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REVIEW Gigabyte Z270N Gaming 5 - User Review

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Hardware' started by headin2001, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. headin2001

    headin2001 Member

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    Gigabyte Z270N Gaming 5 - User Review


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    Introduction

    Hey everyone. Back this time with something a little smaller than my usual reviews, please excuse the pun. This week we will be looking at the Gigabyte Z270N Gaming 5 ITX Motherboard. This is my first real foray into a Gigabyte product, so thought I would share it with you all.

    Gigabyte for a long time now, have been focusing keenly on their gaming line of boards. The Z270N Gaming 5 is no exemption, focusing on all the specifications that a current gamer expects. Looks. functionality, connectivity and software support. You can tell by their current and future products that this is where they see themselves heading in the market.

    The Gigabyte Z270N Gaming 5 is packed with an Intel Dual Band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with BT4.2 module, RGB Fusion LED lighting, M.2 NVME/Intel Optane Support, reinforced PCI-E Slots and ALC 1220 120dB High Definition Audio. On top of that, there is support for Dual DDR4 memory channels at 4266+ speeds.

    Lets get into a closer look of the specifications and the product itself.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  2. OP
    OP
    headin2001

    headin2001 Member

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    Specifications

    CPU
    Support for 7th and 6th generation Intel® Core™ i7 processors/ Intel® Core™ i5 processors/Intel® Core™ i3 processors/ Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1151 package

    L3 cache varies with CPU

    Chipset
    Intel® Z270 Express Chipset

    Memory
    2 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory

    * Due to a Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than the size of the physical memory installed.

    Dual channel memory architecture

    Support for DDR4 4266(O.C.) / 4000(O.C.) / 3866(O.C.) / 3800(O.C.) / 3733(O.C.) / 3666(O.C.) / 3600(O.C.) / 3466(O.C.) / 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400 / 2133 MHz memory modules

    Support for ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)

    Support for non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules

    Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
    (Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)

    Onboard Graphics

    Integrated Graphics Processor-Intel® HD Graphics support:
    1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2304@60 Hz
    * Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version.
    1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160@24 Hz
    * Support for HDMI 1.4 version.
    Maximum shared memory of 1 GB

    Audio
    Realtek® ALC1220 codec
    High Definition Audio
    2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
    * To configure 7.1-channel audio, you have to use an HD front panel audio module and enable the multi-channel audio feature through the audio driver.
    Support for S/PDIF Out

    LAN
    Intel® GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)

    Wireless Communication module
    Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band

    BLUETOOTH 4.2, 4.1, BLE, 4.0, 3.0, 2.1+EDR
    Support for 11ac wireless standard and up to 867 Mbps data rate
    * Actual data rate may vary depending on environment and equipment.

    Expansion Slots
    1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16
    (The PCIEX16 slot conforms to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
    1 x M.2 Socket 1 connector for the wireless communication module (M2_WIFI)

    Storage Interface
    Chipset:
    1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector on the back of the motherboard (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280 SATA and PCIe x4/x2 SSD support)
    4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
    Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
    * Refer to "1-7 Internal Connectors," for the installation notices for the M.2 and SATA connectors.

    USB
    Chipset+ASMedia® ASM2142 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Controller:
    1 x USB Type-C™ port on the back panel, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support
    1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port (red) on the back panel
    Chipset:
    6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
    2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB header

    Internal I/O Connectors
    1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
    1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
    4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
    1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector on the back of the motherboard
    1 x CPU fan header
    2 x system fan headers
    1 x front panel header
    1 x front panel audio header
    1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 header
    1 x USB 2.0/1.1 header
    1 x S/PDIF Out header
    1 x speaker header
    1 x Clear CMOS jumper
    1 x chassis intrusion header
    1 x OC Touch header
    1 x RGB (RGBW) LED strip extension cable header

    Back Panel Connectors
    1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
    2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
    1 x DisplayPort
    1 x HDMI port
    1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port (red)
    1 x USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support
    4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
    1 x RJ-45 port
    3 x audio jacks (Line In, Line Out, Mic In)

    H/W Monitoring
    Voltage detection
    Temperature detection
    Fan speed detection
    Overheating warning
    Fan fail warning
    Fan speed control
    * Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the cooler you install.

    BIOS
    1 x 64 Mbit flash
    Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
    PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0

    Unique Features
    Support for APP Center
    * Available applications in APP Center may vary by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also vary depending on motherboard specifications.
    3D OSD
    @BIOS
    AutoGreen
    BIOS Setup
    Color Temperature
    Cloud Station
    EasyTune
    Easy RAID
    Fast Boot
    Game Boost
    ON/OFF Charge
    Platform Power Management
    RGB Fusion
    Smart Backup
    Smart Keyboard
    Smart TimeLock
    System Information Viewer
    USB Blocker
    V-Tuner
    Support for 3TB+ Unlock
    Support for Q-Flash
    Support for Xpress Install
    Bundle Software
    Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
    Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
    cFosSpeed
    Operating System
    Windows® 10 64-bit (for 7th Generation Intel® Processors)
    Windows® 10 64-bit / Windows® 8.1 64-bit / Windows® 7 32-bit / 64-bits (for 6th Generation Intel® Processors)
    * Please download the "Windows USB Installation Tool" from GIGABYTE's website and install it before installing Windows 7.

    Form Factor
    Mini-ITX Form Factor; 17.0cm x 17.0cm

    Box Contents
    GA-Z270N-Gaming 5 motherboard
    Motherboard driver disk
    Wireless module driver disk
    User's Manual
    Two SATA cables
    Quick Installation Guide
    I/O Shield
    One antenna
     
  3. OP
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    headin2001

    headin2001 Member

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    Unboxing/Photos

    The Gigiabyte Z270N Gaming 5 comes in fairly standard but slightly race oriented packaging. Hopefully the intent of this is to promote the speeds that the board can achieve. Multiple colouring to the logo on the front also seems to give a hint to the RGB Fusion lighting that's included on the motherboard.

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    The Motherboard is well packaged in a firm Foam bed, and placed inside an Anti-static back for safety.

    [​IMG]

    Opening the box, we find an assortment of accessories. These include an orange and black themed IO Shield, only 2x Sata 6Gb/s cables, the Dual-Band WIFI antenna and Utility Disc, Driver Disk, Case logo, Installation Guide and the obligatory User's Manual. It's not over the top, and anything you could need is here.

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    Moving onto the board, we can see the tiny form factor the mini ITX is. It measures a mere 17cm x 17cm x 4.4cm in size. I find the layout to be very well thought out with clean easy access to most areas. Around the motherboard is various RGB LED Fusion LED's, generally next to the Mosfet Block, and under the PCI-E Slot. There is also an APP for the RGB Control.

    Gigabyte have gone with their now traditional Orange/Black livery on this little board. Some people are probably over this by now, but honestly, on this particular board it looks killer. I would be happy to have a mini build with an Orange/Black/White theme.

    [​IMG]

    Under the solid steel IO Cover, the rear IO is a minimalist affair which is to be expected on such a small Motherboard. Connections include PS/2 Connector, 4x USB3.1 Ports, 2x 802.11 AC Wi-Fi Antenna connections, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port (red), 1 x USB Type-C™ port with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, 1 x RJ-45 port and 3x audio jacks (Line In, Line Out, Mic In). Display connections included to make use of any on-board iGPU are via a DisplayPort 1.2 and also HDMI 1.4. I was a bit disappointed to not find a Optical S/PDIF port, but I can totally understand the exclusion with such a small area to work with. A Bios Flashback button is also a much missed inclusion, especially with where the pins are placed making clearing the bios near impossible once the system is built.

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    Speaking about sound, the Gigabyte Z270N Gaming 5 includes the same ALC1220 Audio Codec seen on pretty much all Z270 series of boards. Gigabyte have done their own bit of tweaking with the sound delivery. Sound is as to be expected from this Codec.

    [​IMG]

    Internal connections include 4x 6GB/s SATA 3 connectors in a semi-accessible position, as well as front panel USB2.0 and USB3.0 connections. In the same area, we find the RGB-W Header for additional lighting, front panel connectors and the CLR CMOS jumpers. Adjacent is the Intel Dual Band 802.11ac Wi-Fi+BT4.2 Module making this a perfect setup for a HTPC or the like PC.

    [​IMG]

    On the opposite side of the ATX 24pin power connector, Gigabyte have included an OC Touch Panel connector. I have a small bone of conjecture with this, as it appears that the additional panel is not going to be made retail. Why for the life of me a manufacturer would include a connection for something and not make it available confuses me. Much like the debug port that always seems included but no-one has a device for........ Great ideas, poor in following through, but thats just my 2 cents.

    [​IMG]

    As we have seen, Gigabyte have gone with their now traditional Orange/Black livery on this little board. Some people are probably over this by now, but honestly, on this particular board it looks killer. I would be happy to have a mini build with an Orange/Black/White theme.

    [​IMG]

    Memory support is rated at speeds or DDR4 4266+ and can handle up to 32GB with the use of 2x16GB RAM Modules. I tested it out with my 4000C19 kit of RAM, and was able to simply boot up at XMP ratings, but with a lot of work managed a totally bench stable 4000C12-1t which was surprising to say the least. Others have reported achieving over 4133C12-2t, which is mighty impressive for any board to achieve.

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    The rear of the board is quite a plain sight. The only real features to see here is the M.2 Port. As much as this seems a clever position for the drive, Gigabyte have failed in it's positioning as it is too close the CPU socket. With a traditional Air-Cooler, I had no problems. But, when I attempted to install with either my Enermax AIO cooler or my EK Supremacy Evo waterblock, the backplates would foul on the drive when installed. It can be worked around, but obviously this is not ideal.

    [​IMG]

    Removing the heatsinks and IO cover, we can see the board in it's entirety. Removing the IO Cover makes access to the CMOS Battery easier.

    [​IMG]

    Power to the CPU, iGPU and memory are controlled through a 6+2 phase design featuring 40A Mosfets for a very capable power delivery system.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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    headin2001

    headin2001 Member

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    Some Results/Benchmarks to come.........
     
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    headin2001

    headin2001 Member

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    Conclusion


    Well, here we have what is a fantastic little ITX board. Not only is it super compact, but it can also keep up quite well with all of the boards over twice the size when it comes to overclocking, from both a overall clock speed, but also for memory speed. Memory speeds after a lot of tweaking were able to hit a fairly tight 4000C12-12-1t setting at around 1.85v on my particular set of RAM.

    The VRM is very capable even though we are only looking at a total 6+2 phases. The mosfet block did a great job of cooling, and I never found it getting too hot under extreme load. 5 to 5.1GHz on my 7700k were no problem at all, as well as on my i3 7350k.

    I did have a little issue with the M.2 NVME position on the rear of the board. When I had the SSD Drive fitted, the backplate and rubber gasket on my EK Supremacy Evo block would foul on it. I understand that space for everything on a mini ITX board is compact, but this would be only the one bug bear I had with setup and mounting. This was easily worked around though, with a small amount of trimming. For other coolers though, from the venerable Cooler Master 212X and the mighty Noctua D15 Cooler had no issues at all.

    Bios wise, I found to be, well, dated. Unfortunately this is one area I find that Gigabyte are behind their competitors. The lack of OC Profiles, for both CPU and Memory were really a thorn in my side, especially for me being new to their setup. Those that have used Gigabyte products over the past 5 or so years will probably still feel at home though. I would like to see in some progression in the future from Gigabyte to provide an easier interface for both the Basic and Advanced users.

    With the absence of the Asus Impact in the Z270 range, there is only really a couple of competitors in the mini-ITX form factor. For a motherboard in the mid $200's range, I really feel this is a perfect example for performance and functionality. Especially when ITX motherboards always seem to attract a price premium.

    Overall though, I will be more than happy to set this up with an ITX GPU such as the Gigabyte GTX1070 Mini ITX for a simple gaming rig for myself, knowing that it is designed to take the heat of a confined case, and also have all the features of my larger boards available if I feel the need to Overclock things a bit.
     
  6. Paulie_AU

    Paulie_AU Member

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    Nice review looks like a nice little board. I have a MSI Z270i Pro Gaming and it has the fan headers in the worst spot. Looks like the little Gigabyte board has them in a much better spot.:thumbup:

    I don't think it is only you with the bios. The z270 bios is horrible. I have z170 SOC Force with both skylake and kabylake bios and the kabylake colours are just aweful makes it feel terribly dated. Functionally it is fine though but nothing compared to the sleekness of MSI or ASRock for that matter.
     
  7. Bullants

    Bullants Member

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    Nice review man,I still have this board... nice little board does everything you need it to do for overclocking :thumbup:
     
  8. mad_mic3

    mad_mic3 Member

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    worth the wait, excellent reading:thumbup:
     
  9. dinos22

    dinos22 Member

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    Thanks for the writeup :)
     
  10. robbo2

    robbo2 Member

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    It's incredible what they can fit on these little boards these days. Good things in little packages! Agree with the OC panel though. That's pretty disappointing. If anything it should come included.
     

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