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Zotac Mini-ITX Ion boards appear

Zotac Mini-ITX Ion boards appear

Expreview has published photos of two new Mini-ITX Ion boards from Zotac, which come in both single-core and dual-core flavours.

Acer has already shown the potential for Nvidia’s miniscule Ion platform in its AspireRevo PC, but here’s something for the hobbyists who would prefer to build an Ion PC for themselves. Expreview (the link not currently available) reports that Zotac has two Ion-based Mini-ITX motherboards in the works, and also has some photos of the boards.

According to the site, two flavours will be available. The first (the IONITX-B-E) will feature a single-core 1.6GHz Atom N230 CPU and a passively-cooled heatsink that covers the CPU and chipset. Meanwhile, the second (the IONITX-A-U) will feature a dual-core 1.6GHz Atom N330 and a small fan on top of the heatsink. Otherwise, the specs lists are pretty much the same, with both boards coming equipped with two DDR2 DIMM slots, which can take PC2-6400 (800MHz) memory.

As well as this, a Mini PCI-E slot is provided for basic expansion, along with three SATA 2 hard drive connectors and six USB 2 ports. There are also a great deal of features already included as standard, including both wired and wireless networking and DVI, VGA and HDMI video outputs. A look at the back of the boards also reveals both coaxial and optical digital audio outputs, along with the usual analogue audio connectors. Plus, there’s a single eSATA port and a PS/2 keyboard connector too.

Of course, being based on Nvidia’s Ion platform, both boards will also feature a GeForce 9400-based GPU inside the chipset, featuring 16 stream processors. Of course, this won’t give you enough power to build a super-fast gaming machine, but we’ve found in our tests that the Ion has enough power to run some PC games at half-decent settings.

The site claims that the boards will be launched in Japan first, priced at 19,980 Japan Yen (£138.75) for the IONITX-B-E, and 29,980 Japan Yen (£208.19) for the IONITX-A-U. However, Zotac’s previous Mini-ITX boards, such as the GeForce 9300-ITX WiFi, have made it over to UK retailers, so hopefully the boards will be available over here too.

Would you be interested in building your own Ion PC with a Mini-ITX motherboard, and if so, what would you do with it? Let us know your thoughts in the forums?

22 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
pimlicosound 20th April 2009, 17:54 Quote
Is the dual-core Atom fast enough to play Flash videos properly? Lack of GPU offload on my single-core Atom netbook really kills Flash video. I'd hate to have a desktop that couldn't handle such a basic task.

I'm not too impressed by the tiny, tiny, surely whiny fan, though. They could have easily put something better on there.
tank_rider 20th April 2009, 18:03 Quote
whack a very slow spinning 80mm fan on that heatsink instead of the 60mm and it'll be lovely and pretty much silent :)

on 2nd looking you could probably squeeze a 92mm fan on there, even better!
s3v3n 20th April 2009, 19:26 Quote
Does anyone know if the 9000 chipsets (which is what ion is right?) have the same problems of the ones reported on half year ago? I would think being passively cooled, these chips go through a wide range of temperature, even if they are low power.
Sir Digby 20th April 2009, 20:22 Quote
They look nice, but £138 for one?

Considering that I could get a full powered motherboard and processor for that I don't think so...
HourBeforeDawn 20th April 2009, 22:22 Quote
well I wanted to build a kickass but vry small system for my car, this might be the board for it ^_^ but Im still confused does this mean the whole nVidia Intel lawsuit/argument about Ion and what not is over? I kinda fell out of the loop on that?
Bindibadgi 20th April 2009, 22:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Digby
They look nice, but £138 for one?

Considering that I could get a full powered motherboard and processor for that I don't think so...

Spec me a comparative mini-ITX! ;)
Sir Digby 20th April 2009, 23:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Spec me a comparative mini-ITX! ;)

:) It is at least getting far too close to the £150 combination of the J&W 780g and AMD x2 4850e that you yourself recommended.
Bindibadgi 20th April 2009, 23:07 Quote
At what power consumption ;) if you only want it for light CPU load and HD video playback? (Sempron?)

Plus it has WiFi, but no PCI-Express slot.
Sir Digby 20th April 2009, 23:26 Quote
Ah, well there you've got me...:)

I still stand by the idea that £138 is massively overpriced though :)
TTmodder 20th April 2009, 23:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tank_rider
whack a very slow spinning 80mm fan on that heatsink instead of the 60mm and it'll be lovely and pretty much silent :)

on 2nd looking you could probably squeeze a 92mm fan on there, even better!

looks like the fan is only a 40mm. But with a little use of your imagination, and some handy tools you could easely fit a slow and silent 80mm fan :)
Bindibadgi 20th April 2009, 23:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Digby
Ah, well there you've got me...:)

I still stand by the idea that £138 is massively overpriced though :)

I agree I'm just playing devils advocate.
Fruitloaf 20th April 2009, 23:43 Quote
Wow those prices are surely too expensive. An Acer Revo is only £175 and for that price you also get the full PC. Also £70 for a second atom core? You can buy whole Atom ITX motherboards for less than that. If those are the prices then why would you buy one over a Core 2 ITX board from Zotac that you could simply downclock if you were going for low noise/power?
OtakuHawk 21st April 2009, 01:14 Quote
dual gigabit LAN please! 'hawk needs a new router/firewall/microserver!
[USRF]Obiwan 21st April 2009, 13:13 Quote
awesome it the retailprice drops and then put it into this
E.E.L. Ambiense 21st April 2009, 16:44 Quote
Interesting.... I wonder if these should be on water or not. ;)
Puzzu 21st April 2009, 18:56 Quote
I think it's a bit expensive considering the price of the Acer unit.
Burnout21 21st April 2009, 19:55 Quote
I want one but ~£138 is a little too much for such tech, £100 and i would almost be sold on the idea.
vinfromuk 21st April 2009, 22:58 Quote
9 series GeForce makes this a very tempting prospect for XBMC systems - shame about the price tag for the dual core though.
Bindibadgi 22nd April 2009, 00:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinfromuk
9 series GeForce makes this a very tempting prospect for XBMC systems - shame about the price tag for the dual core though.

Welcome!

Is XMBC now GPU accelerated?
ssj12 22nd April 2009, 03:45 Quote
I wonder, take this and add Toshiba's Spur Engine (not sure about name, its the SPE based one) to it, how would it perform?
jhanlon303 22nd April 2009, 04:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by E.E.L. Ambiense
Interesting.... I wonder if these should be on water or not. ;)

I can probably get you a quote from my Texas supplier! Shipping wouldn't be too much in the US. http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh137/jhanlon303/b_smileys/highfive.gif

john
OleJ 29th April 2009, 23:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi

Is XMBC now GPU accelerated?

It is being worked on for Linux. IIRC it didn't make the April deadline as stable.
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