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

2x LAN, 6x SATA III, 2x HDMI, enough clearance around the motherboard to install CPU air coolers like Noctua NH-U12S and also Noctua NH-U14S with pull fan setup. This motherboard is feature-packed. All you need is a case with 6x HDD slots and you’re set!

Gigabyte Z97N-WIFI

I am not sure, but maybe next time Gigabyte can try to squeeze M.2 port somewhere. It has its usefulness for notebooks, ultra books and even in mini-ITX systems. How can you do it? Having a daughterboard-type PCB with a connector on it? Or having it on the rear PCB, like how ASROCK did it with Z97E-ITX/AC. Even M.2 for 30mm and 42mm drives will suffice.

Looking at the layout and after installing it on CM Elite 130 mini-ITX case, the layout of the motherboard and placement of the connectors are really well-thought. This is a good motherboard for first-time mini-ITX PC builders, and its something that can be appreciated.

The pricing in India is something that’s extremely discouraging. While in United States via Amazon US, the Z97N-WIFI is priced for $143.71 (INR 8,895 at the time of writing), in India, it’s priced for Rs. 11,895. A sharp INR 3,000 difference?

It’s not just the same pricing in Flipkart, assuming they still insist that end-users in India should purchase their branded motherboards from retail stores over online (irony is that it’s no secret that it’s the same retail stores that sells in Amazon, Flipkart and via their own website), two well-known retail stores ITDepot and Prime ABGB are selling it for the same price. Add few more cash and you buy a fully loaded ATX motherboard. If you see a lot of components out there, especially from direct competitors, to a good extent most value and mainstream motherboards have a reasonable price match against Newegg and Amazon. If it’s possible with others, why not Zoidberg? (Er…Gigabyte India)

It does matter. A premium of Rs. 3,000 is the price that you can almost buy a CM Elite 130. For Rs. 3,000/- you can buy a basic 450W units from CM, Corsair and Antec. Do you get the drift, yo??

US$144 is a very good price for a motherboard with this many feature packs and  well-though layout. If you’re upgrading from ATX to mini-ITX but want to salvage most of your components, this will keep you happy for a LONG time.

The issue is about overclocking. Unlike in motherboards like the SOC, bumping the clock needs more VCORE than it should. Probably it’s because of the four-phase design and/or taking power via the 4-pin ATX. With G3258, I was able to bump up to 3.7GHz easily. There’s also a lack of passive cooling for the MOSFETs. There’s also a flaw in the BIOS where the system where the auto CPU overclock preset option ‘CPU Upgrade’ shows i7 4790K, even when the motherboard was using Intel G3258. Clearing CMOS has no effect.

[This motherboard will keep many types of users happy- from those who want a good option for an HTPC, to gamers and even enthusiasts moving from ATX to mini-ITX rigs. Looking at proper layout design specifically for mini-ITX cases and also ensuring generous space to ensure that tower-type CPU coolers won’t obstruct the connectors and the PCIe x16 slots, its hard not to recommend this motherboard

India U.S. U.K.
Rs. 11,895/- $145.16 £186.87

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