Gigabyte mITX Z87N-WIFI Motherboard Review

Motherboards/Intel S1150 by leeghoofd @ 2014-02-21

That small doesn't always imply slow or less strong has been shown by the ASUS Maximus VI Impact board. Setting several records with an Intel's Haswell CPU in the socket, the little mITX board has proven it has nothing to fear from its normal sized brethren, however the biggest drawback is the insane price tag, which makes it far less interesting for those that want to build a HTPC or mini gaming PC on a budget. The market has evolved in favor of the mATX and mITX platforms; demands for small yet powerful mini PCs is drastically increasing. Gigabyte's Z87N-WIFI is a perfect example that including Intel's flagship Z87 chipset does not necessarily imply an exuberantly elevated price, however is a high end chipset a requirement for most users out there? Time to unravel some of the myths and start to explore the wonderful world of the Gigabyte Z87N-WiFi mITX.

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A Closer Look

To power the board a 24-pin ATX power connector is located at the top of the board, together with a 4-pin power plug instead of an 8-pin version, standard stuff in fact for a mITX board.





Four SATA ports, powered by the Z87 chipset, are located near the front panel header. A USB3.0 header is also located next to the Intel chipset. Gigabyte opted to keep the Dual Bios feature, providing you with a backup bios once things go terribly wrong. As you can see the PCB's space is utilized to the max.




The Z87N-WiFi board is equipped with an Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 card, installed in the Mini PCIe port. The Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 2230 plus Bluetooth adapter combines fast speed (up to 300 Mbps) and greater range and reliability with Intel-only wireless features to deliver a better connected experience. Both 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0+HS and 2.0+EDR are supported; secondly it opens up the multimedia features of Intel's Smart Connect and Wireless Display functionality.




The I/O panel hasn't received any trim-downs due the mITX PCB size: a Combo PS/2 supporting legacy keyboard or mouse devices, two, yes two HDMI 1.4a ports and a DVI-I connector fulfill the desires for hooking up multiple display devices. Two USB  2.0 ports and a total of four USB 3.0 ports and two Gigabit networking ports. One port is powered by an Intel chipset, while the other one utilizes an Atheros GbE LAN chip, both supporting 10/100/1000Mbit speeds. Sound is provided by the Realtek ALC892 codec, delivering High definition Audio up to 7.1 channels.



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