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GIGABYTE Z170N-WIFI (Intel Z170) Mini-ITX Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Dec 24, 2015 7:05 pm
TweakTown Rating: 89%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Packaging and Overview

 

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The Z170N-WIFI's box is quite thick and combined with the packaging protects the motherboard from any outside exposure.

 

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Accessories are the basics; WirelessAC/BT magnetic antenna, 2x SATA6Gb/s cables, IO panel, GIGABYTE case badge, driver DVD, and manual with a survey.

 

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The GIGABYTE Z170N-WIFI has two 4-pin fan headers circled in blue and red. The CPU fan header circled in blue is a PWM header and the system fan header circled in red is a voltage mode fan header, which is backward compatible with PWM. Only having two headers might seem low, but it's a pretty common number for Mini-ITX systems that are traditionally designed to be quiet and only utilize a CPU cooling fan and perhaps one or two system fans.

 

You will notice at first glance that the VRM doesn't have any heat sink, in fact, only the PCH has a heat sink. GIGABYTE didn't blow it with the aesthetics; they did make sure to keep a black color theme going so that the board is easy to match. At the price point of this motherboard, many users are looking for basic looks since the board is just going to fade into the case, and if that is what you are looking for, then the Z170N-WIFI delivers. The back of the motherboard is quite bare for a Mini-ITX board; there are only a few chips and an M.2 slot.

 

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The IO panel on the Z170N-WIFI carries antenna jacks, PS/2 keyboard or mouse, 2x HDMI, DVI, 4x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.0 Type-C, 2x 1Gbit RJ-45 ports, and 7.1 audio outputs with S/PDIF.

 

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The Z170N-WIFI has a 4-pin ATX12V connector for CPU power; this connection is rated for about 150W, that is enough for most Skylake CPU overclocks on air. The two fan headers are located nearby.

 

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The Z170N-WIFI has four right-angled SATA6Gb/s ports, all of which can be used as SATA Express. GIGABYTE also provides a 32Gb/s M.2 slot on the back of the motherboard. This slot will use the bandwidth from SATA3_0 only if an SATA-based M.2 drive is installed.

 

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Two other SATA connectors are located near the PCH on the other side of the two memory DIMMs that are single ended, so you can easily install and remove DIMMs without removing your full-sized video card. The clear CMOS header is located at the fixed end of the memory DIMMs. A full-sized video card will not interfere with any of the headers. GIGABYTE provides a decent amount of audio features on this tiny board. The two white headers you see are for audio and for USB 2.0 (there is also a two pin S/PDIF header). A USB 3.0 internal header is also located in this area.

 

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The Wireless AC/BT 4.2 card is vertically secured to the motherboard with a support brace. Between the 24-pin connector and the right-angled SATA ports are the color coded front panel headers.

 

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The PCH heat sink uses plastic push pins.

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