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The first mini-ITX Skylake motherboard we examined was the Asus Maximus VIII Impact. It's packed with features like discrete audio, a high-end voltage regulation system, and even an add-on fan controller card. Though an excellent board, it's the most expensive (US$240) model of its kind and overkill for the majority of DIYers.
The Gigabyte Z170N-Gaming 5 and Z170N-WIFI take a decidedly more pragmatic approach. Though based on the same Z170 chipset and mini-ITX form factor, they're more barebones, offering little in the way of extras and premium features. Priced at about US$150 and US$135, they're two of the cheapest such models on the market. Spend any less and you're looking mostly at non-enthusiast H170 or B150 chipset mainboards with no overclocking capabilities.
Being the more upscale model, the Z170N-Gaming 5 ships in a more decorative box adorned with promotional imagery for Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard's popular multiplayer battle arena game. Both boards ship with the usual driver discs, documentation, and I/O shield, two SATA cables, as well as the same WiFi antenna with a magnetic base. The Gaming 5 also includes a case sticker and door hanger, and its SATA cables are a more fanciful silver color rather than boring black.
On paper, the two boards are more similar than different. Both have six SATA 6 Gbps ports, four of which are part of the two side-mounted SATA Express connector blocks, an M.2 slot with PCI-E x4 support on the back, an Intel-based 802.11ac/Bluetooth 4.2 adapter, and two DDR4 DIMM slots allowing up to 32GB of RAM. The Gaming 5 model supports slightly higher memory (3333 MHz) and sports a single Killer gigabit NIC, two display options, and a USB 3.1 connectivity. The WIFI model can handle up to 3200 MHz memory and is equipped with dual Intel ethernet controllers, a third display output courtesy of a second HDMI port, and is USB 3.0 compatible only.
Physically, they have nearly identical layouts, though the Gaming 5 has an 8-pin auxiliary CPU power port and dual heatsink cooling connected via heatpipe while the WIFI settles for a 4-pin plug and exposed VRMs, despite both boards using the same 5-phase power regulation system. The lack of cooling is not surprising for a budget model but it's odd to see it paired with the Z170 chipset which is primarily used for overclocking which puts extra thermal strain on the components. The Gaming 5 is more impressive visually, adopting slicker red/chrome accents rather than the grey used on the WIFI.
Specifications: Gigabyte Z170N-WIFI
(Gigabyte Z170N-Gaming 5 differences in bold)
||Support for Intel® Core i7 processors/Intel® Core i5 processors/ Intel® Core i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/ Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1151 package
|L3 cache varies with CPU
|(Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.)
||Intel® Z170 Express Chipset
||2 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
* Due to a Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than the size of the physical memory installed.
|Dual channel memory architecture
|Support for 3200(O.C.) /3000(O.C.) /2800(O.C.) /2666(O.C.) /2400(O.C.) /2133 MHz memory modules
Support for DDR4 3333(O.C.) /3300(O.C.) /3200(O.C.) /3000(O.C.) /2800(O.C.) /2666(O.C.) /2400(O.C.) /2133 MHz memory modules
|Support for ECC UDIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)
|Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
|(Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)
|| Integrated Graphics Processor-Intel® HD Graphics support
|1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200@60 Hz
* The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connection by adapter.
|2 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160@24 Hz
* Support for HDMI 1.4 version.
1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160@24 Hz
* Support for HDMI 1.4 version.
|Maximum shared memory of 512 MB
||Realtek® ALC1150 codec
|Support for Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3
|High Definition Audio
|Support for S/PDIF Out
||2 x Intel® GbE LAN chips (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Killer E2201 chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
|Wireless Communication module
||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
|Bluetooth 4.2, 4.1, BLE, 4.0, 3.0, 2.1+EDR
|Support for 11ac wireless standard and up to 867 Mbps data rate
* Actual data rate may vary depending on environment and equipment.
||1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16
(The PCIEX16 slot conforms to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
|1 x M.2 Socket 1 connector for the wireless communication module (M2_WIFI)
||1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector on the back of the motherboard (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280 SATA & PCIe x4/x2/x1 SSD support)
| 2 x SATA Express connectors
|6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
|Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
|* Refer to "1-7 Internal Connectors," for the supported configurations with the M.2, SATA Express, and SATA connectors.
||2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB header
|6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
5 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (3 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
|1 x USB Type-C port on the back panel, with USB 3.0 support
1 x USB Type-C port on the back panel, with USB 3.1 support
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red) on the back panel
|Internal I/O Connectors
||1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
2 x SATA Express connectors
1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector
1 x CPU fan header
1 x system fan header
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
1 x USB 2.0/1.1 header
1 x S/PDIF Out header
1 x speaker header
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
1 x chassis intrusion header
|Back Panel Connectors
||1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
2 x HDMI ports / 1 x HDMI port
2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
1 x DVI-D port
4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports / 3 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red)
1 x USB Type-C port, with USB 3.0 support / with USB 3.1 support
2 x RJ-45 ports / 1 x RJ-45 port
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
||System voltage detection
CPU/System temperature detection
CPU/System fan speed detection
CPU/System overheating warning
CPU/System fan fail warning
CPU/System fan speed control
* Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the cooler you install.
||2 x 64 Mbit flash
Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
Support for DualBIOS
PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
||Support for APP Center
* Available applications in APP Center may vary by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also vary depending on motherboard specifications.
System Information Viewer
|Support for Q-Flash
|Support for Smart Switch
|Support for Xpress Install
||Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
|Intel® Smart Response Technology
|Intel® Wireless Display
|cFosSpeed (WIFI model only)
||Support for Windows 10/8.1 64-bit
|Support for Windows 7 32-bit/64-bit
* Please download the "Windows USB Installation Tool" from GIGABYTE's website and install it before installing Windows 7.
||Mini-ITX Form Factor; 17.0cm x 17.0cm
Motherboard driver disk
Two SATA cables
Quick Installation Guide
Wireless module driver disk
||Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website
|Most hardware/software vendors may no longer offer drivers to support Win9X/ME/2000/XP. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.
* The entire materials provided herein are for reference only. GIGABYTE reserves the right to modify or revise the content at anytime without prior notice.
* Advertised performance is based on maximum theoretical interface values from respective Chipset vendors or organization who defined the interface specification. Actual performance may vary by system configuration.
* All trademarks and logos are the properties of their respective holders.
* Due to standard PC architecture, a certain amount of memory is reserved for system usage and therefore the actual memory size is less than the stated amount.