Z270 Linux drivers (and ALC1220 codec + Killer E2500 nic) - has it worked for you?

I currently have a new Z170 based board that did some funky things and with the volume off, blew a set of headphones with crazy noises (while they were on my head, my ears still hurt a week later), which is not a bug or defect I'm willing to track down (for obvious reasons).

I need a new board, and I need it now (as in within a week or two I need to order it), and I am trying to keep it under $230 (ah, the fun of budget constraints :) ), and work with linux (I run Manjaro these days so basically any kernel - currently on 4.9.0-1). I very rarely leave linux for, say, a game of Battlefield, so the linux compatibility is #1.

I am looking at MSI's Z270 Gaming M7, M5, and Gaming Pro. Primarily the Gaming Pro due to the Intel nic, and just avoiding unknowns with the Killer E2500 (I've had no problems with the Killer E2400, but I also have an Intel nic to swap to if that one has issues, so with only one nic I'd rather stick to Intel if I can - I know zero about these things so for me its all about playing it safe on the stuff I'm clueless about).

Audio is pretty important to me, but I'm not quite at the point of buying an external dac/amp, so its functioning is a key element.

I am a bit concerned about the Z270 chipset, the ALC1220, and the Killer E2500 nic I keep seeing paired up.

Has anyone tested any of those components yet? Has the MSI titanium been tried with linux yet? I saw the video on it, but no mention of linux. I presume that kind of thing comes down the road?

Direct links to the boards I'm currently looking at for convinience:

FYI, the reason I'm not going right back to another Z170 board is that I'm having trouble finding a Z170 board that is a good replacement for my current one, but the Z270s all seem to check all the boxes, except the unknowns on the driver support.

Its pretty early for this thread, I know, but I do have a deadline so chasing answers seems my only good avenue.

I did do some searching, but sometimes I overlook an obvious set of keywords, so if there is an existing thread, article, or video that covers or relates to this, please do share links, excerpts if you'd like, and most importantly the keywords you used.

Idk about killer E2500 support on linux currently.
But i´m personally not really a huge fan of killer nic´s in general.
I personally prefer to have an intel nic solution.
Asus, and Asrock for example both use intel nic solutions on their Z270 boards.
As far as the alc1220 codec is concerned, according to @wendell ´s reviews on a couple of Z270 boards.
The audio solution seems to work fine out of the box in Fedora 25 4.8 kernel.

The Asus boards have a physical depop filter on them.

The boards like gigabyte where the DAC is replaceable are also awesome. I inserted and removed my headphones for these and nothing has happened.

Once I had a USB stick that was shorted out and when I plugged it in the machine turned off and it made some really loud funky noises.

Might I Recommend a cheaper fix? Get a USB DAC with a hardware volume control. Problem solved, and for probably solved for your next 3 generations of machine.


Yes Asus has depop filters on them.
I also trully like what Gigabyte has done this time arround with that replacable DAC.
The Aorus Z270X Gaming 5 and 7 are pretty feuture packed for their price points.

The Asus Maximus iX Hero is also a pretty nice board that i could highly recommend aswell.

But yeah wendells solution to pickup a USB DAC might be a cheaper fix.

Just for clarity, its not a replacable DAC, but the Op-Amp (the headphone amplifier) on the Gigabyte boards, which yes, its an excellent feature to have if you want to adjust the audio balance to match your headphones (more bass, flatter sound, etc).

I appreciate the replys.

Do any of you have one of these Gigabyte boards on hand, and can comfirm the Op-Amp works in linux? I always depend on an amp for my headphones, and that the Mic input works? I do a lot of stuff with audio but I don't quite have the budget for an external setup that is actually better than the internal stuff at the moment.

The GA-Z270X Gaming 5 looks nice, now that they ditched the Core3D. Plus, it has the dual NICs, which I love (and so what if one is a Killer E2500, it'll get drivers eventually and if its buggy I'll task it with the non-mission critical tasks). I looked at something of theirs earlier in the Z270 line and either I missread or its just an oddball, but I swore it was still using the creative chip, so its really nice to see this board is not.

If you do know of a good USB DAC/AMP that isn't too much, do let me know though. Its just with each component it adds up really fast.

I am currently thinking the Aorus GA-Z270X-Gaming 5 and the Aorus GA-Z270X-Gaming K7 are the most appealing prospects for my purposes (and within the price range I'm happy to spend). Anyone familiar with their naming scheme? I get the 3, 5, 7 are incrementally better, but I'm not sure what the K is meant to communicate.

Also any opinions on choice between the two? Other than a different OpAmp and the K7 not explicitly stating it doesn't support Teaming on the NICs, all I can spot is a heat pipe on the K5 that isn't there on the Gaming 5, so I'm left presuming its better. $10 difference says the same, but not by much.

I have not really looked indept at the actual diffrences between the Gaming 5 and 7 yet.
The vrm circuitry looks the same to me.
So i assume that the diffrences probably lay in connectivity options mainly.
Those heatpipes basicly are more a blingy thing.
Allthough they do help a bit with dissipating the heat a littlebit quicker comming from the Vishay Sira12 and Sira18 mosfets underneath the heatsinks a bit.
So yeah the heatpipe does have a function, but the vrm temperature diffrence will probably not,
really be that significantly diffrent between having an actual heatpipe and not having it.
If you have a decent airflow in your case.
Kabylake doesnt really consume a shit ton of power for that matter.
Its not like X99 with 8 or 10 core i7´s.
But if the price diffrence is only a few bucks then why not.
It allways helps a littlebit.

well, it wasn't a straight verticle move from the Gaming 5 to the Gaming 7.. Its actually what looks to be a different series.. its a Gaming K7, which is priced between the 5 and 7. There also exists a K5. The feature differences are very minimal it appears.

A comparison of the specs as listed on Gigabyte's website:

If someone stumbles across this and is asking the same thing, there ya go. Hopefully the link sticks around :)

I agree these all look very similar.. The Gaming 7 is out because of the Creative audio chip, but the K7 has the ALC1220 like the Gaming 5 and most of the other boards in the lineup. The Gaming 7 does seem to have a more popular op-amp (I'm not going to say better, but it does produce a nicer sound IMO) than the Gaming 5 and K7, so if linux isn't your thing that might be a factor but an Op-Amp is like $5-10.

As of now I'm set on the K7 because, like you said, if the price difference is only a few bucks then why not.

This with the K and without the K thing is weird though. I did e-mail them and ask but I don't expect a response for at least 3 days, so I figure I'd ask you guys.

I don't build systems but every few years (or, even upgrade them), so I'm really at a loss when it comes to a lot of the subtleties and details.