The impressive Realtek ALC1150 chipset features on many if not most gaming grade motherboards. It has 10 DAC channels and supports 7.1 audio and can output to the rear ports and the front ports at the same time with different signals. This is going to be complete overkill for most people but it could be handy for streamers. There are also gold plated connections and 115dB Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) to ensure that the end result holds its own against a dedicated gaming sound card. Gigabyte has also used a gold plated cover on the audio controller to ward off electrostatic interference. We also see the Japanese branded Nichicon audio capacitors used for the gaming sound experience.
Gigabyte has also included the SoundBlaster X-Fi MB3 software package to enhance the gaming experience with options to improve audio effects and increase the immersion.
Our experience testing the audio was great – we used both speakers and headphones, testing music, movies and a range of games. In the end, the audio sounded crisp and was probably the hero of the board from a gaming perspective. Owners of this board won’t be left wanting unless they are serious audiophiles with superhuman hearing and crazy expensive headphones.
Connectivity is key to gaming now more than ever. Most of the games we play have an online component where latency can make or break your experience. Whilst we always prefer a wired connection, AC wireless is a pretty decent ‘Plan B’. Thankfully, the Z170N Gaming 5 has the Killer E2200 chipset from Qualcomm Atheros for Gigabit Ethernet and Intel dual band WIFI.
The Intel 802.11ac WIFI and Bluetooth 4.2 module is mounted upright and wired to the rear antenna ports. The Intel WIFI controller also supports WIDI and is rated at 867Mbps depending on the signal strength.
The Ultra Durable™ PCIe Metal Shielding involves a single piece of stainless steel that surrounds the PCIe slot to help prevent it from splitting under the weight of heavy graphics cards or in the event of a LAN rig suffering a tip or drop. The PCIe slot is also anchored to the motherboard with higher grade solder points that look more like hooks. Gigabyte claim that their protection makes the slot 1.7 times stronger in a shearing test and 3.2 times stronger in the retention force test than a standard PCIe slot. Whilst we didn’t try to break the PCIe slot, it certainly felt sturdy and looked pretty good at the same time. Whilst I’ve never had any issues with a PCIe slot shearing, when I asked around, I found a few people who have seen it – admittedly in all cases, the systems involved had been damaged in transit. Whilst this isn’t necessarily an essential feature, it’s nice insurance.
There are two SATA Express connectors that allow data transfer speeds of up to 16GB/s. Unfortunately we didn’t have any devices to test this but from a longevity angle, this could be something that adds performance to your system later on and staves off an upgrade for a little bit longer.
The aesthetics of the Z170N Gaming 5 board are crisp and it feels like a gaming badass. The new ‘G1 Gaming’ logo is an improvement over the previous Gaming ‘eye’ reminiscent of the F1 racing logo.
There is more silver/aluminium on the board than the Z97 version – mostly due to the PCIE brace but also the heat sink trims. The heatpipe is more of a gun-metal colour and the DDR4 slots have been highlighted in red. If you are building a ‘display’ rig with this board, anything other than black, red or white is likely to look a little out of place. Mounting the battery and WIFI card vertically has saved some space and also made the small ITX landscape less cluttered. The isolation PCB patch for the audio also has red LEDs installed but these can be adjusted to be on, strobe to music, ‘breathe’ or be switched off entirely.
The main motherboard manufacturers have a focus on quality components and Gigabyte is no exception. The audio capacitors are Japanese Nichicon banded, and the other motherboard capacitors are the Black Solid Caps known for long life, low ESR and high durability. The CPU socket is 15 micron thick gold plated with the Audio and HDMI ports also gold plated for improved conductivity and the ability not to tarnish over time.
The stainless steel PCIe shield and improved anchor points also improve the build quality profile of the Z170N Gaming 5.
With build quality like this, dual BIOS and connectivity options like Type-C, SATA Express, PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 this is a board that we’d expect to go the distance, allowing a gamer to skip a socket before upgrading.
|CPU Support||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
|Chipset||Chipset Intel® Z170 Chipset|
|Main Memory||2 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
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
|PCI-E||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)
|Graphics||1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60 Hz
* The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connection by adapter.1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@24 Hz
* Support for HDMI 1.4 version.
Maximum shared memory of 512 MB
|SATA||Intel® Z170 Chipset
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
|USB||Intel® Z170 Chipset:
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB headers5 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (3 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)Intel® Z170 Chipset+Intel® USB 3.1 Controller:
1 x USB Type-C™ port on the back panel, with USB 3.1 support1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red) on the back panel
|Audio||Realtek® ALC1150 codec
Support for Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3
|Network||Killer E2201 chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
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
|I/O Controller||iTE® I/O Controller Chip|
|Internal I/O Connections||– 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
|Rear Panel I/O Connections||– 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
– 1 x HDMI port
– 2 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 port
– 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
– 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
|Hardware 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.
|BIOS||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
|OS||Support for Windows 10/8.1 64-bit
Support for Windows 7 32-bit/64-bit
|Dimensions||6.7 in. x 6.7 in. (17 cm x 17 cm)
Mini-ITX Form Factor
|Mounting Holes||4 mounting holes.|
- I/O Shield plate with dark outer coating with visible port labels including a yellow ring around the primary speaker output.
- Software and Driver CDs
- 2x clear and silver SATA3 cables
- WIFI Antenna with magnetic stand
- Quick Install Guide
- Heroes of the Storm door hanger
- Case badge with the nifty new ‘G1’ badge
Included Software Utilities
Support for APP Center
- 3D OSD
- Cloud Station
- Easy RAID
- Fast Boot
- Smart TimeLock
- Smart Keyboard
- Smart Backup
- System Information Viewer
- USB BlockerSupport for Q-FlashSupport for Smart SwitchSupport for Xpress Install
- Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
- Intel® Smart Response Technology
- Intel® Wireless Display