Gigabyte GA-Z270N-Gaming 5

Score

Pros

  • Solid benchmark results
  • Wi-Fi included
  • Solid set of features

Cons

  • ATX and micro-ATX offer more features for the money

Key Features

  • Review Price: £161.00
  • Mini-ITX Form Factor
  • Intel Z270 Chipset
  • Intel LGA 1151 socket
  • 2 x 4266MHz DDR4, maximum 32GB
  • 1 x PCI-E x16
  • 4 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x PS/2, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 3 x audio, 2 x antenna
  • 1 x M.2, 4 x SATA 3
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What is the Gigabyte GA-Z270N-Gaming 5?

This mini-ITX board might be smaller than most, but it packs a punch – and it proves that you don’t need an ATX board to build a full-power gaming rig anymore.

Gigabyte GA-Z270N-Gaming 5 – Design and Features

The mini-ITX form factor goes some way to dictating what can and can’t be included on this board, but Gigabyte has done a good job when it comes to pushing the envelope.

Take the memory, for instance. There are only two slots here rather than the four you’ll find on full-size and micro-ATX boards, but the DDR4 in this board can run at 4266MHz – faster than pretty much anything else on the market.

Related: Everything you need to know about Kaby Lake
Gigabyte GA-Z270N-Gaming 5 1

There’s only room for one PCI-Express x16 slot, too, but it’s still got the full steel shielding that’s now included on most other gaming boards.

The full-size M.2 connector is included on the back of the board, and the front serves up four SATA ports, a dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and three fan headers. The ALC1220 audio chip is one of Realtek’s best, but little has been done to beef up the Intel Ethernet.

You still lose out on features, of course, because larger boards will have more PCI slots, extra memory sockets and additional M.2 and SATA connectors, and there are no on-board buttons. That said, I’ve rarely seen mini-ITX boards with as much hardware as this.

There are RGB LEDs, too, although only a couple near the motherboard and the PCI slot. As usual, they can be programmed to adhere to different patterns or reflect CPU temperature, and there’s one header for an accompanying strip of lights, and the lot can be managed from Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion app.

Gigabyte GA-Z270N-Gaming 5

The software is fine elsewhere, too – the Smart Fan tool is a familiar option for managing fan speeds around your rig, and the UEFI BIOS is fast and intuitive.

There’s no real difference between this board’s backplate and most other ATX gaming boards, too – you still get four USB 3 connections, a USB 3.1 type-C port and a PS/2 connector. There are only three audio jacks, though, and no buttons.

Three fan headers sit at the top of the board, and the left-hand side contains two tiny heatsinks and an IO shroud.

The only issues are the obvious ones – this board won’t have as many features as full-sized rivals, and the close quarters of some slots might cause issues if you use a particularly chunky graphics card or CPU cooler.

When it comes to putting plenty of power in a small package, though, the Gigabyte is extremely impressive.

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Gigabyte GA-Z270N-Gaming 5– Performance

Smaller motherboards can sometimes suffer when it comes to benchmarks, so I’m pleased that this tiny Gigabyte offering performed reasonably well in most of the tests.

Its single- and multi-core application results of 5784 and 19,950 aren’t even one hundred points behind the beefiest ATX board, so there won’t be any real difference when it comes to applications – those speeds will be more reliant on your processor, storage and memory.

Gigabyte GA-Z270N-Gaming 5 4

The Gigabyte’s gaming result of 6799 is more modest – just over 50 points behind the best boards – and its SSD read and write speeds of 507MB/s and 496MB/s are just as average.

I’m pleased to report that the Gigabyte’s power consumption figures were decent. Its idle requirement of 53W is in the middle of the pack, and its peak consumption of 97W is one of the best on the market – so this board will consume a minimal amount of power, no matter what you’re doing.

Should I Buy the Gigabyte GA-Z270N-Gaming 5?

Gigabyte has done a fine job with this board. It’s got about as many features as I can reasonably expect from a mini-ITX motherboard, and the design is backed up by solid software, both in Windows and the BIOS.

Performance is reasonable, too, especially in applications and power consumption. The only issues with this board come from its size, and they’re obvious – you simply won’t get as much on this board as you would from an ATX slate.

Remain aware of that, though, and this board becomes a great buy. Its £161/$206 price is fine considering what you’re getting, so it’s the ideal basis for a small and powerful gaming or work machine.

Related: Best SSDs

Verdict

Gigabyte’s tiny motherboard packs in plenty of features alongside solid performance levels, which makes it suitable for small gaming, media and work systems. Its £161/$206 price puts it alongside other mainstream boards, and I heartily recommend it – this board consistently punches above its weight.

Score

Features

Type Motherboards

CPU & Northbridge Support

Supported Processor Intel Kaby Lake
Chipset Intel Z270
CPU Socket LGA 1151

Memory Support

Memory Slots 2
Max System Memory (Gigabyte) 32GB
Memory Technology DDR4

Connectors

USB 3.0 6
LAN 1
Audio 3
SATA 4
Slots: PCI-E x16 1

Additional Features

Multi GPU Support No

Physical Specifications

System Board Style Mini-ITX

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