Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI Haswell Mini-ITX Motherboard

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Like many of Gigabyte's other products, the GA-Z87N-WIFI is all about value. Haswell motherboards can get pricey, especially Z87 mini-ITX models, many of which hover around the US$200 mark. The Z87N-WIFI is a much more affordable option, packing all the basic functionality inherent in the chipset, including overclocking capabilities, and rounding it out the feature-set with a competent wireless 802.11n/Bluetooth adapter, an extra integrated gigabit NIC, and a second HDMI output. The software bundle is also much improved, especially the new version of EasyTune, which finally gives Gigabyte a modern, easy-to-use, and attractive way for users to control fans and make low-level performance adjustments.

Its excellent low idle and light load power consumption makes it an energy efficient choice for an always-on home server or home theater PC though it can be argued that Z87 is overkill for such a usage case. Its main advantage over the more affordable H87 chipset is the ability to adjust the multiplier to achieve higher clock speeds, which of course draws more power, presumably for heavy load applications that need the extra horse power. The Z87N-WIFI, with its basic 4-phase power scheme is less than ideal for this type of work — the more it's taxed, the more its efficiency declines. The board's cooling is also rudimentary with an miniature chipset heatsink and completely bare VRMs. Having overclocking as an option is appreciated but we wouldn't attempt to break any clock speed records.

The Z87N-WIFI can be considered by some to be a budget model with some nice extras while others may think of it as a no-frills enthusiast offering. We hold the compromise view, that it's a solid mid-ranger in that juicy center of the market, with a little something for everyone. There may be more suitable boards depending on your specific needs, but otherwise the Z87N-WIFI is a jack-of-all trades unlikely to disappoint.

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Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI is Recommended by SPCR

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