Design of a product is a key part in being able to sell it with positive results.  This is why the Apple vs. Samsung case is so big – design wins like to propagate to competitors and the original designers want to hold onto their design as much as possible.  We are not going to see anything like Apple vs. Samsung in the motherboard industry, but it would be interesting if that were the case.

But the point remains – as users, we want plenty of design wins to come from all sides.  So what happens if a company launches a product with great gusto, but it acts more like a design flop?  Is there oversight in the design from the manufacturer, or have other departments apart from design chipped in with their opinion.  Ideally some of the features should be designed by market research, rather than by micro-management.  Then again, it is also dependent on how the market research is carried out – choosing several PC enthusiasts and asking their opinion is not proper and methodical market research.

By the nature of being a technology reviewer, I am also a critic.  I never mean my criticism to be rude, and always aim to provide reasoning and future suggestions about what I would like to happen.  Thus after re-reading through this review, I am slightly taken aback by my level of criticism geared towards motherboard design.  There are some odd design choices from the H77N-WiFi, such as the CPU/chipset orientation, the 4-pin CPU power connector, combining dual LAN with a WiFi module, no voltage options.  But there are design wins – dual HDMI and DVI-I being the big one.  There is also scope to change design – moving certain features to the rear may be a possibility as seen on other motherboards.

When I test a motherboard, I have an open test bed to allow cables to go where they please.  This is normally oriented for ATX designs, where connectors are often in regular places.  I had to move this around somewhat for the Gigabyte H77N-WiFi, dealing with SATA cabling at the top and restrictive CPU cooler options.  If these are overlooked on the understanding that when it is in a case there is no cause for concern, then the Gigabyte H77N-WiFi offers a price competitive product.

For $120 we have a mITX board that gives an Intel WiFi Module with WiDi support, dual HDMI outputs combined with a DVI-I, and dual Realtek network ports.  Performance wise I would easily suggest this motherboard paired with an i3-3225 to beat the A10-5800K in any single threaded workload you can throw at it.  Multi-threaded workloads are more or less benchmark dependant.

I must apologize as I still have a backlog of Z77 mITX boards that I promised I would get through.  Please stay tuned for those, as I also have Z77 OC boards and some FM2 coverage coming up.  Stay tuned!

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  • 457R4LDR34DKN07 - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    Zotac Z77 A-E is vastly superior. It is the only mITX Z77 that has a mSATA. You could even remove the wifi/bt module and put in a mpci-e tv tuner and use the antenna. Reply
  • K-thiraband-com - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    The ASRock Z77E-ITX also has mSATA.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • RicardoNeuer - Thursday, November 08, 2012 - link

    just as Eddie implied I'm startled that some one can earn $9332 in a few weeks on the internet. have you seen this(Click on menu Home more information)
    http://goo.gl/lbKGT
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    I have the ASrock z77 E-ITX which is a lovely mini itx board and has a MSata on the back. Admittedly only SATA2 (like all MSata sockets at moment).

    Go for the samsung green low profile memory (fantastic overclocking potential) and there is no need to worry about CPU coolers interfering with memory heat spreaders.

    What I would really like is for MB makers to put the ATX socket at right angles to the board, it would make cable management much easier, and that is always a problem in Mini ITX cases.

    The Gigabyte board is a lot cheaper than my ASrock board, but I would not change it.
    Reply
  • philipma1957 - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    there are 3 itx mobos and I own 2 of them I have the truly great ASrockz77 E-ITX with a msata under the board I have a crucial 256gb in it.

    I also own an intel BoxDH77DF

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Which allows this:

    1 x PCI Express Full-/Half-Mini Card slot with support for mSATA .

    my build has a crucial msata in it also the 256gb size.

    frankly I won't buy anyboard that does not have a msata option/

    looking at this board you may be able to run a msata instead of the wifi.

    frankly if you go itx msata is a godsend for space and wire management
    Reply
  • PEJUman - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    I have the asus H77 ITX, with 3770 + 2 x 2.5" SSDs + 2 x 3.5" Velociraptors with icepack. all inside a antec ISK 65, which is powered with 150W dell power brick to get around the 65 limit.
    I did have to modify the ISK removable frame brace to mount the 2 x 3.5" velociraptors, but there is enough airflow with 2 x 80mm + some clever ducting using a thin piece of flexible plastic to keep everything cool under load (prime + crystal diskmark): 85 C CPU & 45 C on raptors.

    it's it very tight, but that is half of the fun on building PCs;
    where is the challange on building mini HTPC with mSATA hehehe =P.

    The reason I picked the asus board is for the 6 SATAs, when it becomes obsolete, it would serve a a power efficient, cost efective file server.
    Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    I think most people would prefer an Asus, Gigabyte, Asrock, etc over a Zotac. The only reason to ever buy Zotac products in the past was for the nVidia ION options they provided when nobody else did. These days, Zotac is less innovative and quality/support have always been lacking, so why would you even consider them when there are higher quality, similarly priced competing products? Reply
  • rafa333 - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    you are sow dirty ass Reply
  • abrogan - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    The Zotac board uses thin steel "threads" to mount the wifi antennas. This is a very poor design. After receiving one already broken in the box, and after examining the proper way to do it (the gigabyte uses a folded plate), I won't purchase a Zotac again. Reply
  • GoodBytes - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    On the POST performance table, I don't understand whats the difference between stripped and default. Can someone please explain it to me? I can't seam to find any info on this on the review. Thanks. Reply

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