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Zotac A75-ITX WiFi Review

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Snips 3rd November 2011, 10:23 Quote
I really like these mini boards and would like to build a rig with one but I don't have the need personally.
bigkingfun 3rd November 2011, 22:52 Quote
Quote:
we rubbed our hands with glee at the idea of building a tiny media PC

So did I, and that is why I would like it if you include power consumption.
Otherwise thumbs up for a nice review. Always nice to see the ITX get some love
Sloth 3rd November 2011, 22:57 Quote
Loving my Zotac mITX board. They really find their own place in the market with the onboard wireless, it's awesome for HTPCs. Lets me store all of my media on the main PC in the basement then access it two floors up without stringing an ethernet cable all of the way and without taking up precious PCIe slots on a discrete wireless card. Can only assume that this board is of similar quality, only newer and with a different socket!
schmidtbag 4th November 2011, 00:52 Quote
seriously this is one of the reasons why i don't like reading product reviews from BT - they don't rationalize products at all. its a friggin mini-itx board and they're expecting it to overclock? i wouldn't care so much if they didn't treat that as a significant con. even if it had the ability to overclock, it would be stupid to do so in a realistic situation. if the board was put into a mini-itx tower, there wouldn't be enough airflow to cool off an overclocked cpu. zotac doesn't feel like getting returns because of something that shouldn't ever be done on such a board. you need HTPCs to run cool and quiet - they don't require much speed at all. the only reason why i would like an unlocked fsb or multiplier is so i can UNDERCLOCK it.

the other part that bothers me is how they complain about the price. it has friggin 8 total usb 3.0 ports, 2 gigabit ethernet, built-in wifi, and 4 sata 3 ports. the fact that this board has all of that in such a tiny space is some seriously good PCB designing. you're paying for the fact that you're getting a fully featured product in a tiny space. comparing this board and it's price to an atx is like comparing a mini cooper to a suv. they might cost about the same and they are both vehicles but they're not comparable.

this board is very misunderstood and deserves a higher rating. i don't ever plan on owning this board, or even an APU, but BT really needs to stop focusing on strictly power users.
adidan 4th November 2011, 08:17 Quote
schmidtbag makes a good point, let's face it most mini-itx boards will be used for HTPCs or for other reasons that are more likely to have an underclock than overclock.

However, to be fair to the article the impression is more that the main problem faced by the board is its price rather than its overclocking (or lack of) ability.

That said, I can see why it is the price it is, they've built a tardis of a board really.
Claave 4th November 2011, 12:18 Quote
We test for overclocking ability to gauge the quality of components (if a board overclocks reasonbly, it's likely more reliable in hot conditions running at stock or underclocked). it also shows us how flexible the BIOS/EFI of the board is - limited overclocking ability also means limited underclocking ability.

Also, if you're building a HTPC, why do you need 8 USB3 ports, 2 Ethernet ports and WiFi? If you want to use WiFi, you only need one Ethernet port; if you're using Ethernet (maybe with 500Mbps HomePlug) you don't need WiFi. And you only need a few USB ports at most - probably only one at the front and couple round the back.

Hence the criticism of the price.
adidan 4th November 2011, 12:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claave
We test for overclocking ability to gauge the quality of components (if a board overclocks reasonbly, it's likely more reliable in hot conditions running at stock or underclocked). it also shows us how flexible the BIOS/EFI of the board is - limited overclocking ability also means limited underclocking ability.

Also, if you're building a HTPC, why do you need 8 USB3 ports, 2 Ethernet ports and WiFi? If you want to use WiFi, you only need one Ethernet port; if you're using Ethernet (maybe with 500Mbps HomePlug) you don't need WiFi. And you only need a few USB ports at most - probably only one at the front and couple round the back.

Hence the criticism of the price.
I'm finding it difficult to disagree with anyone today. :D
Sloth 4th November 2011, 18:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claave

Also, if you're building a HTPC, why do you need 8 USB3 ports, 2 Ethernet ports and WiFi? If you want to use WiFi, you only need one Ethernet port; if you're using Ethernet (maybe with 500Mbps HomePlug) you don't need WiFi. And you only need a few USB ports at most - probably only one at the front and couple round the back.

Hence the criticism of the price.
Didn't really consider the oddity of having that many ports, doesn't really make sense when you point it out and would probably be a better board if they cut one ethernet port and a handful of USB3.

However, expanding on my previous post, the Zotac board really deserves a better score when compared to more similar peers. The WiFi sets this little guy apart more than anything else, imo, and really puts it in a class separate from other mITX boards. My reasoning: If you're looking at this board you must need a wireless connection of sorts, making a system that relies on WiFi you need to have some sort of WiFi adapter! All the cheaper boards it's been compared to are not fit for this purpose without also factoring in the additional cost of a separate wireless adapter.
Andy Mc 4th November 2011, 21:19 Quote
I look at this and imediately think of either a NAS or, more importantly, a nice base for a pfsense/m0n0wall/smoothwall box. It would have all the ports you would need onboard. And I'm in the market for a cheap pfsense system...pity this is out of my price range at the moment.
Combatus 4th November 2011, 23:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claave

Also, if you're building a HTPC, why do you need 8 USB3 ports, 2 Ethernet ports and WiFi? If you want to use WiFi, you only need one Ethernet port; if you're using Ethernet (maybe with 500Mbps HomePlug) you don't need WiFi. And you only need a few USB ports at most - probably only one at the front and couple round the back.

Hence the criticism of the price.
Didn't really consider the oddity of having that many ports, doesn't really make sense when you point it out and would probably be a better board if they cut one ethernet port and a handful of USB3.

However, expanding on my previous post, the Zotac board really deserves a better score when compared to more similar peers. The WiFi sets this little guy apart more than anything else, imo, and really puts it in a class separate from other mITX boards. My reasoning: If you're looking at this board you must need a wireless connection of sorts, making a system that relies on WiFi you need to have some sort of WiFi adapter! All the cheaper boards it's been compared to are not fit for this purpose without also factoring in the additional cost of a separate wireless adapter.

You can add WiFi to any board with a USB port for less than £5. With that in mind, the MSI A75MA-G55 - admittedly micro-ATX not mini-ITX, costs around £40 less and should still allow you build a tiny PC. That's a heck of a price hike in relative terms for shaving a few square centimetres, when adding WiFi to the MSI would land you with a board with arguably better features (more than one PCI-E slot for starters), for a lot less. We're not saying it's a bad board. Indeed if you need an FM1 board and it has to be ITX, then it's one of your better options but the value score is low not just because of the lack of overclocking support, but the fact you pay a heavy premium for the smaller size and WiFi, the latter of which can be added to the MSI board for peanuts.
Sloth 4th November 2011, 23:38 Quote
I don't mean to nag too much on it, afterall a review's score is just a number and people can always look at the graphs, read the reports and make their opinion, but I question if a little USB dongle picked up for a fiver will provide equivalent performance. That said, even the more expensive adapters don't span the large price gab between the two boards. The Zotac will always be the most expensive option, just not by as much.
jrs77 4th November 2011, 23:58 Quote
Could you test, if the PCIe x16 slot works with other cards then a GPU, a TV-card for example?

Most manufacturers still make the mistake of making the PCIe x16 slots PEG only unfortunately.
fluxtatic 5th November 2011, 07:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claave
We test for overclocking ability to gauge the quality of components (if a board overclocks reasonbly, it's likely more reliable in hot conditions running at stock or underclocked). it also shows us how flexible the BIOS/EFI of the board is - limited overclocking ability also means limited underclocking ability.

Also, if you're building a HTPC, why do you need 8 USB3 ports, 2 Ethernet ports and WiFi? If you want to use WiFi, you only need one Ethernet port; if you're using Ethernet (maybe with 500Mbps HomePlug) you don't need WiFi. And you only need a few USB ports at most - probably only one at the front and couple round the back.

Hence the criticism of the price.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Mc
I look at this and imediately think of either a NAS or, more importantly, a nice base for a pfsense/m0n0wall/smoothwall box. It would have all the ports you would need onboard. And I'm in the market for a cheap pfsense system...pity this is out of my price range at the moment.

Exactly what I thought, Andy. Gang the ethernet ports (if you can) and you've got a hell of an I/O pipe. Put it on a separate network on the wifi for all those tor - I mean, legitimate software downloads, and you've got a nice setup sitting in a corner serving (and retrieving) content. Is this the best use for Llano? Probably not - probably better suited to an Athlon II or so, as it wouldn't need to be that powerful, and the graphics would be going to waste. However, I'm not letting that stop me from building a server on Zacate :P

A little out of my range for a comissioned build I'm quoting, but I could put it to use myself, if I was in the market. And you're knocking 8 ports? I used to think it was silly, but I'm already using 6 on my desktop, and I still have an ancient PS2 keyboard. (well, not that ancient - it has a Windows key. I have a few around the house that don't.)
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