Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 Review (Page 1 of 12)

By: Aaron Lai (Hardware/Testing) and Jonathan Kwan (BIOS)
April 22, 2016

When I first built a computer, I asked Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Kwan what size of motherboard I should be going for. As this would be for my daily driver, and initially my test machine, he suggested I get a standard ATX. This would mean better options for expansion ports, while also providing more I/O such as USB ports. In addition, having the capability to SLI or CrossFire was something I was interested in, although I have yet to use more than one GPU at a time. Even though it is denoted as the standard size, the motherboard seemed relatively big to me. The desktop I used right before this, a Dell Inspiron 530, was an OEM build and it used a smaller micro ATX board. When I received today's review unit of the Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5, I opened it up, and its size, or lack thereof, shocked me. I had never held such a small motherboard before. My first reaction was, "Oh my goodness, this is cute!" I realized I was probably one of the few people to call a motherboard, or any sort of PC component, cute. I told the Editor-in-Chief, and he mocked me for it. After seeing all these sizes, I truly have to wonder if the name motherboard is correct in denoting the sizes. Rather, I think the ATX is more of a "father"-board. Meanwhile, the mATX is a "mother"-board, which is probably what the "m" in mATX stands for, haha. So, by the same logic, the mITX could be called a "baby"-board. In all seriousness, however, the Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 is one tiny board, and yet it is marked under Gigabyte's gaming lineup. Therefore I will ask: What makes this tiny motherboard a "gaming" motherboard? Can this David-sized board keep up with the Goliath challenges ahead? Read on to find out!

Today's review unit of the Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 motherboard arrived via FedEx International Priority. Flying in from the City of Industry, California, it came to the APH Networks office in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. From the outside, it looks like everything arrived without any damage to the internal items. There were a few bruises near the top corners of the box, but they did not look too problematic for the inner contents. Thankfully, Gigabyte also packed the inside with loads and loads of foam packing peanuts, so this should have also cushioned any blows the parcel took during shipment. Otherwise, I am much more excited about seeing the motherboard itself, so I grabbed a pair of scissors, and I carefully opened the box from the edges.

If you have not read the introduction, you should know this Z170N-Gaming 5 is an mITX board, and thus the box is sized accordingly. This is the retail box, and it shows its gaming styles immediately. As Gigabyte is the exclusive motherboard sponsor for BlizzCon, a video game convention held by Blizzard Entertainment, it is only understandable they put this on the forefront of the box. Here, we have one of Blizzard's latest games, Heroes of the Storm, which is Blizzard's multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA. The character on the front of the box is named Sarah Kerrigan, and she is originally from Blizzard's other series, StarCraft. By now, I should tell you I know barely anything about Heroes of the Storm or StarCraft, so I think I will stop and take a closer look at the box instead. Other than the neat graphics we see, Gigabyte has employed a red and black theme, and this coloring is seen throughout the rest of the product, as you will see later on. As this is part of Gigabyte's gaming lineup, their G1 Gaming moniker is also shown. Near the bottom right, we see some other features, including support for DDR4 memory, USB Type-C, and USB 3.1. The sides of the box have more branding and logos, and the back is filled with specifications and features of the GA-Z170N-Gaming 5.

Speaking of specifications, before we move on, let us take a look at the detailed specifications of the Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:

- Support for 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
(Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.)

- Intel® Z170 Express Chipset

- 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 3333(O.C.) /3300(O.C.) /3200(O.C.) /3000(O.C.) /2800(O.C.) /2666(O.C.) /2400(O.C.) /2133 MHz memory modules
- Support for ECC UDIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)
- Support for non-ECC UDIMM 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 DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200@60 Hz
* The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connection by adapter.
- 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160@24 Hz
* Support for HDMI 1.4 version.
- Maximum shared memory of 512 MB

- Realtek® ALC1150 codec
- Support for Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3
- High Definition Audio
- 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
- Support for S/PDIF Out

- Killer E2201 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
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector on the back of the motherboard (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280 SATA & PCIe x4/x2/x1 SSD support)
- 2 x SATA Express connectors
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
- Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
* Refer to "1-7 Internal Connectors," for the supported configurations with the M.2, SATA Express, and SATA connectors.

- 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB header
- 5 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (3 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
Chipset+Intel® USB 3.1 Controller:
- 1 x USB Type-C™ port on the back panel, with USB 3.1 support
- 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red) on the back panel

Internal I/O Connectors
- 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
- 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
- 2 x SATA Express connectors
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector
- 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 speaker header
- 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
- 1 x chassis intrusion header

Back Panel Connectors
- 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
- 1 x HDMI port
- 2 x SMA antenna connectors
- 1 x DVI-D port
- 1 x USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 support
- 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red)
- 3 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
- 1 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)

I/O Controller
- iTE® I/O Controller Chip

H/W Monitoring
- System voltage detection
- CPU/System temperature detection
- CPU/System fan speed detection
- CPU/System overheating warning
- CPU/System fan fail warning
- CPU/System fan speed control
* Whether the fan speed control function is supported will depend on the cooler you install.

- 2 x 64 Mbit flash
- Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
- Support for DualBIOS™
- 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
- AutoGreen
- Cloud Station
- EasyTune
- Easy RAID
- Fast Boot
- Smart TimeLock
- Smart Keyboard
- Smart Backup
- System Information Viewer
- USB Blocker
- Support for Q-Flash
- Support for Smart Switch
- Support for Xpress Install

Bundle Software
- Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
- Intel® Smart Response Technology
- Intel® Wireless Display

Operating System
- Support for Windows 10/8.1 64-bit
- Support for Windows 7 32-bit/64-bit
* Please download “Windows® USB Installation Tool” to install Windows® 7.

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

Box Contents
- GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 motherboard
- Motherboard driver disk
- Two SATA cables
- User's Manual
- Quick Installation Guide
- One antenna
- I/O Shield
- Wireless module driver disk

Above is a CPU-Z screenshot of the Motherboard tab running the Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 in Windows 10. In this review, we used Gigabyte's F4 BIOS revision. This is the latest BIOS revision at press time..

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Bundle, Chipset, BIOS
3. A Closer Look, Board Layout, Test System
4. Benchmark: AIDA64 CPU
5. Benchmark: AIDA64 FPU
6. Benchmark: AIDA64 Memory
7. Benchmark: PCMark 8
8. Benchmark: 3DMark
9. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0
10. Benchmark: SuperPI 1M, Cinebench R15
11. Onboard Sound Frequency Analysis
12. Overclocking and Conclusion