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Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi Review

Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi Review

Manufacturer: Gigabyte
UK price (as reviewed): £137.58 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $149.99 (ex tax)

Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi ReviewThere have been few bad enthusiast mini-ITX motherboards since manufacturers started taking the format seriously a few years ago, and while DFI and Zotac have left the scene, there's still plenty to choose from.

Gigabyte has offered two enthusiast overclockable boards for the last couple of generations, and while we wait for the presumed Gaming 5 to be announced, the more affordable Z270N-WiFi is already here.

This is Gigabyte's effort at a cheaper option compared to the likes of its own Gaming 5 or Asus's offering, which for now is only the £200 ROG Strix Z270i Gaming. Meanwhile, MSI offers the £170 Z270I Gaming Pro Carbon. EVGA's Stinger is also imminent, and ASRock has a pair of boards too. In short, if you want a cheap Z270 mini-ITX board, only ASRock and Gigabyte have anything for less than £150, so lets see what you get for your money with the £140 Z270N-WiFi.

Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi Review Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi Review
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Traditionally the Gigabyte N-WiFi models have focussed more on connectivity and lower prices than on aesthetics or performance, and that's exactly the same here. There are no flashy heatsinks or wild claims on the box - this is just a solid mini-ITX motherboard that throws a bunch of modern features into the mix. You get a USB 3.1 Type-C port on the rear panel, there's Intel Optane technology support, DDR4 4,000+ XMP support, and, of course, an M.2 port for speedy SSDs too.

Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi Review Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi Review
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This is located on the rear of the PCB, allowing Gigabyte to offer an impressive six SATA 6Gbps ports - the joint most we've ever seen from an enthusiast mini-ITX motherboard and a match for most ATX boards we've tested too. Sure, there's only a 4-pin CPU EPS 12V connector instead of the usual 8-pin one, a five-phase power design, and a complete lack of VRM heatsinks, so you probably won't want to run this board at a sky-high overclock 24/7, but it's enough for something reasonable.

Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi Review Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi Review
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There's no onboard RGB lighting, just the usual audio circuitry isolation circuit illumination, and no RGB LED headers on the board either. The layout isn't completely free of niggles, though, as the USB 3.0 header is awkwardly placed as are two of the SATA ports, but with mini-ITX case layouts varying more than any other format, these won't present you with issues in all cases. Gigabyte has seen fit to add its steel-reinforced 16x PCI-E slot, which is sensible, but there's no fancy surround or steel plating on it. However, you do get 802.11ac Wi-Fi courtesy of an M.2 Intel 8265NGW module, with a magnetic antenna included in the box as well.

Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi Review Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi Review
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There are only two fan headers, so you'll either need to use splitter cables or make use of your case or PSU for powering any others you have. There are also no overclocking or testing tools, just a CMOS clear header, but that's old news with Z270, as you'll be lucky to see them on a £180 board these days. Round the back on the I/O panel, there's a generous two Intel LAN ports, but sadly there isn't a Type-A USB 3.1 port, just a somewhat lacklustre four USB 3.0 ports.

Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi Review
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Amazingly, Gigabyte has managed to offer Realtek ALC1220 audio, though, which makes up for a number of these other shortcomings - few sub-£140 boards can do this, so it rounds off a relatively healthy set of features.

Specifications

  • Chipset Intel Z270
  • Form factor Mini-ITX
  • CPU support LGA1151 compatible (Skylake, Kaby Lake)
  • Memory support Dual-channel, 2 slots, max 32GB
  • Sound 8-channel Realtek ALC1220 Codec
  • Networking2 x Intel Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Ports 1 x 16x PCI-E 3.0, 1 x M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4 32Gbps/SATA 6Gbps (up to 2280), 6 x SATA 6Gbps via Intel Z270, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 6 x USB 3.0 (2 via header), 2 x USB 2.0 (2 via header), 2 x LAN, audio out, line in, mic, Optical S/PDIF out, 2 x HDMI 1.4, DVI-D
  • Dimensions (mm) 170 x 170
  • Extras Magnetic desktop antenna, isolated audio circuitry, steel-plated PCI-E slot