Gigabyte Z97N-WIFI Rev 1.0 mini-ITX Motherboard Review

  1. Introduction
  2. Packaging and Specification
  3. Motherboard Layout Overview
  4. Components Overview
  5. CPU Cooler and GPU clearance
  6. BIOS Layout
  7. Test Bench and Testing Methodology
  8. Futuremark Benchmarks
  9. Memory Benchmarks
  10. USB 3.0 Benchmark
  11. SATA III Performance Test
  12. LAN Performance Test
  13. Boot Load Test
  14. Conclusion
  15. Online Purchase Links

Mini-ITX motherboards need to be designed in a way that a PC builder will find it comfortable to implement in a mini-ITX case. Unlike cases made for mATX motherboards and upwards, mini-ITX cases will always have space limitations to provide a sleek and small form factor. A motherboard might look good in the pictures, open test benches and maybe in custom builds where the chassis is made around a motherboard., but in reality, the pairing the two from retail units is challenging. If you also notice, many case makers have semi-built systems with no cabling for the GPU and SATA drives, which usually amounts to a particular mess once you start populating it. This is why I needed a mini-ITX case and a motherboard at the same time to make the connection between the two. In this case, it was CM Elite 130 mini-ITX case.

Gigabyte Z97N-WiFi is a mini-ITX motherboard packed with certain features on paper that would attract a lot of those who want good enough performance for gaming and at the same time maintain a form-factor to make it look like an HTPC- or simply and HTPC which happens to have a GPU good enough for gaming. Sure, there are gaming themed motherboards around but I always felt that motherboards of all things is pretty difficult to associate with gamers, especially with professional gamers who play DOTA2 AND Counter-strike that puts significantly lesser loads on value and mainstream PC hardware components compared to the games you get today. But to be fair, if you keep aside the ‘G’ themes, some turn out to be pretty neat.

That’s a tale for another day.


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