Gigabyte reveals two Mini-ITX Ivy Bridge boards

Add Gigabyte to the list of motherboard makers with Mini-ITX boards primed for Ivy Bridge. The company has posted pictures of two new models on its Facebook page. One is based on the Z77 Express chipset, while the other uses the H77. The Facebook post is short on details, but we can draw a few conclusions from the pictures. Behold the Z77N-WiFi:

As the name implies, this puppy has wireless networking built in. 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are provided by a tiny Intel adapter card that sits in a Mini PCI Express slot just above the CPU socket in the picture above. Below the socket, we can see a full-sized PCIe x16 slot just waiting for a discrete graphics card.

Like most Mini-ITX boards, the Z77N-WiFi cuts a few corners to squeeze into the restrictive Mini-ITX dimensions. Gigabyte uses only four of the Z77’s Serial ATA ports, and the board is limited to a pair of DIMM slots. Unlike the notebook-style SO-DIMM slots found on some midget motherboards, the memory slots will accept desktop DIMMs.

With the exception of the name silk-screened on the board, the H77N-WiFi looks all but identical to the Z77N. Although the platform hub hiding under the heatsink is different, you don’t lose much with the H77. The lack of support for dual-x8 multi-GPU configurations is moot given the board’s single PCIe x16 slot. The H77 offers only limited multiplier control for overclockers, but the cramped nature of Mini-ITX enclosures is far from ideal for pushing clock speeds.

Otherwise, the H77N-WiFi looks well equipped. The rear port cluster is packed with a trio of digital display outputs in addition to dual Gigabit Ethernet jacks. Two USB 3.0 ports can be found at the rear, as well, and there’s an onboard header for two more. Gigabyte also throws in a digital S/PDIF audio output to complement the analog jacks.

Unfortunately, there’s no official word on availability and pricing. This early look at the boards suggests the Z77 and H77 variants will cost $140 and $120, respectively. They’re supposed to be available in 2-3 weeks.

Comments closed
    • oldDummy
    • 7 years ago

    Have been using various mITX SFF’s for many years. Going back to a full size box does not seem attractive to me now. While the future might be the convergence of phone/watch/computer/gps …etc. right now a 8.5″ x 7.5″ x 13″ cube sitting on my desk being quiet and powerful is about right. This Gigabyte board resembles the Asus P8Z77 I’m currently using. This Asus is the highest quality mITX board I have owned. With more companies getting involved the time for mITX seems ripe.

      • GTVic
      • 7 years ago

      I’ve been considering this type of system for a while. Which case did you select?

        • oldDummy
        • 7 years ago

        I had a Shuttle SX58J3 running with only one dimm slot operational.
        That is what I used. So in answer to your question:
        A Shuttle J3 case.

    • colinstu12
    • 7 years ago

    I don’t know why there hasn’t been a move to SO-DIMMS on these platforms? There are some nice modules out there that come in the same capacities of full-sized sticks and sport some nice speeds too.

    Making the BIOS battery stand on its end would also help with space.

    • bcronce
    • 7 years ago

    Looks like the makings of a beast PFSense box

    • Farting Bob
    • 7 years ago

    This is seriously tempting. Ive been wanting to make a HTPC/fileserver in a miniITX case for ages, stick a cheaper ivy bridge CPU in there, find a good case that can take at least 2 HDD’s and i might have to go for it. Wont need a graphics card, so if i really wanted i could stick a sound card in there, not that my current speakers would benefit much from it.

      • bcronce
      • 7 years ago

      The problem is fitting a decent amount of HDs in a case made for miniITX. I’m assuming all you need is 2 HDs or so.

    • Corrado
    • 7 years ago

    I would think that instead of the DVI, HDMI AND DisplayPort outputs, you’d skip DVI and add 2 eSata ports or something. That would seem more useful to me, but what do I know.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      At least it doesn’t have a freaking D-Sub output! That might have a place on industrial or corporate boards but has no place on enthusiast boards.

      I’d say skip the dual NICs and add more USB or eSATA instead.

    • Ryhadar
    • 7 years ago

    I would love to get on the mini ITX bandwagon, but there’s no way I’m ditching my sound card.

    I did hear of some folks working around this though. For example, it looks like this board has a mini PCI-E slot for the wirless card. If you ditch the wireless card, you can get a mini PCI-E to PCI-E x 1 adapter, and then a PCI-E extender and fit the sound card somewhere else in the case.

    Holding me back is the extender might pick up more interference and sometimes these adapters can introduce compatibility problems.

    Then there’s the options on cases. I would love to get one from the SUGO series, but that would mean getting rid of my x650 PSU. I could opt for a larger case, like the bit fenix prodigy, but it would actually take up more volume than my modded SG02, so I probably wouldn’t save much on space.

    Suffice to say, I’ll be on mATX for some time coming.

      • pedro
      • 7 years ago

      Dude, I feel your pain as I had the same issue for seven whole years. There was no way I was giving up my firewire sound card but none of these mITX had firewire ports. Zero. In the end I got a USB sound card and I haven’t looked back.

      Now I’m just waiting for the ‘perfect’ mITX board to come up. This one comes pretty close.

      • shaurz
      • 7 years ago

      Sound cards suck. Use built-in digital out, a DAC and an amp if you want high-end sound quality.

      I have another reason not to use mini-ITX for my main PC – video capture cards!

        • Ryhadar
        • 7 years ago

        I have to disagree with you on the sound card comment. Regardless, the idea of a small box is so I can reduce the amount of space it takes up. A DAC and an amp is going to leave me with more space used up by my PC than just staying mATX.

        Plus, I like taking my computers to LANs and there’s no way I’d drag an amp and a dac everywhere I go (on top of the essentials, that is).

          • shaurz
          • 7 years ago

          Fair enough. I’ve not had good experience with discrete sound cards, they seem to fail on me a lot and don’t seem to be any better than on-board chips these days (the Asus Xonar was a complete piece of junk that sounded awful and crackled).

            • Ryhadar
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah I didn’t have much luck with my Asus Xonar either. It sounded great, don’t get me wrong, but the drivers and lack of support killed it for me.

            I’m on an Auzentech X-Fi Forte and couldn’t be happier.

            Don’t get me wrong, though, I think a DAC + Amp will probably net you the best solution for audio fidelity so I can definitely see where you’re coming from.

            • pedro
            • 7 years ago

            I have a DAC and powered monitors. It truly is the way to go (although not at all convenient for LANs of course).

    • stupido
    • 7 years ago

    I really love those new mini ITX boards…
    but it is pity that the CPU socket is so close to the expansion slot – it limits the usage of the tower coolers…

    but then you have those nice self-contained liquid coolers… 😉

    • flip-mode
    • 7 years ago

    So, is it truly physically impossible to put 4 DIMM slots on an mITX board? That is quite literally the ONLY reservation I have with the form factor. Would it be possible to do two rows of two SO-DIMM slots?

    Other than that these little fellas look so nice that I’m considering reconsidering my vow to never buy Gigabyte again. The rumored prices are very reasonable, the specs are nice, the colors are nice. Good job Gigabyte. How crummy is the BIOS, though?

      • pedro
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]So, is it truly physically impossible to put 4 DIMM slots on an mITX board?[/quote<] Very good question. That would be gravy if they could do it.

        • TO11MTM
        • 7 years ago

        My gut says on one hand if they moved the power phases and PHYs/DACs/etc back to a mini-riser like they used to they -might- be able to do it.

        I’m just not sure if the power would still be ‘clean’ enough for modern CPUs… and I bet it would be hella expensive.

      • jdaven
      • 7 years ago

      With only dual channel available and the proliferation of 4 GB and soon 8 GB modules, I cannot see the reason for needing four slots for most end user workloads. What kind of work do you do that requires more than 8 or 16 GB of memory?

        • shank15217
        • 7 years ago

        you’re a bit late 8GB modules are already very common and cheap.

          • jdaven
          • 7 years ago

          Even better then. So you can have 16 GB of memory. What kind of workloads would require more than that? I know ther must be some examples I just don’t know what they are.

            • Hsew
            • 7 years ago

            Adobe Flash?

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            hurrrr

            • sschaem
            • 7 years ago

            ? Even heavy 3D flash take often less then an HTML5 web pages

            This, even in full screen mode takes 8MB in Chrome [url<]http://www.nissan-stagejuk3d.com/[/url<] Do you really need to open over 2000 full screen 3d Flash web page all at once ? Jokes are usually funny when there is some truth to them, in this case you just proclaimed your ignorance.

        • flip-mode
        • 7 years ago

        I’m not so worried about the number of memory channels as I am about capacity and flexibility. It’s nice to be able to add additional memory later on without tossing out the old memory.

        Whenever I mention my desire for 4 slots I’m always asked why I need so much RAM :frown: I don’t regularly need more than 16 GB but it still happens that sometimes I do. I have 24 GB in my work machine. Most RAM I’ve ever utilized is 21 GB according to task manager. That happened while running a few instances of Revit at once, one of them was rendering and the other two I was working in. I also had Autocad open, several PDFs, Chrome, etc. I’ve had a single instance of Revit doing a complex rendering take up 12 GB on it’s own. I also run to virtual machines from time to time and those suck up memory frighteningly quick. Right now the single instance of Revit that I have open is using 5.5 GB, and my total RAM use is 9.9 GB – Autocad, several PDFs, Chrome are also open.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          Mini ITX is not the form factor you’re looking for.

          Until the entire SB is integrated into CPUs I don’t see how mini ITX can support 4 full-size DIMMs.

          • jdaven
          • 7 years ago

          Well you might as well lament the fact that laptops don’t have 4 slots. These are not the form factors for your ‘workstation’ needs. In the same way a gamer could ask why can’t miniITX support two pcie x16 slots for sli or crossfire. You shouldn’t expect a hammer to work like a jack hammer.

            • hiro_pro
            • 7 years ago

            dont quote me but i think the lenovo w520 has 4 slots

            • flip-mode
            • 7 years ago

            Many laptops have had 4 slots before.

            • flip-mode
            • 7 years ago

            I don’t want a hammer to work like a jackhammer – you know there are a lot of types of hammers between those two: 16 oz hammers, 20 oz hammers, 2 lb hammers, 5 lb hammers, 10 lb hammers, rotary hammers, mini-jackhammers, jackhammers, small hydraulic hammers, large hydraulic hammers, and finally, pile drivers. I want an mITX board with 4 DIMMs or even 4 SO-DIMMs; I consider that the equivalent of asking for a 20 oz hammer instead of a 16 oz hammer.

            I think its a crappy response to say: What you want doesn’t exist, so you should stop wanting it. We’d still be using rocks for hammers with that attitude.

            There’s mATX, ATX, and E-ATX. Why can’t ITX have similar flexibility? All we need for 4 DIMMs is E-ATX. Or, just get a board maker to use AMD’s DTX.

            • flip-mode
            • 7 years ago

            If I don’t know why you’ve minused me, it does no good. Did I miss some hammers, or do you just not have an adequate reply?

            • hexr
            • 7 years ago

            Dell M6600/M6500 have four slots.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Unsurprisingly those are Precision mobile workstations. They’re the eATX of the notebook industry. 😉

          • Chrispy_
          • 7 years ago

          I am (almost daily) staggered by the sheer RAMthirsty inefficiency of Autodesk and Adobe products. Revit is bad, but 3DSMax takes the biscuit.

          Adobe at least handles giant files all the time and could be forgiven if they weren’t evil, monopolistic asshats doing everything they can to be the Creative Labs of the graphics and publishing sectors.

        • sjl
        • 7 years ago

        There are good reasons to have more than 16 GB of RAM in the home system (I have 48!), but those applications are not the sort for which you’d be buying a system like this one anyway – you’d buy a high end motherboard that can take the hardware you need, and the hell with saving space under the desk (or whatever.)

        Oh, why so much RAM for me? Virtualisation: I work in backup/recovery, and the applications I want to fiddle with (before they go into production) want an imperial buttload (it’s bigger than a metric buttload) of RAM. TSM: 12 GB. Avamar virtual edition: up to 16 GB. The others are much smaller, but throw in a bunch of test backup clients, and yeah.

        I’m hardly your typical user, though, it must be acknowledged.

      • Ryhadar
      • 7 years ago

      I think you could get what you want in a barebones shuttle PC.

      ‘Course, that kinda takes the fun out of putting a new rig together.

      Edit: Yup, here you go: [url<]http://us.shuttle.com/barebone/Models/SZ68R5.html[/url<] It looks more DTX than min-ITX but the difference is maybe another inch or two?

        • flip-mode
        • 7 years ago

        That’s cool.

        • oldDummy
        • 7 years ago

        Main Box:
        Utilizing a Shuttle J3 case with inclusive 500W 80+ PSU. Currently powering an Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe board dual raid0 Intel 330 180Gb and two 2TB HDD’s in raid1. An internal DVD is sitting on top with the eSATA connection… mostly not used might get rid of it.
        TRIM now supported with 7 series chipsets and new drivers.
        runs well.

      • colinstu12
      • 7 years ago

      4 so-dimm slots… 2x [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104317[/url<] 😉

    • pedro
    • 7 years ago

    These are almost perfect. I’m encouraged to see some companies actually putting in a bit of thought whilst they design these little boards.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    I like the muted coloursheme and lack of [i<]stupendously inefficient toys[/i<] that seem to pass for heatsinks on so many 'enthusiast' boards.

      • DPete27
      • 7 years ago

      Some heatsink is better than no heatsink. This board looks more attractive than [url=http://www.fudzilla.com/home/item/28480-msi-launches-z77ia-e53-mini-itx-motherboard<]MSI's soon-to-be-released mITX board[/url<] I also welcome the new color scheme, hopefully it sticks!

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        It’s the same color scheme they’ve been using on their high-end Z68 and Z77 boards.

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