Gigabyte Z170N-Gaming 5 & Z170N-WIFI

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The two boards have near identical layouts that are fairly standard for Intel based mini-ITX boars. However, the component arrangement is not as clean as some higher-end models. The front audio and USB connectors are not located on the edge of the board, residing further inward near the curve of the heatpipe portion of the VRM/PCH cooler. The USB 3.0 header's placement near the CPU socket is particularly troublesome as USB 3.0 cables tend to be thick and stiff. This may complicate cable management, especially if a large third party CPU heatsink is used.

While the Z170N-Gaming 5 has the superior cooling solution, the VRM heatsink is still rather small, making me wonder if it would have been better to use a bigger chunk of aluminum rather than employing a heatpipe to redistribute the thermal load across both heatsinks.

The Z170N-WIFI has essentially the same layout but with bare VRMs.

Z170N-Gaming 5 rear panel is equipped with WiFi antenna hookups, DVI-I and HDMI outputs, both a USB 3.1 Type-C and Type-A (red) port, and gold-plated audio ports.

Z170N-WIFI sports a similar arrangement but but with an additional HDMI and gigabit ethernet port, no gold-plating on the audio jacks, and its Type-C/A connectors are USB 3.0 only.

Z170N Gaming 5, trace-side. The two boards have a similar layout on this side as well, with no potential obstructions to backplates around the CPU socket. The only real difference between the two models is the screws holding the heatsinks on the Gaming 5. The WIFI model uses pushpins to secure its PCH cooler.

The only lighting on both boards is a short trace near the onboar audio chip.

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