They say that you should not judge a book by its cover. But boy of boy does the box pack of this motherboard look awesome. The all black material, reminiscent of the hardware inside, with the big Aorus hawk and name up-front shows that Gigabyte means business with this board. The back is plastered with information and mouth watering specs. On the inside you get the first glimpse of this beauty wrapped in an anti-static bag. underneath the board are a ton of things including 4 SATA 6.0 cables, a sturdy dual SLI bridge, rear I/O panel which surprisingly had cushioning on the back, RGBW extension cable, a thick user manual and more.
This ATX motherboard gets a black matte finish all around which is nicely complimented by the white and grey colour shields. Build wise the motherboard feels sturdy and meant to last. I especially liked the chiseled out heatsink for the chipset complete with the Aorus branding. As indicated by the name this board comes with the Z270 Express chipset and towards the top you will find the LGA 1151 CPU socket that supports both 6th and 7th Gen Intel Core processors. Just on the right of that are the 4 dual channel DDR4 RAM slots that can support up to a total of 64GB of memory running at a 4000MHz.
Coming to the list of connectors at the back, you get 5 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C with support for Intel's Thunderbolt technology for super fast transfer rates of up to 40GB/s, a single PS2 port, 1 x Display port, 1 x HDMI port, 2 x LAN connectors and 5 audio jacks. It is obvious that anyone who buys this board will also be stacking a lot of heavy duty hardware on it. Keeping this in mind Aorus has planted a total of 8 fan headers on the board to connect enough cooling solutions to keep your rig running at cool temperatures. Apart from the USB ports in the rear, there are two USB 3.0 header which can be used for connecting to the front ports of your PC case. You get plenty of storage options thanks to 6 x SATA 6.0 ports, a U.2 port and 2 x M.2 ports which support Intel Optane memory. The lower left half of the board has 3 x PCI-E 3.0x16 ports and 3 x PCI-E 1.0 ports. One thing to appreciate is that all the PCI-E 3.0 and RAM slots are reinforced which is good news for gamers that own graphics cards heavy enough to crush a small kid under their weight.
Now comes the turn to talk about the RGBW LEDs spread across the board. First off, they are simply gorgeous. You can change the colour that they emit, you can cycle between the various modes like strobe, breathe, constant and even switch the lights off completely (but where is the fun in that?). There are also options to change the lighting behavior for some selected areas of the board. You can control all of this on your desktop by using the Aorus RGB Fusion app or by diving into the motherboard's BIOS. The BIOS interface itself looks neat and is mostly easy to navigate around. You can even use your mouse in the BIOS menu but I would not recommend that as the mouse pointer lags and you will be better off using the keyboard instead. If you have or plan to have RGB strips for your case then you can connect those to the RGB header found on the board and control them via the RGB Fusion app. What is more thrilling is the fact that Gigabyte has been rolling out news of RGB Fusion supporting various products like the Corsair Vengeance RGB RAMs. This makes the RGB bait even more luring for PC enthusiasts that love to customise the look of their hardware.
There is a handy power button on the board which is great for people who have open bench type system. Just beside the power button are the ECO and OC buttons. In the Eco mode the CPU draws less power and the OC mode obviously comes in use while overclocking. Overclocking on this board is actually pretty fantastic. It comes with Turbo B-clock and we could easily make our Intel Core i7 7700k run at a stable 4.7GHz. Same was the case with the RAM sticks. Using the XMP profiles was just a matter of selecting a preset from the drop-down menu. There is also a Debug LED panel that can save you a lot of time as it displays specific codes that can correspond to specific problems which could be the cause of your system not starting. The Gaming 7 also gets dual BIOS, meaning you can switch to a backup BIOS should something go terribly wrong with the first one.
Creative SoundCore 3D takes care of the audio duties for this board and provides a rich experience be it while playing games, watching movies or listening to music. The whole audio interface is shielded to avoid any electrical noise from interfering with the sound. The same is reflected in the top two rear USB 3.1 and the 3.5mm audio ports which are all gold plated to provide minimal electrical interference. There is also a switch on the board itself that allows you to increase the audio gain.
So what is my final take on the Aorus Z270X Gaming 7 motherboard? It is certainly a fantastic board that can do all that a gamer would want and even more (supporting Intel Optane technology, which is not even out yet)! The smooth and stable overclocking experience that you get with this board is as good as the various controls you get over the RGB lighting. This board scores high in the looks department as well and all of this makes the board worth the money that you spend on it. One thing to note however is that, the Z270 series as a whole is not vastly superior to the Z170 series of boards. This means that if you find yourself on a tight budget then you can opt for a Z170 motherboard as they also support 6th and 7th gen Intel Core processors. But if you want nothing but the best for your system then you would not regret spending around 22,000-23,000 on the Aorus Z270X Gaming 7 motherboard.