• Exclusive: Hands on with Gigabyte’s upcoming mini-ITX motherboards


    63
    Published on 08-21-2012 12:19 PM by
    Today we've got a worldwide exclusive, the first hands on pictures of Gigabyte's upcoming mini-ITX motherboards based on the Intel H77 and Z77 chipsets. We've got some good news and we have some bad news, at least if you're looking at things from a CustoMac perspective, so fasten your seatbelts and let's jump right into it.

    The PCB of the Z77N-WIFI is identical to that of the H77N-WIFI – this is also why we didn't bother to post pictures of the H77N-WIFI – and the difference here is of course that the Z77N-WIFI offers overclocking as well as features such SSD caching if you're running Windows. Sadly SSD caching isn't compatible with OS X, as the OS doesn't recognise Intel's RAID driver.

    The board is fairly basic with a four phase VRM design which means that overclocking is doable, but don't expect to break 4.5GHz on this board if you want a stable system. As you can see from the pictures below, we're looking at a Realtek ALC892 audio codec and a pair of Realtek RTL8111F Ethernet controllers. You also get a pair of 4-pin PWM fan headers and oddly enough the board also has a pin-header for a serial port, just above the Intel Centrino Wireless N-2230 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo card. Although we already knew the Wi-Fi card won't work in OS X, everything is pre-wired to allow for a compatible card to be swapped in and you do also get a pair of antennas to go with the board.
    At the rear, things remain the same as with the H77N-WIFI and no matter how much we hoped that Gigabyte would put a DisplayPort connector on the Z77N-WIFI, it didn't happen. Due to Intel's limitations in terms of display outputs combined with the Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge CPU's, this board can only support 1920x1200/2048x1152 resolution at the most per port, which we know some of you weren't too happy about and that's quite understandable, but this applies to all 6 and 7-series motherboards without DisplayPort connectivity.


    The bad news is that you'll have to wait another two to three weeks to get your hands on one of these boards, depending on where in the world you're living, but the first lot is shipping by air from Taiwan shortly. The good news is that it would appear that the Z77N-WIFI will be the cheapest Z77 based mini-ITX board in the market at less than US$140 with the H77N-WIFI being some $20 cheaper. Does that make the Z77N-WIFI the ultimate mini-ITX hackintosh board? Well, you tell us, but at least the price point is pretty attractive compared to the competition for the Z77N-WIFI and the boards will have the same advantages when it comes to OS X installation as all of Gigabyte's other 7-series LGA-1155 motherboards.

    Related:
    Photo surfaces of Gigabyte's upcoming H77N-WIFI mini-ITX motherboard
    Gigabyte's H77 mini-ITX board unveiled, of sorts
    [Guide] Airport - Half Mini PCIe
    Comments 63 Comments
    1. Intergrated's Avatar
      Intergrated -
      You had me at Realtek. Looks like this is gonna be the heart of some sweet builds.
    1. cavendishqi's Avatar
      cavendishqi -
      What's the main differences between H77 and Z77 then?
    1. thelostswede's Avatar
      thelostswede -
      Quote Originally Posted by cavendishqi View Post
      What's the main differences between H77 and Z77 then?
      Overclocking or not
    1. miramar's Avatar
      miramar -
      I couldn't wait for Gigabyte's Z77N so I went for Zotac's Z77ITX 2 weeks ago. Looks like the Zotac is better: mSata + DisplayPort + compatible WiFi. Check out my build here.
    1. Mate94's Avatar
      Mate94 -
      Looking forward to the new CustoMac Mini 2012 with the H77N!

      Thank you guys!
    1. wanye's Avatar
      wanye -
      so cool. can't wait to get my hands on the z77N-wifi

      thanks for sharing!
    1. goldjungee's Avatar
      goldjungee -
      so the hackintosh cant be used with this board and ssd right?
    1. xtwombly's Avatar
      xtwombly -
      Quote Originally Posted by goldjungee View Post
      so the hackintosh cant be used with this board and ssd right?
      There should be no problem using this board to build a hack with an ssd. What it doesn't have is an mSata slot for a caching ssd, but since that isn't supported by OS X it isn't really relevant anyway.
    1. Fwiler's Avatar
      Fwiler -
      Looks good. But I wouldn't call it ultimate without display port and thunderbolt.
      I just don't see a significant advantage over the GA-H61N-USB3
    1. daniyarm's Avatar
      daniyarm -
      Quote Originally Posted by miramar View Post
      I couldn't wait for Gigabyte's Z77N so I went for Zotac's Z77ITX 2 weeks ago. Looks like the Zotac is better: mSata + DisplayPort + compatible WiFi. Check out my build here.
      Looking at your build, it looks like HDMI Audio is not working. That's a deal breaker for someone who is trying to build an OS X HTPC. If that is in fact a true statement, I don't see how it's 99.99% working.

      But this motherboard does in fact look awesome. I could care less if WiFi is working as my router is right next to my whole HT setup.
    1. mrengles's Avatar
      mrengles -
      Now if they could just loose the ridiculous PS/2 keyboard/mouse port. Does anyone use them anymore (even with windows or linux). =) I'm going to build a ML Server inside a BitFenix Prodigy case once this mainboard hits the market.
    1. goldjungee's Avatar
      goldjungee -
      Quote Originally Posted by xtwombly View Post
      There should be no problem using this board to build a hack with an ssd. What it doesn't have is an mSata slot for a caching ssd, but since that isn't supported by OS X it isn't really relevant anyway.
      thx for the information
    1. lovmacs05's Avatar
      lovmacs05 -
      Quote Originally Posted by miramar View Post
      I couldn't wait for Gigabyte's Z77N so I went for Zotac's Z77ITX 2 weeks ago. Looks like the Zotac is better: mSata + DisplayPort + compatible WiFi. Check out my build here.
      Does the Zotac Z77ITX and H77ITX boards use
      Realtek ALC892 and
      Realtek RTL8111E?
    1. pwalth21's Avatar
      pwalth21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by miramar View Post
      I couldn't wait for Gigabyte's Z77N so I went for Zotac's Z77ITX 2 weeks ago. Looks like the Zotac is better: mSata + DisplayPort + compatible WiFi. Check out my build here.
      I'll give up those features to save $35 to $55. Easy enough to replace the wifi card and like it was mentioned above mSata doesn't work in OS X. So that just leaves the DP, which I do agree should have been on these gigabyte boards. Only a minor set back though.
    1. ajlowndes's Avatar
      ajlowndes -
      The watermark on those photos is pretty cool, very subtle - in the first one I thought it was part of the board! Now that would be a bit obvious if Gigabyte did that
      Speaking of which... how is it exactly that a site dedicated to making hackintoshes gets an exclusive story on an in-demand upcoming product like this...?
    1. BBlax's Avatar
      BBlax -
      Will there 100% be a guide for this board?
    1. herflet's Avatar
      herflet -
      Quote Originally Posted by lovmacs05 View Post
      Does the Zotac Z77ITX and H77ITX boards use
      Realtek ALC892 and
      Realtek RTL8111E?
      I am working on a build with the Zotac H77ITX. It does have ALC892, and Realtek LAN (I think it is RTL8111E, but whatever it is, the LAN worked with the Lnx2Mac Realtek driver from Multibeast).
    1. RedZoneOS's Avatar
      RedZoneOS -
      hm seems like h77 will be a winner at 99 dollars (presumable price on newegg after a couple of weeks). no reason to spend more on a z77 board that does nothing more then overclock, especially when I'm guessing most people will be running a 3225 (or similar) cpu that doesn't OC anyway...
    1. thelostswede's Avatar
      thelostswede -
      Quote Originally Posted by mrengles View Post
      Now if they could just loose the ridiculous PS/2 keyboard/mouse port. Does anyone use them anymore (even with windows or linux). =) I'm going to build a ML Server inside a BitFenix Prodigy case once this mainboard hits the market.
      A lot of Windows gamers do with keyboards for N-key rollover...
    1. thelostswede's Avatar
      thelostswede -
      Quote Originally Posted by pwalth21 View Post
      I'll give up those features to save $35 to $55. Easy enough to replace the wifi card and like it was mentioned above mSata doesn't work in OS X. So that just leaves the DP, which I do agree should have been on these gigabyte boards. Only a minor set back though.
      mSATA works, but as no motherboard maker has made it work of the SATA 6Gbps interface, it's a bit pointless for a hack.