IT‘S BEEN A LONG time since Zotac last had a new AMD mini-ITX board in its line-up, but today the company launched two new models, both using AMD chipsets which is a first for Zotac. The 880G-ITX and the M880G-ITX are quite similar if you just compare features, but the two couldn’t actually be more different.
The 880G-ITX is as the name implies based on AMD’s desktop 880G chipset and interestingly the SB850 southbridge, which is currently AMD’s high-end southbridge and not usually found paired up with the 880G chipset. As this board features an AM3 socket, things get a little bit cramped due to the space taken up by AMD’s mounting bracket for the CPU cooler. Zotac has still managed to pack in a fairly impressive set of features for what really is a very tiny board.
For starters there are two full-size DIMM slots that accept DDR3 memory, four SATA 6Gbps ports – although oddly enough, the battery is located between some of them which is a rather unusual design – a mini PCI Express slot populated by an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi card and a single x1 PCI Express slot. Around the back you’ll find a PS/2 port for a keyboard, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a DVI and HDM port, three audio jacks and an optical S/PDIF out as well as the wireless antennas. There are also two pin-headers on the board for an additional four USB 2.0 ports.
The M880G-ITX is a completely different kettle of fish, as it features AMD’s mobile M880G chipset paired up with the SB820M southbridge and last but not least, a dual core AMD Turion II Neo K625 processor. This might only be a 1.5GHz processor with 1MB of L2 cache, but it’s a big step up over an Atom processor and even the CULV SU2300 board from Zotac. It comes with a custom cooler and what appears to be a 60mm cooling fan, not an ideal solution for low noise, but at least it’s not a terribly small fan.
Features wise this board also has two full-size DDR3 DIMM slots, although the CPU is limited to supporting 800MHz memory. Due to the cooler taking up less space than AMD’s desktop coolers, Zotac has managed to squeeze in six SATA 6Gbps ports on this board. The rest of the connectivity options appear to remain identical to the 880G-ITX.
The move to use AMD chipsets isn’t really that hard to follow, despite Zotac having been loyal to Nvidia for such a long time. As Nvidia doesn’t seem to be overly interested in making chipsets for AMD anymore, well, Zotac didn’t really have anywhere else to turn for a solution. The M880G-ITX is an interesting concoction and if it’s priced right, it could very well do some serious damage to the world of mini-ITX Atom boards. We have a feeling it’ll end up being fairly expensive though, but so far Zotac hasn’t announced any official pricing or availability. We’re also missing a full x16 PCI Express slot on the 880G-ITX, but we’ll cut Zotac some slack, since this is its first set of AMD boards in quite a while.S|A
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