With the standard for mini-ITX motherboards set so high in recent times, the Gigabyte Z270N-Gaming 5 needed to be a well-polished product to keep pace with the competition. In general, the Z270N-Gaming 5 is a reliable all-rounder in terms of features and performance but it doesn’t seem as refined and well executed as it should be when compared to rival offerings from ASUS and MSI.
The UEFI with Gigabyte Z270 motherboards is a debatable area. While it is functional and it gets the job done – there’s nothing inherently wrong with it – it can be frustrating to use and is not as intuitive as the UEFI on the Gigabyte Z170 generation, nor the UEFI environments deployed by rival vendors in Z270 generation motherboards.
Furthermore, Gigabyte has made questionable hardware decisions such as “spending” motherboard space, which is scarce on ITX boards, on connections and features consumers may never use (OCT header, debug port, LED Demo) and thinning out the rear I/O in terms of the USB and the audio connections available.
Perhaps the worst offender is the placement of the M.2 slot so close to the CPU socket that M.2 drives can conflict with certain backplates, including a standard Corsair backplate for Hydro Series all-in-one coolers.
However, despite a number of mishaps, the Gigabyte Z270N-Gaming 5 is still a competent mini-ITX offering. Overall connectivity and features are good, particularly the networking with Intel Gigabit LAN and AC 2T2R WiFi, and the full-featured RGB LED solution.
Gigabyte somewhat compensates for its awkward UEFI with a well unified software environment, even if it still provides too many software utilities. The overall build quality is very good with a heat pipe and thermal pads for the CPU VRM and a solid metal rear I/O shroud which adds a nice design aesthetic. The shielded PCIe slot is also a nice bonus.
Performance and pricing is mostly competitive with rival offerings from ASUS and MSI even if the overall package is not necessarily as strong. Any additional purchasing incentives, such as free games or cashback programs, should help Gigabyte overcome some of this motherboard’s irksome issues.
The Gigabyte Z270N-Gaming 5 is available at Overclockers UK for £164.99. Gigabyte typically offers a manufacturer warranty of 3 years with this product.
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- Good networking capability
- Solid CPU power setup
- Attractive design and good build quality
- Well-implemented RGB LED system
- Software utilities are unified
- UEFI isn’t as intuitive as it should be
- I/O connectivity is lacking
- Space isn’t best utilised
- M.2 slot can conflict with CPU cooler backplates, no consideration for M.2 cooling
KitGuru says: The Gigabyte Z270N-Gaming 5 is worth considering if the price is right. It is a competent mini-ITX offering but some of its competitors are more polished.