Zotac shows off raft of new mini-ITX boards

Working on some new barebones as well

ZOTAC QUICKLY GAINED a reputation for making unusual mini-ITX solutions and what was on show at this year’s Computex didn’t change that fact. What was shown behind closed doors is set to push things even further, at least as far as barebones are concerned.

Let’s start with what was on display at the Zotac booth. The most interesting board of the lot was the IONITX board which houses an Intel Celeron SU2300 processor, more commonly found in CULV notebooks. This means that this specific board is a very low power solution and Zotac has paired up the CPU with Nvidia’s ION chipset to boost the graphics performance. This is the older ION chipset and not the ION 2 discrete graphics solution.

The board has a pair of DDR3 memory slots and supports DDR3 1066MHz memory. It also has a PCI Express x16 slot for those that feel that the graphics provided by the ION chipset isn’t quite up to scratch. There’s also a mini PCI Express slot on board which is populated by a Wi-Fi card. You’re also looking at three SATA ports and two USB 2.0 pin headers.

Around the back Zotac has as always managed to squeeze in a wealth of connectivity options including six USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 port, HDMI, DVI and D-sub connectors, an eSATA port, Gigabit Ethernet, three audio jacks and optical as well as coaxial S/PDIF out. This should be a very interesting board for HTPC builders, especially as the CPU and chipset are passively cooled. This board is set to replace Zotac’s model with the Atom 330 processor.

Zotac was also showing off a different version of its H55 board. The new model only comes with a PCI Express x1 slot, rather than a PCI Express x16 as the previous version. The components have also been moved around and the CPU socket is now higher up on the board. This model also only has five SATA ports; although it’s unlikely you’ll run out as long as you put the board in a mini-ITX case. This model also has Wi-Fi, although this time around via a half size mini PCI Express card.

The rear I/O consists of six USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 port, an HDMI and DVI port, an eSATA port, a Gigabit Ethernet port and three audio jacks. What’s missing is an S/PDIF connector, but there appears to be a header on the board for this. The board also appears to have three headers for an additional six USB 2.0 ports.

What wasn’t on display and which we sadly weren’t allowed to take pictures of was Zotac’s H57 board and its 880G AMD board. Suffice to say, both models were crammed full of features and both had support for Wi-Fi. The H57 board also comes with Intel RAID support. If memory serves, both boards also featured a PCI Express x16 slot. We’ll bring you more details on these boards as soon as Zotac gets around to announcing them.

Finally Zotac was showing of its next-gen Zbox behind closed doors. This time around the barebones system has been given a serious makeover. The new model looked more like a slim-line AV unit than a PC, with a front loaded optical drive. This is the first Zbox to feature a built-in optical drive. It will use the latest generation of Atom processors as well as ION 2 graphics and it’s likely we’ll see an AMD version of it in the future as well.S|A

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