ASUS Z270I Strix ITX Motherboard Review
If you're still out of touch with the times and think that smaller motherboard form factors are automatically a compromise and only useful to those with tiny cases then you can dispel such notions instantly. The times they are a changing, and both ITX motherboards we've seen from the Z270 chipset - as well as all the Z170 ones we tested - show that small form factor isn't a performance limiter at all.
Actually it might almost be the other way around.
After the MSI Carbon ITX motherboard the ASUS Strix ITX is now the second motherboard we've tested that has just two DIMM slots for size reasons. It's also the second motherboard we've tested that is capable of mental DDR4 speeds. We saw 4266 MHz on the Z270I Strix, without it being difficult to obtain at all. Given how well the Carbon performed and now the Strix we can't help wondering how long it will be before the dedicated overclocking ATX offerings decide to deliberately cut down to two DIMM slots to unleash world record overclocking capabilities. It might be a deliberate design decision, it might be a happy accident, but either way if you're after the best possible DDR4 speeds then the two slot models are the way to go.
The performance we saw in our benchmarks showed what a pocket powerhouse the Strix ITX is in pretty much every scenario. Our first couple of tests, AIDA and Sandra, had us slightly fearing that we might be in for one of those products which had great CPUz numbers not reflected by their benchmark scores, but the Strix quickly got up and running and throughout the rest of our benchmarks it was consistently scoring high. In fact in the tests which are probably the most important - PC Mark, Realbench, Passmark et al - the Strix was about the best of the Z270 bunch. Impressive stuff.
If we had a complaint it's solely the curious positioning of the USB 3.1 front panel header right at the top left. Something you need to make a mental note of if you plan to utilise it, because its going to be hard to make that look nice and is really going to depend how long the case manufacturer ends up making the cable.
With any ITX motherboard there are always going to be a few compromises due to the tiny footprint but the ASUS Z270I Strix ITX motherboard has the performance and capabilities of a full ATX motherboard, it just so happens to have a smaller PCB. The combination of 4266MHz DDR4 and 5.1GHz CPU overclock allied to the results we saw in our benchmarks mean that the Strix ITX wins our OC3D Performance Award.