The GIGABYTE H370N-WiFi

One of the motherboards we were sampled early was the GIGABYTE H370N-WiFi. This is GIGABYTE's latest mini-ITX motherboard, and in this case using the H370 chipset - traditionally GIGABYTE's H-series mini-ITX boards implement additional features, such as HDMI 2.0, and in this case, Wi-Fi.

The initial viewing of the board is one implemented more in function than overall style. The four-phase power delivery has a heatsink, the CPU is powered by an 8-pin 12V header, and the full length PCIe slot is shielded. GIGABYTE has two full-length DDR4 slots on this model, using double sided latches, and there are four SATA ports on the right hand side of the board out of a possible six that the chipset supports.

For storage, we get an M.2 2280 slot that sits above the chipset heatsink on the front, and another on the rear:

The two key parts on this motherboard that are going to be a little interesting start with the HDMI 2.0 implementation.

Here GIGABYTE is using the MegaChips MCDP2800 chip as an LSPCon to enable HDMI 2.0 from the processor. This is fairly common for HDMI 2.0, although due to the added LSPCon cost, we still only see it on a few motherboards - mostly GIGABYTE boards.

The other thing to note will be the Wi-Fi implementation. As the H370 chipset will support a native wireless solution, it all comes down to which companion RF model GIGABYTE has chosen. A quick look in the device manager shows this:

Here Intel is using the AC-9560, which is Intel's 2x2 802.11ac Wave 2 (160 MHz) solution - the high cost one.

Another feature on the new motherboards will be the USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) support. Here we see GIGABYTE not bothering with the fastest USB 3.1 implementation - all the ports here are USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) standard - even the port being enabled via a Type-C redriver. This means that this board could be seen as just a refresh of the 200-series version, with only the chipset changed to support the new processors. The motherboard does not have additional front panel headers for 10 Gbps either, meaning that this board uses exactly zero of the four that the chipset supports.

Elsewere on the board we spot the dual NICs, powered by Intel I219-V and Intel I211-AT controllers.

 

The audio, despite being a 3-plug stack, is powered by the Realtek ALC1220 codec.

In our box with the board, aside from the usual CD/manual/IO shield, we also got two SATA cables and a pair of Wi-Fi antenna. Nothing overly complex.

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  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    No, no and no. The value of that machine will fall fast once Apple moves to (Add cpu here) in 2020. Reply
  • goatfajitas - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    LOL. Keep dreaming. Apple has a tiny marketshare and their media strong CPU's are not and will not be a match for Intel in real computing space. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    But there's already a lot of speculation based on a Bloomberg article of a shift starting in 2020 from Intel x86 CPUs to some sort of higher performance ARM processor in order to unify the OS experience across Apple products. Take a look on Google for Kalamata which is the project name. If what looks like leaks are true, there's a change blowing in the wind in Apple's Macintosh product line. Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    I doubt it will be a good change if you are a die hard Mac person. As things stand today, no ARM chip is going to match Intel for raw computing power. Power consumption, sure but no where close on raw speed. To me it seems almost like they are getting ready to write off their traditional fan base of graphics people. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    I really don't know what to make of this from a performance and compute perspective (or any other perspective for that matter) as I don't own or use a Mac. If its true that Apple is planning to use in-house ARM processors in only a couple of years, then they've probably already been in development for a while and they will need to compete with x86 hardware if they expect to land sales. At this point, I'm just curious about what will happen and how it might or might not shake up the industry. Reply
  • BillBear - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    Actually, we've already seen ARM chips surpass Intel in the server space where Intel is strongest.

    https://blog.cloudflare.com/arm-takes-wing/
    Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    "2020 from Intel x86 CPUs to some sort of higher performance ARM processor "

    well, they could stamp 12 or 24 or 48 ARM cores on a chip, and call it a CPU. but that would mean they've abandoned single thread performance. it only makes sense if they've some secret multi-threaded sauce, built into macOS (or whatever they end up calling it), that runtime converts from single to multi. that's some Catch 22.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    It sounds like the current intent is to consolidate under iOS across all of their computing devices. I do wonder how you'd reach a x86-comparable performance level with ARM cores. You're right they'd almost have to go crazy into multi-threaded stuff, but there are still some workloads that just don't benefit much. Like I said above though, I'm not really praising the move or particularly excited about it. It's just something that'd be interesting to watch happen. Reply
  • HStewart - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    A non Intel based Mac will never replace high end mac - that may try it say MacBook Air line - but it likely be very unsuccessful. Reply
  • SaturnusDK - Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - link

    You underestimate the baa! of the iSheep. They'll buy whatever crap Apple launches. Reply

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