Intel makes a range of chipsets for its desktop processors, and the fully-enabled Z270 model sits right at the top. The thing is, the Z270 is overkill for most users' needs. For folks who aren't overclocking and don't need three M.2 sockets, a B-series chipset will serve just fine. Gigabyte clearly agrees, as the company's new B250M-Gaming 5 motherboard packs a fancy feature set worthy of a high-end gamer board but skips the high-end chipset.
In this case, the fancy features include metal-reinforced DIMM slots and PCIe x16 slots, a dedicated water pump power header, RGB LED lighting, and an RGB LED header for controlling a light strip. The B250M-Gaming 5 also uses an Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller and a high-end Realtek ALC1220 audio codec accompanied by Gigabyte's "Amp-Up" smart headphone amplifier. Gigabyte says the board fully supports Intel's Optane cache devices in its M.2 socket, too. M.2 devices up to 110 mm in length will fit nicely in the board.
The B250M-Gaming 5 does suffer a little for its use of a budget chipset. Despite having two metal-reinforced PCIe x16 slots, it has no SLI support. The board supports AMD's Crossfire, but the second card connects to the chipset with four PCIe 3.0 lanes, and has to contend with the rest of the devices for DMI bandwidth. Memory speed is limited to 2400 MT/s, too, since that's all the B250 chipset supports. Finally, there are no USB 3.1, Thunderbolt, or U.2 connectors.
Still, for gamers on a budget, this board could be a winner. Aside from the high-speed memory support, none of the missing features have much effect on gaming performance. One of those Pentium G4620s slotted in this motherboard could make for a potent value proposition. The company hasn't revealed pricing or availability yet for the B250M-Gaming 5, but we have some expectation that it's a reasonably affordable model.
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