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Z270 vs Z170 Intel Chipset: The Difference

17 January 2017

Z270 vs Z170 Intel Chipset The Difference

Intel has recently released a new chipset Z270 series to work with the latest Kaby Lake CPU and the counterpart motherboards. This new chipset shares the same socket 1151 with its Z170 predecessor, which is a good news for many Skylake owners. With that being said, Z170 can also support Kaby Lake CPU as well after upgrading to the latest motherboard BIOS revision. However, for those who wish to upgrade from other chipset series, you will probably be confused which one to invest, as these two are kind of similar. So, let's walk through some specs and spot out the difference to make your life easier. 

Z270 vs Z170 Comparison


Specs1 Intel Z270 Chipset Intel Z170 Chipset
Code name Kaby Lake Skylake
Launch date Q1'17 Q3'15
Socket LGA 1151 LGA 1151
Overclocking support  Yes Yes
Number of DIMMs per channel 2 2
PCI support No No
PCI Express revision 3.0 3.0
Max number of PCI Express lanes 24 20
Graphics support

1x16 or 2x8 or 1x8+2x4

1x16, 2x8, 1x8+2x4

USB revision 3.0/2.0 3.0/2.0
Number of USB ports 14 14
USB 3.0 Up to 10 Up to 10
USB 2.0 Up to 14 Up to 14
Max number of SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports 6 6
Intel Optane Technology Yes No

Based on the comparison above, it can easily tell that there are not many exciting changes between Z270 and Z170. Both of them support overclocking, using the same socket LGA 1151 and the same number of USB and SATA ports.

The main difference between the two is mostly about their number of PCI Express ports and the Optane Technology:

  • 4 more PCI-E lanes

Z270 has up to 24 PCI-E 3.0 lanes, which is 4 more lanes compared with Z170. These extra 4 lanes probably do not sound so great, but it will give motherboard manufacturers a chance to improve its current product lines. Specifically, it will help the motherboard makers integrate the higher bandwidth connections like M.2 without having to split the bandwidth between devices2

  • Optane Technology3

Z2170 chipset is "Optane ready" which is a non-volatile memory generating higher performance than normal SSDs. This Intel's Optane Technology can easily pair up with any M.2 slot on the board, which can be used as a traditional storage or as a method to accelerate system performance. When combined with a large storage drive, the Intel® Optane™ memory M.2 module accelerates computer performance, while maintaining capacity. You’ll be amazed at how fast applications launch or new games install. 



Articles you may interest 

Check out some best-selling motherboards compatible with Z270 and Z170

Z270 Motherboards

ASUS PRIME Z270-AR LGA 1151 ATX Motherboard

ASUS Z270 LGA 1151 Motherboard

product line 

Gigabyte AORUS Z270X Gaming 7 LGA 1151 ATX Gaming Motherboard

Gigabyte Z270 LGA 1151 Motherboard

product line 

ASRock Z270-Pro4 LGA 1151 ATX Motherboard

ASRock Z270 LGA 1151 Motherboard

product line 

Z170 Motherboards

ASUS Z170-AR Intel LGA 1151 Motherboard

ASUS Z170 LGA 1151 Motherboard 

product line 

Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 3 LGA 1151 ATX Intel Motherboard

Gigabyte Z170 LGA 1151 Motherboard 

product line 

MSI Z170A Gaming PRO Carbon LGA 1151 ATX Motherboard

MSI Z170 LGA 1151 Motherboard 

product line 



  1. Intel ARK Menu, "Compare Intel Product
  2. Ung, G.M, 2017, Jan 3, "Official Intel 7th-gen Kaby Lake Review: One big change makes up for smaller ones"
  3. Intel Optane Technology

Tags: Z270, Z170, Intel, Kaby Lake, Skylake

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