07 May, 2015   Rakesh Sharma    Reviews .  GIGABYTE GA-Z97N-WIFI Motherboard Review

PC TeK REVIEWS has reviewed many motherboards, but today’s review is bit special. This is our first review of an ITX form-factor motherboard, the GIGABYTE GA-Z97N-WIFI Motherboard. Mini-ITX systems are slowly becoming popular in INDIA, especially for those looking for a HTPC build or limited space for their PC build. There are very few ITX motherboards available today in INDIA, out of which Gigabyte is the only manufacturer with the widest range of ITX form-factor motherboards. From its Gaming series GA-Z97N-Gaming 5 to GA-H97N and GAH97TN motherboards, satisfying every type of Mini-ITX system build.

The Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI motherboard for a price tag of Rs.11K and with lot of great features like dual G-LAN, WIFI, HD Audio; makes it a great choice for a HTPC build.

Now let’s see what this new Intel Z97 chipset based ITX board have for us.

Package

Being an ITX board Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI motherboard comes in a cute little box.

Looking at the front of the box, we see Gigabyte Ultra Durable logo with motherboard model no. At the rear of the box, we find that Gigabyte goes into great detail on the specifications of the motherboard.

Inside the box

Looks

The cute little board is a solid build with very dense but smart layout on a black PCB.

Features

  • Supports 4th and 5th Generation Intel® Core™ processors
  • Intel and Qualcomm Atheros gaming networking
  • Bluetooth 4.0 + 867Mbps 11AC dual band WIFI card
  • HD Audio support
  • Highly efficient MOSFET design
  • Long lifespan Durable Solid caps
  • LAN with high ESD Protection
  • GIGABYTE LAN Optimizer
  • APP Center including EasyTune™ and Cloud Station™ utilities
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™

Specifications

Layout

Detailed layout of board.

1. Intel LGA 1150 socket, supporting current 4th generation and 5th generation CPU.

5x (15μ) Gold Plated CPU Socket Design. GIGABYTE 9 Series motherboards come equipped with a gold plated CPU socket, which means that enthusiasts can enjoy absolute reliability and longevity for the CPU socket overtime, without having any concerns about corroded pins and bad contacts.

2. 2 x DIMM slots supporting maximum 16GB of 1600/1333MHz DDR3 or up to 3100(O.C.) DDR3 memory.

3. ATX Power connector (24-pin EATXPWR)

4. ATX CPU Power Connector (8-pin ATX12V).

5. Back Panel Connectors : 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, 2 x HDMI ports, 2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R), 1 x DVI-I port, 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports, 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports, 2 x RJ-45 ports, 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector, 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)

6. Intel Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band and Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0+HS, 2.1+EDR module

7. Serial Port

8.CPU fan header and system fan header

9. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors

10. System Front panel Connector and 2 x USB 2.0 Connectors

11. Front USB 3 Port

12. PCI Express 3.0 standard x16 slot

13. Front panel Audio connector and SPDIF out port

Component Layout

Let’s now see what all components Gigabyte have planned for this board.

1. 2. CPU voltage regulator circuit has Vishay SiRA12DP MOSFETS each package limited to 25A controlled by Intersil ISL95820 Hybrid Digital Four Phase PWM Controller.

3. 2-Phase digital memory power supply section using Vishay SiRA12DP MOSFETS and Richtek RT8120F controller chip.

4. 5. Two NXP Semiconductors PTN3360D HDMI / DVI level shifter.

6. Atheros 3AD4P055 Gigabit LAN chip

7. Intel 1217V Gigabit LAN chip

8. ITE IT8620e is SuperIO chip monitors temperatures, voltages and other key metrics for normal operation and overclocking.

9. Intel Z97 Express Chipset.

10. Gigabyte uses two SPI chip labeled MXIC MX 2SL12873F a capacity of 128 Mb for storing UEFI BIOS.

11. Gigabyte HD Audio is powered by Realtek ALC892 is a high-performance multi-channel High Definition Audio Codec that delivers an exceptional audio listening experience with up to 94dB SNR simultaneously support 7.1 channel sound playback, plus 2 channels of independent stereo sound output (multiple streaming) through the front panel stereo outputs.

RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) suite is used for testing Gigabyte High Definition audio against Asus Xonar DX Sound card. You can see clearly the difference between Noise level, dynamic rang and Total harmonic distortion percentage produced by Gigabyte High Definition audio.

RMAA Asus Xonar DX

RMAA Gigabyte HD Audio

Testing

Test system configuration - Intel i7-4790K, 4GB Kingston 1600Mhz RAM, Corsair H100i cooler, Samsung 830 SSD 256GB, Corsair RM1000 PSU, Asus HD-7750, Asus Xonar DX Sond Card, WD 1TB Green, HP DVD RW Drive.

BIOS

Bundled Softwares

Benchmarks

WIFI Test

Overclocking

Power Consumption

Wattage reading as per displayed by APC Pro 1000VA (Model no. BR1000G-IN) UPS.

Pros

  • Dual LAN
  • Dual-Band WIFI ac
  • Great price
  • 4K Support

Cons

  • Only two Fan headers

Conclusion

Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI is the great motherboard for HTPC, Small format PC build and Home media server, packed with plenty of SATA ports, USB connectors and dual LAN as well as WIFI support. All that for just Rs.11K.

I know being an ITX form-factor board Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI is mainly for Mini-ITX system and HTPC; mostly ment for silence operations, but Gigabyte must have provided more than two Fan headers. Beside this the board is perfect and is on the top of the list for value HTCP/Home media server build.

Manufacturers Info

Site Link

Thanks.

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