Biostar is off to the Mini-ITX races with its Z170GTN mobo

Mini-ITX PCs seem to be growing in popularity of late, but there aren't many of those tiny motherboards to choose from with Z170 chipsets. Biostar is throwing another option into the ring with its Z170GTN. This board, part of the company's premium "Racing" series, offers just about everything a Mini-ITX builder might want. It's got an M.2 2280 slot on its back side with four PCIe 3.0 lanes hooked up, an M.2 2230 connector for Wi-Fi cards, and the now-requisite RGB LED lighting on its chipset and VRM heatsinks.

The Z170GTN's rear I/O cluster offers four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and DVI outs, two USB 2.0 ports, and a PS/2 port for old-school gamers. Intel's I219V controller powers the board's built-in Gigabit Ethernet port. Some might miss the USB 3.1 Gen2 ports and USB Type-C connector that are absent from this board, though. A Realtek ALC892 codec powers 7.1 analog outputs and an S/PDIF optical output. Four SATA ports and a U.2 port round out the expansion options. If the RGB LEDs on board aren't enough, the Z170GTN has a header for controlling 5050 LED strips, as well. Biostar didn't offer pricing or availabilty info.

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    • albundy
    • 3 years ago

    wow, racing stripes! and usb 2.0? and ps/2 port???!!! this day couldnt get any better!

    • tay
    • 3 years ago

    What’s the logic behind nixing USB 3.1?

      • juzz86
      • 3 years ago

      Hopefully, the same logic behind ALC892 – cost.

      A more affordable Z170 mITX board isn’t a bad idea. The port cluster is at least semi-agreeable on this one, and the 2280 M.2 even beats the Maximus VIII Impact.

      If you turned the LEDs off, it wouldn’t be a bad looker, which is probably the first time I’ve ever said that about a Biostar board, to be honest! 🙂

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 3 years ago

        Compare this offering from Biostar to the feature-packed Gigabyte [url=http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product-page.aspx?pid=5901#ov<]GA-170N-Gaming 5[/url<].

          • EndlessWaves
          • 3 years ago

          Both have just appalling video outputs though. HDMI 1.4 and DVI is not fit for a high end Mini-ITX board whose processor’s integrated graphics support triple 3840×2160 displays.

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 3 years ago

            If you’re running a Z170 motherboard and a -K processor, you probably have a discrete graphics card, too.

            • EndlessWaves
            • 3 years ago

            Thus speaks the voice of inexperience. Go and find me an H170 Mini-ITX board with a pair of USB 3.1 Gen2 ports. Sound easy?

            They don’t exist.

            Any remotely high end feature gets reserved for the Z170 boards regardless of whether it has anything to do overclocking (or gaming).

            That cuts both ways. If they want their Z170 boards to be flagship options for all markets, then comments coming back are valid as well.

          • geniekid
          • 3 years ago

          Pricing will be key for sure.

          Also, interestingly, the Gigabyte board uses a Killer E2400 for the network controller, which was reviewed by TR not so long ago [url=https://techreport.com/review/29144/revisiting-the-killer-nic-eight-years-on<]here[/url<].

          • juzz86
          • 3 years ago

          Of course. However, the Gaming 5 is a premium-level offering and, on this side of the pond at least, is priced accordingly (AU$249) up there with the MSI Z170I Gaming Pro (AU$259).

          The better comparison here is the AU$209 ASRock Z170M-ITX/ac. Two more USB 3 on the cluster, an additional Gigabit jack and better WiFi – albeit no M.2.

          All Biostar need to do is hit the AU$199 or lower price bracket and they’ve got the cheap entry point into Z170 ITX. It stands to reason that if ASUS/Gigabyte/MSI/ASRock can M.2, ALC1150 and Wireless AC all day long at $200-$250, Biostar can slip this in around the $175-190 range.

          As an added bonus, it’s also understated in the looks department – I think that’s the most surprising feature of this board.

    • jackbomb
    • 3 years ago

    Just don’t run memtest on it!

      • colinstu12
      • 3 years ago

      why?

    • Qrash
    • 3 years ago

    I get that the U.2 connector takes up less motherboard real estate than an M.2 drive, but in a small mini-ITX build U.2 means two extra cables (data and power) compared to M.2. Plus, how many U.2 drives are there yet? Sounds like SATA Express all over again to me.

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