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Zotac GeForce 9300 (MCP7a) motherboard

Zotac GeForce 9300 motherboard

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...

Feature List

  • 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.
  • One Realtek 8111C PCI-Express Gigabit Ethernet IC
  • Realtek ALC888 7.1 channel High-Definition audio codec
  • 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
Zotac GeForce 9300 (MCP7a) motherboard Zotac GeForce 9300 Motherboard Zotac GeForce 9300 (MCP7a) motherboard Zotac GeForce 9300 Motherboard
Click to enlarge

Box Contents

Zotac GeForce 9300 (MCP7a) motherboard Zotac GeForce 9300 Motherboard
  • 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.