Manufacturer:Zotac UK Price (as reviewed): ~£80 (inc. VAT) - estimated US Price (as reviewed): ~$120 (ex. Tax) - estimated
It's not often, actually, not ever we review a Zotac board, however this time around it has come out ahead of its rivals and is first out the gate with a working product based on Nvidia's MCP7a chipset. While the MCP7a release was put back a few weeks, we've still yet to see parts from Asus and MSI that were promised to us more than a few weeks ago. Not that we're complaining about this new little micro ATX board though, it's always good to look at a board from someone new, as it broadens our horizons and keep the usual suspects on their toes.
As Zotac is an exclusive partner to Nvidia, it's not surprising to see it use an Nvidia chipset in its product, but unlike some of Nvidia's other partners who use Nvidia-designed motherboards, Zotac appears to have designed this board on its own. After all, the Zotac GeForce 9300 board's colour and design doesn't look like a typical Nvidia build so can Zotac successfully turn its hand to making motherboards from the ground up? We dived in to find out...
Support for Intel LGA755 CPUs including 65m, and 45m Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Pentium dual-core, Celeron dual-core and Celeron with 800-1,333MHz front side bus.
Nvidia GeForce 9300 IGP (MCP7a)
Four DDR2 DIMM slots with support for up to 8GB of DDR2 667MHz and 800MHz in dual-channel mode.
VIA VT6307 IEEE1394a Firewire IC with two ports via pin-outs
Twelve USB 2.0 ports with four ports on rear I/O and eight via pin-outs
Dual-link DVI and HDMI 1.3 out with HDCP, as well as VGA.
Six SATA 3Gbps ports
One JMicron JMB368 providing one IDE socket
Onboard power and reset buttons, and diagnostic POST LEDs
Click to enlarge
Two orange SATA cables
One orange IDE cable
One floppy cable
Metal rear I/O shield
One PCI bracket with a single six-pin Firewire connector
Driver disc and manual
Inside the box there isn't a huge array of goodies, just a couple of SATA cables for the six ports is a bit short and why Zotac included a floppy cable instead we don't really know.
We're short a few extra USB brackets to make use of the eight onboard pin-outs, but at least there's something for the Firewire included. The driver disc doesn't have an auto-install program like many of the Tier-1 brands include, however the disc package does make it clear what drivers need installing and it's only a few clicks to do it yourself.
The manual is detailed enough and is nicely kitted with large, accurate pictures to make it easy to get on with. Overall the package is pretty decent, even if obviously trying to shave a few pounds where it can.