Zotac is arguably the only designer/manufacturer (well, the latter part is technically fulfilled by PC Partner) of motherboards that puts its time exclusively into small form-factor (SFF) products. We first saw itsmicro-ATX GeForce 9300 board, which was then followed by a mini-ITX model, and later a feature-filled Ion board that had everything but was unfortunately just too expensive.
This time round, we think Zotac has hit the nail on the head. The H55ITX-A-E isn't too expensive, and it's got more features than you'd expect to find on boards twice the size and twice the price. That's not to say it's completely without fault or limitations though, but if you thought the DFI MI P55-T36 was good but you want a Clarkdale Core i3-i5 CPU, then the Zotac H55ITX-A-E is even better.
Zotac H55-ITX WiFi Feature List
Support for Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 LGA1156 processors
Intel H55 PCH
Support for dual channel DDR3 1,066/1,333 up to 8GB
14 USB 2 ports: ten via rear I/O, four via headers
Six SATA 3Gbps
Intel PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet
Realtek ALC888 7.1 Channel High-Definition audio
One x16 PCI-Express port
Click to enlarge
As usual, Zotac has meticulously crammed in more hardware than we thought was possible on an mini-ITX PCB. We've yet to see another mini-ITX board with six SATA ports, a full 16x PCI-E slot and wireless-n card built in. It really is the all-in-one PC. The immediate downside is that the H55 chipset doesn't support RAID on all those SATA ports, unlike P55. However it does mean the rear I/O sports the integrated graphics options the DFI did not, meaning that this board can power a potentially an incredibly tiny HTPC. We only wish Zotac could put it in a cute barebones box as well - it already makes a 'Next Generation Ion' (aka Ion-2) all-in-one box.
Yes, that's ten USB 2 ports (with four more via pin-outs), on top of the DVI-I (that will convert to D-Sub via an adapter), HDMI 1.3a output, Gigabit Ethernet, PS2 keyboard, eSATA (not powered, unfortunately) and digital optical and 3.5mm analogue out for 7.1 channel surround sound. And that's all in addition to the two wireless antenna. Phew!