First Look: NZXT's N7 Z370 Motherboard

While NZXT has been known for its super sleek computer cases, its RGB fans, and the ever-useful Puck, at CES 2018 they’ve unveiled their first foray into the motherboard market with the N7 Z370 motherboard. Sorry Mass Effect fans, no connection to Commander Shepard here.

We toss the word “minimalist” around here quite a bit when it comes to talking about hardware, but the N7 with it’s all metal cover takes the cake. We’ve seen other boards that have extensive covers around the chipset,  maybe over one or more M.2 slots, or very rarely some that have additional protection over most of the board. The N7, however, takes things up another level. With the cover installed, there’s almost no visible PCB, and the only visible components are the various slots and sockets.

The N7 itself will be available with with either a black or white cover, and there are colored heatsink sets available separately. That’s right, the heat sinks over the chipset and the VRM are modular, (look for the two parts with all the little holes) and can be swapped out for one of five color options: White, black, purple, blue, or red. These seem like a great way to add some highlights to a color-themed build.

Specs and tech

Besides looking pretty, the N7 Z370 is feature rich and technologically sound. As the name would imply, the board is based on the Intel Z370 chipset, which means it’s perfectly suited for pairing with an 8th gen CPU. It seems like NZXT has also built in controllers for it’s HUE+ and GRID+ compatible products. The potential there is exciting, but we’re looking forward to a chance to go hands on with the board to see exactly how robust this integration is.

As far as actually building on the board, the N7 Z370 has all the standard features you’d expect in a high-end modern gaming PC motherboard, such as SLI and Crossfire support, DDR4 3866+ compatibility, etc. USB, fan, and RGB controllers are plentiful, and are neatly lined up along the top and bottom edges of the board. There is also on-board power & rest buttons, which is always useful for diagnostics.

Connection options on the back panel appear to include:

• 5x USB 2.0 ports
• 4x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
• 1x DisplayPort 1.2
• 1x HDMI™ 1.4b
• 1x Clear CMOS button
• 1x LAN (RJ45) port
• 1x Optical S/PDIF Out port
• 1x 7.1-Channel Audio jacks

Internal expansion slots include:

• 2x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8) • 2x PCIe 3.0 x4
• 1x PCIe 3.0 x1
• 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, (PCIe 3.0 x4 & SATA mode)
• 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, (PCIe 3.0 x4 mode only)

If this is what NZXT’s first venture into motherboards looks like, I’m excited to see what else they can bring to the table. This is a company who has always been known for executing a distinctive style, and it’s nice to see them trying to branch out. Hopefully we’ll soon get to see if the N7 Z370 can perform as well as it looks.