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BIOSTAR Racing Z170GTN Mini-ITX Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: 1 week, 2 days ago
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: BIOSTAR

Packaging and Overview

 

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The Z170GTN's box carries their zebra-style racing theme, and inside I found the motherboard to be adequately packaged.

 

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The accessory package is minimal and includes four SATA6Gb/s cables, IO shield, manual, driver DVD, and ours came with an RGB strip and extension cable, but that's optional, and your package might not come with it.

 

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The motherboard has only two PWM-mode fan headers circled in red. It is common to see a Mini-ITX board with only two headers, but a third would not have hurt.

 

The motherboard utilizes a neutral color theme, where the motherboard is black, with a white strip on the VRM heat sink and an "R" that will illuminate based on the color of the RGB LEDs below them. The heat sinks will allow you to choose the color theme of your motherboard, and the black backdrop will not conflict.

 

I like how BIOSTAR executed this on the Z170GT7, but with only a few RGB LEDs in each of the heat sinks on the Z170GTN, the effect is not as pronounced. The back of the motherboard is bare except for an M.2 slot, CMOS battery, and PCB divide for the audio.

 

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The IO panel on the Z170GTN features two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, PS/2 keyboard, DVI, HDMI, WIFI antenna bracket, 1Gbit LAN, and 7.1 channel gold plated audio ports with S/PDIF TOSLINK.

 

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The Z170GTN has a single PCI-E x16 3.0 slot for your graphics card, above it sits the PCH heat sink that will illuminate based on the color you choose. The M.2 port on the rear is a x4 PCI-E 3.0 slot, but can also work in SATA6Gb/s mode. The audio hardware sits in a cordoned off section of PCB, to help isolate the analog audio signals from the digital signals on the rest of the motherboard.

 

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There are four SATA6Gb/s ports and squeezed between them, and the 24-pin connector is a U.2 port. A USB 3.0 header is located below the CPU socket area, in my opinion, a bad position for it considering most people will use it for their case's front USB 3.0 headers and not a rear USB 3.0 bracket.

 

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An M.2 port for a WIFI module is positioned behind the rear IO panel, right near the WIFI antenna bracket to help facilitate the addition of an M.2 WIFI card. There is also a 5050 RGB header for control of and external RGB LED strip.

 

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The VRM heat sink is screwed to the motherboard with the PCH heat sink uses push-pins.

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