While ATX remains the dominant form-factor for PC motherboards, with micro-ATX a close second, much smaller - think 17cm square - mini-ITX boards are enjoying a recent surge in popularity. This is partly because there are more and more capable mini-ITX motherboards thanks to the increased integration of features into modern CPUs.
For home build enthusiasts, the advantage of these new mini-ITX boards is that it's becoming much easier to build very, very small home PCs that still perform well. We've seen mini-ITX boards from DFI, Zotac so far, and now here's ECS.
As you might expect from a budget orientated brand such as ECS, it's hoping that its new H55 based mini-ITX challenger will be significantly cheaper than the competition. This is because ECS has opted for a few basic options: green PCB, and no WiFi for starters. The power hardware has been cut back to basics too, and the maximium supported CPU TDP is just 75W. With that in mind, ECS has officially opted to make the board exclusively support Clarkdale CPUs, however we tested the board with an "87W" Core i5-661 and "95W" Core i5-750 and both worked just fine, so there's clearly a bit of wiggle room.
Support for Intel Core i3, i5 LGA1156 processors up to 75W TDP
Intel H55 PCH
Support for dual channel DDR3 1,066/1,333MHz up to 8GB
One 16x PCI-Express slot
Onboard d-sub, DVI and HDMI video outputs (with compatible CPUs)
10 USB 2 ports: six via rear I/O, four via headers
Four SATA 3Gbps, one eSATA 3Gbps
Realtek RTL8111DL PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet
Realtek ALC892 7.1 Channel High-Definition audio with S/PDIF out