Reviewed: Gigabyte Z97N-Gaming 5 Mini ITX

Testing Setup

We tested the Gigabyte Z97N Gaming 5 in 2 different cases, the Thermaltake Core V1 and the Fractal Design Node 304. The Core V1 build was done primarily for the case review but the layout was different to the single chambered Node 304 and the Node also allows for larger 140mm CPU coolers so in the interest of being thorough, we did both. Building in both cases was really easy and there were no layout issues with the board or fitting the components.

Practical build parts list

  Core V1 System Node 304 System
  P9140008 PA180042


CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S, Noctua NH-L12 Noctua NH-U14S
Memory 8GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile – Black (2x4GB)
Case Core V1 Node 304
Hard Drive

Seagate Barracuda 750GB & Samsung EVO 250GB SSD

Power Supply

Fractal Design Newton 1000W

Fractal Design Integra M 750W 

Graphics Cards

Gigabyte GTX670 OC 2GB Windforce3


Audio Mionix Nash 20 Gaming Headset
Network Direct connection to the cable modem &
Shared Gigabit connection via Netgear WNDR3700
Optical Samsung USB DVD drive
OS Windows 8.1  

Below are some shots of the build from our Core V1 review. We were able to keep the cabling neat and our flat 120mm low profile Noctua NH-L12 didn’t have any issues at all with the motherboard layout, header locations or power connectors. Everything was easy to reach and as expected, the IO back plate and mounting screws all lined up perfectly.

CPU socket placement is something that we focus on because it can make or break a build in that poor placement can limit the choice of cooler. The Z97N-Gaming 5 has great CPU placement – this is a fact. The board was able to handle a 120mm horizontal low profile cooler without issue but it was also able to take both 120mm and 140mm vertical tower coolers without blocking the PCIE slot for a discrete graphics card. Sure, you could always install an All in One water cooler but it gives the system builder the choice to use something large like a Noctua NH-U14S that will fit in a Fractal Design Node 304 Mini-ITX case. That combination of cooler and case gives a very quiet result – even with an overclock like ours where we had the i5-4670K running at 4.6GHz/1.29v at very reasonable temperatures. If you add in a double slot graphics card with a quiet aftermarket cooler then you can smash out some impressive frame rates with a minimal noise profile. Photos of the Node 304 build are below.

Both builds were very quiet and quick to assemble, taking a little over an hour each. The Z97N-Gaming 5 board layout worked well for both mini-ITX cases all connectors were easy to access as the build progressed.


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