EVGA Z370 FTW Motherboard Review

What set of features qualifies an enthusiast-market board to be labeled as high-end? Once upon a time it was just a second network controller, a storage controller, and a big voltage regulator for overclocking. Such boards were typically priced around $180. Since then, superfluous features such as onboard RGB lighting and multiple headers for RGB strips have worked their way down to enthusiast mainstream, while the traditional high-end market has worked its way up to the $220+ price point. On the contrary, “we don’t need no stinking RGB” is the mantra we keep hearing from a small group of enthusiasts who pine for the more traditional “blacked out” aesthetic. Before that, a similarly small group was asking “why would I want Wi-Fi on a desktop.” But we digress.

EVGA responds to these sentiments with an overclocking board that’s all business, if your business is gaming and/or overclocking. The firm even ditched the second network controller traditionally found on high-end boards, giving its Z370 FTW a solidly enthusiast mainstream feature set, apart from the big voltage regulator. And if you’d gladly give up a few controllers that you’re probably not going to use anyway just to get a decent price on a solid board, the Z370 FTW might just be the design you were looking for. But will it meet your other expectations?

Specifications

A high-bandwidth USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller is the one other add-in that separates EVGA’s Z370 FTW from most enthusiast mainstream boards, though it doesn’t extend to a front-panel header often found on high-end boards. The inclusion pushes I/O panel USB ports to eight, with the other six being the USB 3.0 variety that so many of EVGA’s competitors have renamed “USB 3.1 Gen 1.”

Other I/O panel features include DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 1.2, an Intel PHY-fed Gigabit Ethernet port, five analog audio jacks enabling live 7.1 surround from Realtek’s upper-level ALC1220 codec, and a digital optical connector that, as usual for onboard sound, provides surround channels only from pre-encoded sources. EVGA also provides a CLR_CMOS button on the I/O panel to assist overclockers who’ve already closed their cases.

Is screen printing a feature? Handy labels allow builders to instantly recognize which slots and ports are shared with their M.2 interfaces. Intended for consumer-added notebook Wi-Fi modules, the Key-E slot at the top shares the PCIe x1 slot above the second PCIe x16 connector, which seems a little strange since the slot below that connector is more likely to be blocked by a graphics card’s cooler. The other two M.2 slots are exclusively for PCIe NVMe drives, yet can steal two lanes each from SATA ports thanks to the flexible HSIO design of Intel’s Z370 PCH.

The switch above the second x1 connector allows its lane to feed either it or the Key-E slot. Four additional switches carry two lanes each to automatically configure the two metal-reinforced x16-length slots as x16/x0 or x8/x8 via automatic card detection.

Rather than stuff the HD-Audio front panel connector in the bottom rear corner, EVGA put the Z370 FTW’s slot-boosting auxiliary power header there. That in turn pushes the front panel audio connector forward along the bottom edge, where it’s within easier reach of the associated cable. Farther forward are an S/PDIF internal output, two 4-pin fan headers, a USB 2.0 header, a USB 3.0 header, and the front-panel power/reset/activity LED group. Anyone fearing that a graphics card in the lower x16-length slot might prevent the use of that USB 3.0 header needs to reconsider card placement, as it’s only wired to four lanes through the PCH.

The front edge features six SATA 6Gb/s ports, another USB 3.0 header, a dual-firmware selection switch, the 24-pin main power connector, a POST code display, reset and power buttons, and another four-pin fan header. Three additional four-pin fan headers along the top edge complete the periphery.

The Z370 FTW includes a flexible SLI bridge, two SATA cables, two thermal pads, an I/O shield, driver disc, manual, and case badge.

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  • WildCard999
    About time EVGA spaced out the PCIE slots for the FTW board. For those that don't know the older boards had multiple PCIE slots however only the top two could be used for SLI and the spacing was atrocious causing high temps on the top GPU.
  • Questors
    "...we don’t need no stinking RGB” is the mantra we keep hearing from a small group of enthusiasts who pine for the more traditional “blacked out” aesthetic. Before that, a similarly small group was asking “why would I want Wi-Fi on a desktop.” But we digress.

    You should digress. I still don't have WIFI on my desktop and don't want it. I also don't want the proverbial Christmas tree flashing lights out my PC chassis. It looks like an ensemble of emergency vehicles at a bad accident scene.

    There is no need for your uppity attitude against those who have different wants than you.
  • AnimeMania
    I can't believe you didn't show a nice picture of the input/output ports. That is the first thing I look at on a motherboard and then the twinkley lights. I don't know a lot about motherboards.
  • dennphill
    Amen to Questors!
  • Crashman
    30213 said:
    "...we don’t need no stinking RGB” is the mantra we keep hearing from a small group of enthusiasts who pine for the more traditional “blacked out” aesthetic. Before that, a similarly small group was asking “why would I want Wi-Fi on a desktop.” But we digress. You should digress. I still don't have WIFI on my desktop and don't want it. I also don't want the proverbial Christmas tree flashing lights out my PC chassis. It looks like an ensemble of emergency vehicles at a bad accident scene. There is no need for your uppity attitude against those who have different wants than you.
    You have no idea what any one of us specifically wants. Our only task concerning added features is to consider whether people are buying it and how much it costs to implement when writing up the value portion. Wi-Fi on Desktops is nothing more than an example of a feature that has been growing longer.

    Someone once told me he was looking for a board that had four USB connections on the back and a single header for front USB. "Uppity" would be to demand someone produce it.
  • Crashman
    1839266 said:
    I can't believe you didn't show a nice picture of the input/output ports. That is the first thing I look at on a motherboard and then the twinkley lights. I don't know a lot about motherboards.
    Click on the oblique image. It expands :)
  • 1800Allen
    "We don’t see any voltage-mode options for the PWM fan headers, nor do we see custom fan slopes."

    There is a setting in the SMART fan menu to set your own curve and they had some options as to what temp for the curve to run against too.
  • Crashman
    2351912 said:
    "We don’t see any voltage-mode options for the PWM fan headers, nor do we see custom fan slopes." There is a setting in the SMART fan menu to set your own curve and they had some options as to what temp for the curve to run against too.
    Going by what little I can remember of the board, you got a choice of factory-programmed slopes and no choice in PWM or voltage control. Do you have more specifics there?
  • nickbaldwin86
    Waiting for the Classy to be released. but this FTW has been out of stock since the day it was released or maybe day after. hoping the Classy board has a little more room for the 8700K to play with.
  • Crashman
    2625957 said:
    Waiting for the Classy to be released. but this FTW has been out of stock since the day it was released or maybe day after. hoping the Classy board has a little more room for the 8700K to play with.
    Tom's Hardware News says it was released the beginning of October, correct? It was available when I did a price check at the end of November, so that's like six weeks. Maybe it was out of stock between those dates?
  • nickbaldwin86
    2625957 said:
    Tom's Hardware News says it was released the beginning of October, correct? It was available when I did a price check at the end of November, so that's like six weeks. Maybe it was out of stock between those dates?


    OH! I could be totally wrong on the exact date it sold out but I just know EVGA stuff is hard to get right now and has been. Look at the X299 for example. The Dark board went on sale and sold out that day, sure it was a limited run but still short sale and low stock for sure. The Classy Z370 is LONG over due now, EVGA is the only one that doesn't have a "line up" of main boards flooding the market. I check twice a day haha no joke . hate to say EVGA is "late to the game" because they still have me impatiently waiting :) Doing my best ok LOL
  • Questors
    8708 said:
    30213 said:
    "...we don’t need no stinking RGB” is the mantra we keep hearing from a small group of enthusiasts who pine for the more traditional “blacked out” aesthetic. Before that, a similarly small group was asking “why would I want Wi-Fi on a desktop.” But we digress. You should digress. I still don't have WIFI on my desktop and don't want it. I also don't want the proverbial Christmas tree flashing lights out my PC chassis. It looks like an ensemble of emergency vehicles at a bad accident scene. There is no need for your uppity attitude against those who have different wants than you.
    You have no idea what any one of us specifically wants. Our only task concerning added features is to consider whether people are buying it and how much it costs to implement when writing up the value portion. Wi-Fi on Desktops is nothing more than an example of a feature that has been growing longer. Someone once told me he was looking for a board that had four USB connections on the back and a single header for front USB. "Uppity" would be to demand someone produce it.


    First, I didn't presume what anyone else wanted.
    Second, for the most part, products are designed and sold based on what marketing research and consumer opinion dictate, or they don't succeed.
    Third, just because I don't like or want wireless and and a train wreck scene glaring out of my PC case, doesn't mean you don't. I acknowledge this. However, just because you do want the train wreck, doesn't mean everyone does.
    Fourth, the statement about those of us who didn't want wireless as a feature on our motherboards was condescending at least. I prefer to not have these features.

    That is why I enjoy EVGA boards over others and don't buy other brands (as a matter of fact). The DIY approach of adding in your own mini-WIFI card is exactly why I have enjoyed the Classified series from EVGA. If you search the forums there under X99 boards, you find a thread that a few of us put together for adding at Killer mini-WIFI card to the Classified M.2 slot intended for WIFI use.

    I still prefer no WIFI, but more than that, prefer the choice of whether I decide to add it later. I don't like paying for features, research and setup to manufacture that I will never use. There is already too much of that on too many products. Solid performance and reliability trump all. DIY is like the King to the Ace.
  • Crashman
    30213 said:
    8708 said:
    30213 said:
    There is no need for your uppity attitude against those who have different wants than you.
    You have no idea what any one of us specifically wants. Our only task concerning added features is to consider whether people are buying it and how much it costs to implement when writing up the value portion. Wi-Fi on Desktops is nothing more than an example of a feature that has been growing longer. Someone once told me he was looking for a board that had four USB connections on the back and a single header for front USB. "Uppity" would be to demand someone produce it.
    I didn't presume what anyone else wanted...just because I don't like or want wireless and and a train wreck scene glaring out of my PC case, doesn't mean you don't. I acknowledge this. However, just because you do want the train wreck, doesn't mean everyone does.
    Not presuming what anyone wants followed by presuming what I want? Square that circle :D

    If you'd be so kind, please allow me to highlight the most important passage of my response that you so carefully glossed over: "Our only task concerning added features is to consider whether people are buying it and how much it costs to implement when writing up the value portion."

    This was the entire point, the only reason that matters for writing the response. Please reconsider this passage, and thank you for your concern.
  • ddferrari
    Looks like the Gigabyte is the way to go here. Sorry EVGA. Still waiting for a good reason to upgrade my 2013 rig with a 3570K @ 4.4Hz, 16 GB DDR3, an Up4th mobo (Upforth) and a 1080 Ti.

    Has Moore's law finally hit?
  • omegaman2
    This EVGA motherboard is just right for the sort of work I am into with using such programs as Adobe Photoshop; for visual art work in photography, and digital art. Although to most computer users, and game enthusiasts a bit high in price; EVGA has designed, and built a motherboard that has capabilities, quality, and features, such as 3.1 USB that are worth its price. I may buy one myself.
  • wifiburger
    no RGB, no dual lan, no wifi = trash,
  • omegaman2
    Some of us, whether we are fanatical about upper performance levels or not, or a gamer, don't much care for extras, or bells and whistles. Especially if RGB lights, dual fans, or even WiFi have little to do with the tasks, and functionality of what you want to do. It's what you want to accomplish. Besides, how is WiFi really going to be very necessary, anyway?
  • Crashman
    1737641 said:
    Some of us, whether we are fanatical about upper performance levels or not, or a gamer, don't much care for extras, or bells and whistles. Especially if RGB lights, dual fans, or even WiFi have little to do with the tasks, and functionality of what you want to do. It's what you want to accomplish. Besides, how is WiFi really going to be very necessary, anyway?
    It depends on what you'd like to do.
    1. My wife uses Wi-Fi, but I use Ethernet.
    2. When our internet provider forced me to use its new hardware that didn't work with any of my AP/routers, I ended up using the Wi-Fi on the Ethernet-connected system as an access point for the Wi-Fi-connected system.
    3. Eventually I just ditched that internet provider, and now I'm back to 1.
  • wifiburger
    1737641 said:
    Some of us, whether we are fanatical about upper performance levels or not, or a gamer, don't much care for extras, or bells and whistles. Especially if RGB lights, dual fans, or even WiFi have little to do with the tasks, and functionality of what you want to do. It's what you want to accomplish. Besides, how is WiFi really going to be very necessary, anyway?


    hum... see I bought an entry level motherboard for my Ryzen, in the end I ended up using two pcie slots for second lan and wifi,
    due to 1080ti two pcie slots are blocked, leaves me with only one pcie in the future, so yeah it's important to have those on the board,

    my internet is gigabit :-), so my second lan is for my file server and my wifi is for gaming, it's the only client on the 5g band + mtu is set to minimum allowed for destiny 2 low latency :-) 1301
  • Lutfij
    Uppity attitude or not, this is another one of your great write up, Thomas! When compared to MSI's Godlike being equipped with 18 phases and 11 on this one, I'd definitely say the engineers at EVGA got the memo on pulling out a polished product out of their hats!