Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
One of the major uses of mini-ITX motherboards is as the backbone of a home theater PC, and there are many typical mini-ITX features we see across brands, such as dual HDMI outputs on mini-ITX motherboards. Today we take a look at an H370 mini-ITX motherboard, which is very similar to its Z370 counterpart, but not in price. It's about 15% cheaper and has many of the same features. Let's see what it has to offer.
The H370N WIFI features two M.2 slots, USB 3.1, USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, SATA6Gb/s, and RGB LED support.
The price of the H370N WIFI is $127.99.
Packaging and H370N WIFI Overview
Packaging and Overview
The motherboard box reveals that this motherboard is part of GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable lineup and not its Aorus gaming brand. Packaging is quite good; the motherboard sits surrounded by foam in the box.
The accessory package includes IO shield, WIFI antenna, two SATA6Gb/s cables, driver DVD, and manual.
We find three fan headers, which is decent for a mini-ITX motherboard. All the headers are capable of operating in PWM or DC mode. They are all located at the top of the motherboard. The motherboard carries a solid black matte PCB, and the heat sinks are black as well. If you want this motherboard to fade into the background, you are in luck. The back of the motherboard is where you will find your second M.2 slots, and there are other controllers on the rear as well.
The rear IO panel features four USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.0 type-C, HDMI 1.4, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, two Gbit LAN ports, WIFI connectors, microphone jack, input jack, speaker jack.
There are two M.2 slots that operate at up to x4 PCI-E 3.0. The M.2 slot on the front of the motherboard also supports SATA drives.
We find a full 8-pin power connector at the top right of the motherboard near a TPM header and three fan headers. Under the 24-pin connector, we find our front panel headers, four SATA6Gb/s ports, USB 3.0 internal header, USB 2.0 internal header, an RGBW header, and a clear CMOS header.
Near the HD audio and S/PDIF headers are the digital RGB LED header and a jumper to change its voltage between 12v and 5v. They really screwed the VRM heat sink into the motherboard; contact is excellent.
The VRMs and PCH all have heat sinks; the VRM heat sinks use pushpins.
GIGABYTE H370N WIFI Circuit Analysis
H370N WIFI Circuit Analysis
The H370N WIFI reveals its secrets with the heat sinks removed.
The VRM is in a 4+2 phase configuration for the VCore and iGPU phases. The Intersil/Renesas ISL95866 offers 4+3 phase output and one integrated driver on the iGPU output and two on the VCore output. GIGABYTE adds three ISL6625A drivers to control the remaining phases. ON Semiconductor 4C06N are used for the low-side and 4C10N for the high-side. The CPU VCore phases use two low-side MOSFETs per phase and one high-side MOSFET, while the iGPU phases use one of each.
He remaining low-side MOSFETs that are doubled for the VCore are on the back of the PCB. Secondary rails are provided by linear regulators and much smaller switching regulators.
GIGABYTE H370N WIFI Circuit Analysis Continued
H370N WIFI Circuit Analysis Continued
The Realtek ALC1220-VB (The VB seems to be a marketing thing) is used, but the rear IO panel only offers three jacks. GIGABYTE did add some Nippon Chemicon audio capacitors and divide the PCB physically to improve audio quality.
We find an Intel i219v PHY for the first Intel NIC and an i211AT for the second NIC.
We find Intel's latest Wireless-AC 9560NGW which works as a type of PHY for the integrated WIFI in the PCH, and it supports up to 1.733Gbps on the 160MHz band. We find a MegaChips MCDP2800BC chip on the motherboard, which produces the HDMI 2.0 port.
An ITE IT8295FN is used to provide RGB LED capabilities. The main SuperIO is the IT8686E, and the motherboard features dual 128Mbit/16MB BIOS ROMs for redundancy.
An ASMedia ASM1442K level shifter is found on the motherboard, and it allows the HDMI port to exist.
BIOS and Software
The UEFI BIOS here is very similar to that of GIGABYTE's other H370, Z370, and B360 motherboards, except without the overclocking settings since the chipset doesn't support it. RGB LED support is full and good; you can set basic colors in the UEFI. Fan control is solid, in the form of a GUI. All other system settings are present, and you get an Easy Mode and an Advanced (Classic) Mode for advanced users.
Software includes App Center, 3D BIOS, @BIOS, AutoGreen, Cloud Station, EasyTune, Easy RAID, Fast Boot, Game Boost, ON/OFF Charge, Platform Power Management, RGB Fusion, Smart Backup, Smart Keyboard, Smart TimeLock, Smart HUD, System Information Viewer, USB Blocker, and V-Tuner.
Test System Setup
Steven's Motherboard Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE H370N WIFI
- CPU: Intel i5-8400
- Cooler: Corsair H110i - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB (2x8GB) 3200MHz
- Video Card: GTX 1080 Ti - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - Boot Drive: Kingston KC1000 480GB
- Storage - USB Drive: Corsair Voyager GS 64GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 900D - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Corsair RM1000i - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 - Buy from Amazon
- Monitor: ASUS PA328 ProArt 32" 4K - Buy from Amazon
- Keyboard: Corsair K70 LUX - Buy from Amazon
- Mouse: Corsair M65 PRO RGB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Headset: Corsair VOID RGB Wireless - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Network: ASUS XG-U2008 10Gbit Switch
- BIOS: F5c
The motherboard has a few LEDs under the audio PCB divide, so you won't really need to disable anything if you don't like RGBs. If you like black motherboards, then this one might be the right one for you.
CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks
3DMark: Fire Strike
3DMark: Cloud Gate
After testing many H370 and B360 motherboards, we can see that their performance is all pretty much the same across the board, as long as you have the latest BIOS ROM. It's really how these charts should look with Z370 boards if vendors didn't try to increase speeds by small amounts by increasing BCLK a tiny bit or enabling MCE by default.
System IO Benchmarks
ixChariot Network Throughput:
Network and storage performance are solid, I didn't see any issues or pending problems.
Audio RMAA 5.5:
I disable all audio features, set the correct bitrates, and then test the audio with a loopback test.
Sound Judgment by Ear: Very good. There are five ratings for audio: 1. Problems, 2. Okay, 3. Acceptable, 4. Very good, 5. Excellent
Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption
System power is measured at the wall with an AC power meter.
Note on Thermal Images: In the temperature section, we use our Seek thermal imaging camera to capture the surface temperatures of major components on the board. I look at the VRM and then all other things that light up the screen. If there is something to worry about, then I will state it. Otherwise, I will just show the hotter running parts of the board for fun. Unless some component is over 80-90C, then there isn't anything to worry about.
All systems will act differently, so I will look for commonalities, such as how far from the VRM the heat spreads through the PCB and the difference in temperature between the front side and backside of the PCB. Keep in mind, the majority of the heat from the VRM goes into the PCB as it is a giant soldered on copper heat sink. A lower temperature on the front of the PCB points towards a more effective heat sink.
Thermal Testing at Stock Speeds:
The image on the left is always at idle, and the image on the right is at load. During ALL TESTS, fans above the VRM that cool the CPU cooler's (Corsair H110i) radiator are turned on to high (12v).
Up-close of the front of the VRM.
Up-close of the back of the VRM.
While the VRM gets warming than some full ATX motherboards, for a mini-ITX motherboard, these numbers are pretty good. Anything under 60C is great, 60-80C is acceptable, and anything above 80C is a bit worrisome (if at stock).
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
Dual Intel NICs and HDMI: You get two Intel NICs and then you also get two HDMI ports, which is great for anyone who wants to build an HTPC with this motherboard. One of the HDMI ports is an HDMI 2.0 port, so it can HDCP 2.2 video. The other port can be used for audio or another display. The dual NICs allows for more connectivity options and redundancy.
Dual x4 M.2 Slots: The H370N WIFI has not just one but two x4 PCI-E 3.0 M.2 slots, which is pretty good for a mini-ITX motherboard with an H370 chipset.
Intel's new WIFI: We find Intel's brand new WIFI controller on the motherboard, and it's a great thing because it supports the latest and greatest Wireless-AC up to 1.733Gbps on the 160Mhz band.
Dual BIOS: A solid feature to have since most motherboards are RMAed because of corrupt BIOS flashes.
Rear USB: For starters, there is no USB 3.1 on this motherboard. The rear IO also only has four type-A ports.
The H370N WIFI is one of many H370 mini-ITX motherboards that are targeted towards HTPC users and those who want much smaller systems. The motherboard is overall pretty decent and offers up all the features you will need to make that happen. You get a lot of "duals" on this motherboard, dual BIOS, dual M.2, dual NICs, and dual HDMI.
However, you don't get USB 3.1. The motherboard is also pretty supportive of RGB LEDs and supports both normal RGB LEDs and digital (addressable) RGB LEDs. If you are in the market for a versatile H370 motherboard with support for a lot more than it seems, give the H370N WIFI a look.
The Bottom Line: If you are looking for an H370 mini-ITX motherboard with a lot of surprising features and capabilities, give the H370N WIFI a look.
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