Review and testing of the motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI / Motherboard

# Foreword

Following the very successful Gigabyte GA-H97-D3H today, we will study and test the model Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI . Despite the fact that this motherboard is based on the more advanced and functional chipset Intel Z97 Express, it belongs to the standard mini-ITX, which means that its expansion is much more modest than that of Gigabyte GA-H97-D3H. However, the manufacturer himself positions this "baby" as a basis for a compact gaming center equipped with the most modern network interfaces.

# Specifications and Recommended Price

Technical specifications of the Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI rev.1.0 motherboard are shown in the table below.

The processor

The processor The processor

The processors Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron
in the performance of LGA1150 (the fourth, updated fourth and fifth generations of the microarchitecture Core)
Chipset Intel Z97 Express
The memory subsystem 2 × DIMM DDR3 (non-ECC) non-buffered memory of up to 16 GB;
two-channel memory operation mode;
support for 1333-3100 MHz;
support for XMP (Extreme Memory Profile).
The graphical user interface The integrated graphics core of the processor allows the use of HDMI ports version 1.4a and DVI-I.
Supports resolutions up to 4096 × 2160 pixels inclusive.
Audio subsystem 2/4 / 5.1 / 7.1-channel HD audio codec Realtek ALC892;
support for S / PDIF Out.
Intel Gigabit LAN Controller (10/100/1000 Mbps);
Atheros Gigabit LAN network controller (10/100/1000 Mbit).
Wireless communication module Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac;
Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0 + HS, 2.1 + EDR.
Connectors for expansion cards 1 PCI Express x16 slot, operating mode x16 / x8, Gen 3;
1 mini-PCI slot for the wireless module.
Drive Interfaces Chipset Intel Z97 Express: 6 × SATA 3, bandwidth up to 6 Gbit / s;
support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel Rapid Storage and Intel Smart Response, NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug.
Interface US Chipset Intel Z97 Express:
6 USB 3.0 / 2.0 (4 – on the rear panel, 2 ports are connected to the corresponding connectors on the motherboard);
4 USB 2.0 / 1.1 (2 – on the rear panel, 2 ports are connected to the corresponding connectors on the system board)
Internal connectors on the motherboard connector for connecting the hull opening sensor;
6 × SATA 6Gb / s connectors;
4-pin ATX 12V connector;
connector for CPU fan;
a group of connectors of the front panel;
24-pin ATX connector;
audio connector on the front panel;
USB 3.0 / 2.0 connector;
connector for connecting the system fan;
COM port;
jumper for CMOS reset;
connector S / P-DIF Out;
USB 2.0 / 1.1 connector.
Connectors and buttons on the rear panel 1 PS / 2 port for connecting a keyboard or mouse;
4 USB 3.0 / 2.0 ports;
2 USB 2.0 / 1.1 ports;
2 HDMI ports;
1 DVI-I port;
2 LAN LAN outlets RJ-45;
1 optical S / PDIF output;
2 × SMA connectors for antennas (2T2R);
5 audio connectors (Center / Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In).
I / O controller
BIOS 2 × 64 Mbit AMI UEFI BIOS with graphical shell (SD / HD / Full HD);
DualBIOS support;
PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0.
Company functions, technologies and features support for APP Center;
proprietary utility Q-Flash;
support Xpress Install;
Support Smart Switch;
support for proprietary technology GIGABYTE On / Off Charge;
proprietary utility @BIOS;
proprietary function EZ Setup;
proprietary function of Smart Recovery 2;
proprietary utility EasyTune;
proprietary utility USB Blocker;
Smart TimeLock;
Fast Boot;
support for a cloud station (Cloud Station);
a reviewer of information about the system.
Operating system Microsoft Windows 8.1 / 8/7
The form factor, dimensions (mm) Mini-ITX, 170 × 170
The minimum retail value *, rubles 6,600

* According to the data of "Yandex.Market" for January 3, 2015.

# Packaging and packaging

The compact box is framed in a standard for Gigabyte style. The basic information about the board is stated on the front side, and the reverse side will tell the potential buyer about all the features of the device, its advantages and technical characteristics.

A sticker with a serial number of the board and an enumeration of its characteristics are glued on one of the ends of the box.

The board comes with an interface panel cap, two SATA cables with latches, installation instructions, a Wi-Fi module antenna and two CD-ROMs with software.

Separately I want to note a very stylish antenna with two gold-plated connectors for connection.

The fee is issued in Taiwan and in foreign online stores costs 138 US dollars. In Russia at the time of publication of the article, this model could be bought for 6 600 rubles, while the average price was 8 600. The warranty period is 3 years.

# Features of the construction

The Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI is a very compact board that belongs to the mini-ITX standard. In other words, its dimensions are equal to 170 × 170 mm, so that as you study GA-Z97N-WIFI, you get more and more respect for engineers who managed to create such a functional motherboard on such a small piece of black textol without resorting to transition to the third measurement which was used in ASUS.

The reverse side looks quite standard: you can see here only an amplifying plate and several stabilizing elements.

There are four holes for fixing the card in the case of the system unit in the PCB.

On the interface panel you can see a universal PS / 2-output, adjacent to two USB 2.0 ports, DVI-I video output and two Wi-Fi antenna connectors, two HDMI video outputs, four USB 3.0 ports, two LAN ports ( RJ-45), as well as a panel with five audio outputs and one optical S / P-DIF out.

We will supplement the external inspection of the board with the instruction manual and the layout of its main elements.

The LGA1150 processor socket, together with the Intel Z97 Express chipset, supports all the Intel Core processors of the fourth generation of the Haswell family.

As in the previously reviewed Gigabyte GA-H97-D3H, the connector contacts have a gold coating thickness of 15 microns, five times the thickness of the typical layer and increasing the reliability of the connections, corrosion protection and stability.

In addition, the power supply system of the processor also uses solid-state capacitors, low-resistance MOSFETs and ferrite core chokes, that is, all the components that Gigabyte's flagship motherboards are equipped to record overclocking processors.

The board has two DIMM slots for DDR3 (non-ECC) memory modules, capable of operating in dual-channel mode with a maximum capacity of 8 GB per module.

Memory modules with a frequency of 1333 and 1600 MHz and XMP profiles are officially supported, but the board allows to overclock the memory to a frequency of 3100 MHz. The list of officially compatible memory modules can be downloaded from here .

The functionality of the Intel Z97 Express chipset is such that the Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI does not experience problems with the number of PCI Express lines.

The lower edge of the board has a PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot, implemented using Haswell's processor controller.

As you already understood, in the case when a discrete video card is not used, up to three monitors with a maximum resolution of up to 4096 × 2160 pixels can be connected to the video outputs of the Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI motherboard.

Switching between video outputs is carried out by a pair of microcircuits PTN3360DBS manufactured by NXP Semiconductors.

The power supply is provided through 24-pin and 4-pin connectors.

The use of a new generation of fiberglass boards with more dense interlacing components, as well as built-in protection against voltage drops and power outages within the Ultra Durable concept, should ensure stability and durability at the highest loads.

The power supply system of the processor is built according to a four-phase scheme. Two additional phases, allotted, apparently, to the main memory and power circuits, are disconnected at the top edge of the textolite.

The digital PWM controller responsible for power management is Intersil ISL95820CRTZ .

Next to the slots for RAM, connectors for USB 2.0 and 3.0, as well as a connector with connectors for the front panel, are disconnected.

For the organization of the Gigabyte disk subsystem, the GA-Z97N-WIFI is equipped with six SATA-3 ports with a bandwidth of up to 6 Gbps, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel Rapid Storage and Intel Smart Response, NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug.

The controller ITE 8620E is responsible for monitoring, controlling the fans and ports PS / 2 and COM on the board.

Audio capabilities are realized via the Realtek ALC892 HD audio codec, supporting audio systems of 2/4 / 5.1 / 7.1 formats.

In addition to the standard gigabit LAN controller Intel WG1217V, the board features a Qualcomm Atheros 8161 controller.

Finally, the key feature of the board – support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 – is implemented by the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 Plus Bluetooth controller installed in the mini-PCI Express slot.

It supports 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac wireless standards, as well as Intel WiDi audio and video transmission technology. This controller is capable of providing a data transfer rate of up to 867 Mbit / s and operating in a dual-band mode of 2.4 GHz / 5.0 GHz.

We add that on the board are implemented two four-pin connectors for connecting fans and two microcircuits BIOS (technology Gigabyte DualBIOS).

If you notice an error – select it with the mouse and press CTRL + ENTER.

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