presence is the Ultra Durable shielding around that first PCIe slot.

It’s a clear suggestion that Gigabyte foresees most buyers using just one discrete graphics solution. That’s a fair assumption too, because while this motherboard does support two-way Crossfire and quad-GPU CrossFireX, populating two PCIe slots will result in each running in x4 mode. Additionally, as with the Z170 Gaming-K3, there’s no SLI support.

A maximum 64GB of DDR4 memory is supported, with native rates of 2133 or 2400MHz (up to a theoretical overclock of 3866) and dual-channel support. We tested a four-module DDR4-2666 kit and a two-module DDR4-3000, and both ran perfectly. Unsurprisingly, there’s no additional functionality found around the DIMM sockets: no Q-code display or on-board buttons are available, but again that’s well in line with a more affordable option such as this.

Among the remaining features, are upgrades rendering the predecessor Z170 board obsolete. Audio is handled by the excellent Realtek ALC 1220 codec – the go-to solution, and a solid improvement on ALC 1150. For internal connectors, the Z270-Gaming K3 has 6x SATA 6GB/s connectors, 2x SATA Express, 2x USB 3.1 and 2x 2.0/2.1 connectors. It’s a good spread, as is connectivity from the the rear ports. Here Gigabyte opts for 6x USB 3.1 ports (including one Type-A and one Type-C). These are accompanied by standard audio ports, an HDMI, a DVI-D and PS/2 port. That’s a good mix for us, offering pretty much everything that might be needed for the majority of buyers. As an added extra, Gigabyte has handed networking duties to the Killer E2500 chip, a potential boon for fans.

Finally, we can see strong support for cooling options. Gigabyte’s Smart Fan 5 system is on-board, and all headers five headers are hybrid (supporting CPU, closed loop, system and water cooling fans). Two headers specifically support 24W water pumps, which is a great option for anyone wanting to push a system built upon this motherboard. Six temperature sensors are in place on the board, and Gigabyte’s Smart Fan 5 can be accessed through its desktop APP Center suite. So there are ample options for anyone wanting to tweak, overclock and keep the heat down…even at this price!

Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3 Review – BIOS

There’s not too much to say about the BIOS on the Z270-Gaming K3. The board has DualBIOS support, and the layout and accessibility of the BIOS itself is good. The menus are easily navigable, and access to overclocking and additional options is fine. However, it is worth knowing that this is a BIOS requiring double-clicks when selecting options. For tweaking, we easily managed a modest overclock of 4.5GHz on our i7-7700K, but feel sure this motherboard could push a sample higher.














Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3 Review – Performance

Test System*:

  • Intel Core i7-7700K
  • Samsung 850 Pro SSD
  • 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3000 kit
  • Noctua NH-U12S
  • Corsair AX1500i
  • Windows 10 Home Edition

*No graphics card installed

Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3 – Conclusion

Clearly the Z270-Gaming K3 delivered some marvellous performance results. Most were within the parameters we would expect, although this motherboard’s performance in our memory bandwidth test is standout enough to be considered unusual. That might be because this motherboard is later to market, but after several run throughs the motherboard delivered near identical results on that particular benchmark. Elsewhere it’s clear Gigabyte has a finely tuned product here. The Z270-Gaming K3 led the pack in our Geekbench and Cinebench tests, and performed significantly in Firestrike. This motherboard also took the lead in our two key gaming tests – proving it lives up to its name – but doing so with a high power draw only rivalled by the Aorus Gaming 7.

What’s the takeaway here then? Well we can vouch for the validity of our benchmarks, having re-visited and ensuring their accuracy. The other motherboards featured in these results were early Z270 releases – no doubt now benefiting from BIOS updates resulting in improved performance. Nonetheless we’re happy with what this motherboard has served up, especially at a price-point lower than the Gold Award winning Prime Z270-A. And we can’t do it a disservice based n the performance it’s delivering for us right now. Given its strong performance showing, connectivity, features, style and user-friendly approach to cooling, we happily giving this motherboard our Value Award. It shouldn’t be thought of as lesser to the Gold Award either. This is a superb motherboard in its own right, and at a really great price.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3
Author Rating

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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