Overall Score 4.3  

Introduction

We are big fans of mITX motherboards, though only in recent years. They have come a long way from their beige roots and now will tickle the geekiness of many gamers around the world. For us it’s the fact that we don’t need another big chassis in the office or in our homes, we generally have a few mITX rigs around, as daily drivers and as test machines.

We often game on our mini rigs, without performance issues or a lack of bragging rights. So what’s the appeal? Well, they look good, come with fancy gamers branding, have a PCIe graphics slot for the latest graphics cards and generally have a good feature set especially when coupled with the Intel Z97 chipset.

So, we are fans, so we don’t mind a review or two with these small but mighty motherboards. Today we have the Gigabyte Z97N-Gaming 5 mITX motherboard up for review.

The Gigabyte Z97N-Gaming 5 mITX motherboard is from the “Born to game” series, born in 2010 and sporting a varying range that will suit many. Gigabyte are setting out their stall with the “Born to game” tag and if all else fails, it needs to perform on the Battlefield….

Technology

The Z97 chipset is Intel’s mainstream performance offering, something which most manufacturers are utilizing to a large extent. Replacements expected this year, but in the mean time you can enjoy PCIe 3.0, USB 3.0, high definition audio powered by Intel’s 4th and 5th generation CPU’s.

The GA-Z97N is no difference despite being an mITX motherboard, just like its gaming rivals, it’s packed full of features waiting for exploitation.

Features

Gigabyte’s GA-Z97N GAMING-5 motherboard sports some interesting features over the standard flavours of Z97 release.

  • Supports 4th and 5th Generation Intel® Core™ processors
  • Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi MB3 Software Suite
  • Audio Noise Guard with LED path lighting
  • Gold plated display and audio ports
  • High end Nichicon audio capacitors
  • Realtek ALC1150 115dB SNR HD Audio with built-in rear audio amplifier
  • Killer™ E2200 gaming networking
  • Bluetooth 4.0 + 867Mbps 11AC dual band WIFI card
  • Highly efficient MOSFET design
  • Long lifespan Durable Black Solid caps
  • APP Center including EasyTune™ and Cloud Station™ utilities
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™

Specifications 
CPUIntel Core i7/i5/i3 Pentium / Celeron processors LGA1150
ChipsetIntel® Z97 Express Chipset
Memory2 x DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 16 GB of system memory (XMP)
Dual channel memory architecture
Support for DDR3 between 1333 and 3200 (O.C.) MHz memory modules
Support for non-ECC memory modules
On-board GraphicsIntegrated Graphics Processor - Intel HD Graphics support:
1 x DVI-I port, supporting a maximum resolution of [email protected]
1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of [email protected] or [email protected]
* Support for HDMI 1.4a version.
1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of [email protected] or [email protected]
* Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version.
Support for up to 3 displays at the same time
AudioRealtek® ALC1150 codec High Definition Audio
Support for Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3
2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
Support for S/PDIF Out
LANQualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Wireless Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0+HS, 2.1+EDR
Support for 11ac wireless standard and up to 867 Mbps data rate
Expansion Slots1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCI Express 3.0 standard)
1 x mini-PCI Express slot for the wireless communication module
Storage Interface5 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0/1/2/3/4)
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
1 x eSATA 6Gb/s connector on the back panel
USB4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
Internal I/O Connectors1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
5 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x CPU fan header
1 x system fan header
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
1 x USB 2.0/1.1 header
1 x S/PDIF Out header
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
1 x Chassis intrusion header
Back Panel Connectors1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
1 x DVI-I port
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out connector
1 x HDMI port
1 x DisplayPort
1 x eSATA 6Gb/s connector
4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 x RJ-45 port
6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear/ Side Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
I/O ControlleriTE I/O Controller Chip

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