ASRock Z270 SuperCarrier 4-Way SLI ATX Motherboard Review

Software And Firmware

ASRocks promotes its A-Tuning software for the Z270 SuperCarrier, but it wasn’t ready for the board yet at the time of this test. Its Aura LED software works, and controls three on-board, separate zones (plus the single RGB case LED output).

The Z270 SuperCarrier defaults to an EZ Mode menu. Pressing the F6 key lets you enter Advanced mode, whereupon the boot mode can be changed to Advanced mode.

Normally capable of 4.80 GHz at 1.30V, our Core i7-7700K sample requires excessive voltage increases to go noticeably farther, regardless of the motherboard. Rather than reach that 4.80 GHz zenith, ASRock’s flagship board reached an AVX-capable stability limit of only 4.70 GHz.

Rated at DDR4-3866 for four modules at 1.35V, our DRAM hasn’t actually reached that rating (yet) without a little over-voltage. The Z270 SuperCarrier gets there with two modules installed, but only pushed a stable DDR4-3734 with four DIMMs in place.

ASRock’s CPU Load-Line Calibration works like several of its competitor’s technologies to keep the CPU voltage from dropping under heavy loads, and its Level 2 setting was most appropriate for our specific CPU and overclock settings. It still pushed the voltage beyond our desired 1.30V target however, and dropping to Level 3 caused the CPU voltage to plummet under load. A 1.280V nominal voltage setting is combined with Level 2 Load-Line Calibration to reach our target loaded voltage.

Voltmeters measure an average over a short measurement period, and ours indicates that the Z270 SuperCarrier’s 1.330V setting produces 1.349 to 1.354V at the DIMM slot. Though the extra voltage of a motherboard-default XMP-voltage setting might have produced a higher overclock, differences between manufacturers and even between products make this the most consistent method of giving every manufacturer and product an equal opportunity in the overclocking test.

The UEFI Tool menu provides settings such as Instant Flash, Internet Flash (which polls an ASRock server and downloads the file to a thumb drive for Instant Flash), and even a cached RAID driver for your Windows installation. Aura RGB menu appears identical to the Windows software version. The System Browser utility shows detected hardware, which might be useful for determining whether a part that doesn’t appear in Windows is being detected by the motherboard. The COM port is highlighted arbitrarily, since certain legacy devices aren’t detectable from UEFI.

Only two of the fan headers — CPU_Opt and CHA_Fan3 — are capable of controlling three-pin fans via voltage, and these are the same headers with 1.5A capability. Other headers are limited to PWM-based control, and have a 1A output limit.

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  • sillynilly
    I have no use for 3-4 way SLI, but I will say I think the mobo looks good. Glad to see more boards move away from bright color schemes for those of us that like a bit of flair, but not too much. Other than the looks I have no use for it - but great review for those that would.
  • nycalex
    ummmmm kind of pointless 4 way sli? even nvidia don't want you to go over 2 x sli on their pascal..........
  • Eximo
    Unless you happen to have a pile of older GPUs it doesn't make a lot of sense. But two 1080Ti should be better than four 980ti anyway. If not in raw performance, at least in scaling.
  • JackNaylorPE
    It seems everyone now is following MSI incorporating reinforced PCIE-slots and here with the "graphique" application to the MoBo (tho here done poorly). Even if you don't use 3 or 4 GFX cards, the extra slot spacing was oft chased by enthusiasts to provide wider card spacing and better cooling. But it has now been shown that with current MoBos, that having the switch negatively impacts 2 x SLI / CF performance.

    SLI performance with the 3rd or 4th card never brought significant gamoins as scaling was very poor compared to adding the second card. And now SLI isn't officially supported with 3 or 4 cards, nor can it be said that it is much supported at all as the days of 70+ average scaling and 95 to over 100% in the real hardware demanding gains are gone. Now we see 18% at 1080p, 30% at 1440p ... only at 4k do we get to anything cost effective.

    Whether this exists because nVidia just didn't want 1080 sales to be cannibalized by 2 x 1070 sales as it has been since the 5xx series or because AMD had nothing to compete w/ the two cards that support SLI is unknown. But if my budget is going to be taped by a MoBo in this price category, I'm going to be forced to look elsewhere because of the inclusion of cheaper on board componentry and having a fan header that doesn't support both PWM and DCV control is just silly. This was to be more price competitive ? Increase margins ? or to allow inclusion of RGB ... no thanks to all.
  • dark_lord69
    I see they added a 48 Lane PCIe switch, definitely needed...
  • mcconkeymike
    It's a good looking board, but I see no reason to switch from my Z270 Extreme4.
  • JackNaylorPE
    65488 said:
    So with 24 PCIe lanes your gonna do Quad SLI? LOL Anyone see that many PCIe slots on the Z270 chipset as anything more than a marketing gimmick? (24 Lanes) So how would that work? 24 lanes / 4 video cards = 6 Lanes for each card = Lame Then what about the M.2 card? Sounds like a half-455ed quad SLI setup if you ask me.


    Ummm ... It works as the extra PLX8747 chip has always worked to provide support for 4 cards by bringing an extra 48 lanes to the table. Nothing new or "weird" here.

    https://docs.broadcom.com/docs/12351854
  • daddywalter
    This motherboard looks good, but it reminds me of Stephen Wright's line: "You can't have everything. Where would you put it?"
  • dstarr3
    I'm glad I'm not the only one confused by the timing of this. Like... two years ago, sure! But... now? When everyone important has declared 3- and 4-way SLI dead?
  • Rookie_MIB
    282164 said:
    ummmmm kind of pointless 4 way sli? even nvidia don't want you to go over 2 x sli on their pascal..........


    Well, don't forget that there might be other uses for those PCIe slots to have x8 usage, such as a RAID card, video capture, etc. I have a quad-SLI (Asus P7F7-E WS) motherboard which is running a SLI gpu setup, but the other two slots have a Intel quad-NIC and a RAID adapter for example...
  • Eximo
    1373686 said:
    282164 said:
    ummmmm kind of pointless 4 way sli? even nvidia don't want you to go over 2 x sli on their pascal..........
    Well, don't forget that there might be other uses for those PCIe slots to have x8 usage, such as a RAID card, video capture, etc. I have a quad-SLI (Asus P7F7-E WS) motherboard which is running a SLI gpu setup, but the other two slots have a Intel quad-NIC and a RAID adapter for example...


    That's what X58/X79/X99/X299 is for. Unless you really can't wait for Skylake-X and really want a Kabylake processor today and need two additional 8x slots. Doing quad SLI on a Z270 is the odd part.

    In your case, that was a different era and having 3-way SLI was worth something with LGA1156.
  • Crashman
    35894 said:
    65488 said:
    So with 24 PCIe lanes your gonna do Quad SLI? LOL Anyone see that many PCIe slots on the Z270 chipset as anything more than a marketing gimmick? (24 Lanes) So how would that work? 24 lanes / 4 video cards = 6 Lanes for each card = Lame Then what about the M.2 card? Sounds like a half-455ed quad SLI setup if you ask me.
    Ummm ... It works as the extra PLX8747 chip has always worked to provide support for 4 cards by bringing an extra 48 lanes to the table. Nothing new or "weird" here. https://docs.broadcom.com/docs/12351854
    Careful! The PEX8747 provides only 16 extra lanes. 16 in, 32 out, makes 48 :) And if you use four cards, you're at x8 mode for all of them: Since the PEX8747 is repeating data to all four cards, it might as well have an x8 interface on the CPU side when all four cards are running at x8.

    1373686 said:
    282164 said:
    ummmmm kind of pointless 4 way sli? even nvidia don't want you to go over 2 x sli on their pascal..........
    Well, don't forget that there might be other uses for those PCIe slots to have x8 usage, such as a RAID card, video capture, etc. I have a quad-SLI (Asus P7F7-E WS) motherboard which is running a SLI gpu setup, but the other two slots have a Intel quad-NIC and a RAID adapter for example...
    Now that's a great use! See what I said above about the graphics cards using identical data: The other eight lanes from the CPU would be great for other uses, so 3-way SLI and a big fat storage card would scale almost ideally. That is, if you have graphics cards that support 3-way SLI :)
  • junkeymonkey
    ...LOL... I read this '' ummmmm kind of pointless 4 way sli? even nvidia don't want you to go over 2 x sli on their pascal.......... ''

    thing is how many guys get this board the buy 4 -10 series cards and post here at toms on there 4 way sli set up don't work ...lol .. just shows they know most just read in to there smoke blowing and HYPE and how cool all that is with RGB led lighting run to new egg hand over all there cash and then cant understand why it don't work ..

    ASRock Z270 SuperCarrier with 4x 1080ti cant get 4 way sli to work / cant apply 4 way sli/ ect..... yup, I can see them posts now

    if guys would read the facts and specs instead of the crap and hype 1/2 these threads here at toms would disappear.. like the easy to find my 10 series card don't work with my vga monitor ..lol.... as Pt Barnum said '' a suckers born every second ''


    I went to see if any of that changed from NVidia ? don't seem like it

    ''Realistically, unless developers go the extra mile to add in DirectX 12 multi-display adapter support—which first appeared in Stardock and Oxide’s Ashes of the Singularity—it sounds like 3- and 4-way SLI is being all but written off for dead going forward.''

    aand nothing on that on NVidia letterhead ???
  • IceMyth
    I believe JayzTwoCents did 3-SLI for 1080 and for some games it didnt work and he got only black screen. Maybe something will be interesting with 1080Ti , who knows? We will need to see benchmarks and game testings.
  • WhyAreYou
    Awesome review, looks great
  • PowerOC
    I wonder why It didnt get to 4800, but still looks pretty good and really decent pricing for such high end mobo.
  • Lucid Renegade
    Any chance of a Biostar z270gt9 review?
  • Crashman
    1885327 said:
    Any chance of a Biostar z270gt9 review?
    Not likely, it appears the sample we tried testings weeks ago was damaged.
  • ledhead11
    Just trying to envision a useful purpose for this.

    As almost everyone will state. Not much good for gaming. But . . .

    What about an affordable network rendering station. With the right CPU and GPU combo's and perhaps the use of virtualization it seems you could really have a neat small office rendering solution for multiple users at the same time. I admit I'm not very knowledgeable about such things but it seems to be pointing that direction.
  • Crashman
    1782036 said:
    Just trying to envision a useful purpose for this. As almost everyone will state. Not much good for gaming. But . . . What about an affordable network rendering station. With the right CPU and GPU combo's and perhaps the use of virtualization it seems you could really have a neat small office rendering solution for multiple users at the same time. I admit I'm not very knowledgeable about such things but it seems to be pointing that direction.
    It would likely be very useful for GPU computing solutions, particularly if your application doesn't require a bunch of CPU threads. But then again, there are mid-priced 2011-v3 alternatives that could potentially come out cheaper.
  • ledhead11
    8708 said:
    1782036 said:
    Just trying to envision a useful purpose for this. As almost everyone will state. Not much good for gaming. But . . . What about an affordable network rendering station. With the right CPU and GPU combo's and perhaps the use of virtualization it seems you could really have a neat small office rendering solution for multiple users at the same time. I admit I'm not very knowledgeable about such things but it seems to be pointing that direction.
    It would likely be very useful for GPU computing solutions, particularly if your application doesn't require a bunch of CPU threads. But then again, there are mid-priced 2011-v3 alternatives that could potentially come out cheaper.


    Yeah that's kind of the direction I was thinking but didn't know the correct terminology. In my random net surfing ventures I've seen some similar rack mount solutions as this as well.
  • JerseyDevil101
    Well from what I heard with the DirectX 12, you can have two Video Cards non Crossfire/SLI running at the same time. Maybe you could do Crossfire and SLI setup on the same machine?

    It's called Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR). I think only Ashes of Singularity even uses this. Completely niche but it might be something to consider in the future once DirectX 12 is more utilized in games.
  • TJ Hooker
    345212 said:
    Well from what I heard with the DirectX 12, you can have two Video Cards non Crossfire/SLI running at the same time. Maybe you could do Crossfire and SLI setup on the same machine? It's called Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR). I think only Ashes of Singularity even uses this. Completely niche but it might be something to consider in the future once DirectX 12 is more utilized in games.

    It's called explicit multi adapter, and it's an option in DX12, meaning that devs have to implement it on a per game (or at least per game engine) basis.

    AFR is the the method currently used by SLI/Crossfire.