Product Photos and Closer Look
After unpacking the C7Z370-CG-IW we can see about what we were expecting so well designed motherboard. Couple of things are different from the competitive motherboards what makes the C7Z370-CG-IW somehow special.
First look and we see black PCB and some silver components what gives nice and high-quality effect. There are two heatsinks which are silver and they’re enough to provide good cooling even though they aren’t big. Above the chipset heatsink we can still install one of the M.2 drives. It’s worth to mention that as not many ITX motherboards on the market, the C7Z370-CG-IW is able to support two M.2 PCIE SSD. Besides that there is still socket for WiFi card.
We can also install up to four SATA drives and set them in RAID ( Intel RST ) what is more than enough for most users. I doubt that anyone who wishes to use motherboard in mini ITX format will use large RAID array. However, there are PC cases ( also in SuperMicro offer ) which are supporting ITX motherboards and more bays for SSD/HDD so we can build quite small PC with large storage capacity.
The C7Z370-CG-IW has multiple connectors and headers which let to connect various devices. There are 10 USB ports in total what includes two USB 2.0 ( 2 headers ), six USB 3.0 ( 2 headers and 4 type A ) and two USB 3.1 ( 1 type A and 1 type C ). It’s really a lot but I know some users who have many USB devices so it’s never enough. USB performance is really good what you will find out on the page with performance tests.
On the back of the motherboard, besides USB ports, we will find Display Port and HDMI outputs for integrated graphics. We won’t test IGP as I doubt that anyone will buy gaming motherboard to use integrated graphics which can’t handle most new games. It’s still useful if we don’t want to play games, build HTPC or have some issues with discrete graphics card.
What left to describe from back panel is PS2 output which is still useful in some situations but is disappearing from new motherboards. There are two WiFi antenna connectors linked to 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth 4.2 combo card. Of course there are also 7.1 audio outputs which are hard to miss. Audio is controlled by Realtek ALC 1220 codec which is pretty good option and offers high audio quality. In this case a lot depends on other components on the motherboard and headset/speakers. It’s hard to show sound quality but I can assure you it’s at least as good if not better than what I could find on the competitive, high-end motherboards.
Power design doesn’t look like the strongest one but 4+2 power phases are more than enough to keep stable 5GHz on the i5 8600K or i7 8700K. Since our test setup is a bit limited then we had no chance to test much above 5GHz but looks like up to 5.2GHz shouldn’t be any issues. VRM temperature is safe under full load without additional airflow and there are no throttling issues. Simply fully stable platform.
From things I wish to see in other places is for sure CMOS reset jumper. If we think to spend more time on overclocking then we will see that sometimes we ask for too much and then we have to clear CMOS to make motherboard work again. CMOS reset jumper is next to other jumpers next to the PCIE x16 slot. It simply makes it impossible to use when any larger graphics card is installed. Now think you have already set water cooling or everything is installed in a small case. Even though in our build is riser then it’s not so easy to remove it so for tests I had to connect extension cable to the pins what was helping me to reset CMOS.
Except that little issue there was nothing worth to mention so I think it’s still pretty well designed motherboard.
Here are couple of photos of the test setup. For cooling we are using Corsair H80i v2 AIO what is one of the reasons why OC is limited. It’s still good enough to run CPU at 5GHz as I already mentioned. Graphics card is GTX1060 6GB from EVGA. For tests we’ve used couple of memory kits while on the photos is Patriot Viper 4 DDR4-3733. For all that 450W Corsair SF450 PSU is enough.
All is closed inside the Phanteks Shift case and looks simply great.
Before we will perform tests, let’s check the BIOS/UEFI as it’s a bit different than on other motherboard brands.