Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI Mini-ITX Motherboard

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Given the size of the mini-ITX form factor, layout really isn't important as long as there are no glaring interference issues. The GA-H77N-WIFI has, for the most part, a standard layout for a mini-ITX model. As they typically aren't installed in tower cases and there's so little space on the PCB, the ATX layout paradigm gets thrown out the window. The CPU socket is on the bottom half of the board while most of the peripherals and connectors are located on the upper portion.

Expandability isn't a strong-point for the form factor. There's only one PCI Express slot and two DIMM slots, but four SATA ports (two 6 Gbps) are available as well as a mini PCI-E connector populated by the included WiFi/Bluetooth adapter.

The area around the CPU socket is orderly but the surrounding MOSFETs and inductors lack any sort of cooling. Like many previous LGA1155/1156 mini-ITX models, the socket resides on the lower half of the board, very close to the PCI Express slot, limiting your heatsink options if you wish to utilize a discrete graphics card.

Surprisingly, the included wireless NIC is a brand name card, the Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230. Due to the proximity of the PCH heatsink, it cannot be swapped out for a full sized mini PCI-E card.

The PCH cooler is quite small with little exposed surface area. Surrounding it are the 4-pin AUX12V port, an internal USB 3.0 header, the SATA connectors, and the various switch/LED pin-outs.

The back panel is stocked with a nice selection of connectors including dual HDMI, DVI-I, S/PDIF, USB 3.0 (the two blue ports) and connectors for the WiFi antennae.

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