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Gigabyte launches ultra-thin mini-ITX motherboards

Gigabyte launches ultra-thin mini-ITX motherboards

Gigabyte's new mini-ITX motherboards are ultra-thin, and aimed at system builders looking to make a DIY all-in-one (AIO) desktop.

It's difficult to really innovate in desktop motherboards - standardise form factors mean everything is the same shape and size - but Gigabyte's giving it a good go with its newest range of ultra-thin mini-ITX boards.

The H77TN and B75TN motherboards are constructed on the principle that if you can't alter the length or width of a mini-ITX board, you can make it stand out by - ironically enough - changing the height. Designed for DIY all-in-one (AIO) systems or ultra-compact desktops, the boards are claimed to be around 43 per cent thinner than the average mini-ITX board using special low-profile connectors.

The result is a pair of boards measuring 17cm on a side and just 2.5cm high, despite being fully-featured boards with numerous connectivity options. As standard, the H77TN includes one mini-PCI Express x1, one full-size PCI Express x4, and an mSATA port, along with two SATA 6Gb/s and two SATA 3Gb/s connectors, four USB 3.0 ports on the back panel, integrated DisplayPort and HDMI port outputs, a gigabit Ethernet port and two audio jacks. As befits a board designed for all-in-one systems, the H77TN also includes an internal LVDS (Low-Voltage Differential Signalling) connector for direct connection of a flat-panel display with selectable 5V or 3.3V power output and 12V and 19V outputs for the back light. The board is also powered by a DC jack capable of accepting anything between 12V and 19V, offering increased flexibility when trying to upgrade an existing AIO chassis.

The H77TN, powered by an Intel H77 chipset as its name suggests, is joined by the B75-based B75TN. Most of the features are the same between both models: both include two 1.5V DDR3 SODIMM slots for up to 8GB of system memory and all the aforementioned ports, slots and features, but the B75TN drops the number of SATA 6Gb/s ports to just one, shifting the remaining port down to SATA 3Gb/s. Both also feature the same restrictions: the PCI Express x4 slot is capable of delivering just 25W, meaning high-performance graphics cards aren't going to be an option, although the Intel Socket LGA 1155 CPU options go right the way up to the company's top-end 77W chips - but just one Core i7 processor, the 65W Core i7-3770S, is listed by the company as being officially supported, with the 77W Core i7-3770K nowhere to be seen.

Despite these restrictions, and a distinct lack of barebones AIO chassis in the market, the thinner design may be of interest to modders and system builders looking to make a compact yet powerful system - and to give potential buyers an idea, Gigabyte has handily provided a demonstration video below.

12 Comments

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coolius 21st February 2013, 11:28 Quote
surely once you add the HSF, all that hard work goes to waste?
jrs77 21st February 2013, 12:19 Quote
Awesome. Especially if you look for low-power CPUs and pair that thing with passive cooled cases like the Akasa Euler or the Streacom lineup. With the integrated PSU it's even better.

I especially like the PCIe 4x slot, as it's not a dedicated PEG slot, so you can use it for a DVB S/T dualtuner. Another good thing is the LVDS-port, so you can internally connect LCDs, which are available with touch for little money.

This screams for a really good HTPC and now we have options other then the intel DQ77KB.
Xlog 21st February 2013, 13:57 Quote
Probably no vt-d support and realtek NIC, I think I'll stick with DQ77KB.
Xir 21st February 2013, 15:12 Quote
If height reduction is the goal, why aren't the side connectors angled? :?
Corky42 21st February 2013, 15:40 Quote
Angled sata cables ?
jrs77 21st February 2013, 17:00 Quote
I was bored today, so I made a quick mockup of the GA-H77TN in SketchUp...

http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/7559/gah77tn.jpg

http://www.filedropper.com/ga-h77tn
toolio20 22nd February 2013, 05:39 Quote
PCIe x4?
Oh, this is of super high interest for gamers...
fluxtatic 22nd February 2013, 07:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by toolio20
PCIe x4?
Oh, this is of super high interest for gamers...

Who said gamers? This for AIOs and people who want to build stupid-small systems.

I wouldn't be up for paying much of a premium, as it's certainly not 43% shorter than the ASRock ITX board sitting next to me here - closer to 25%, and that's because the tallest thing on it is the audio on the rear I/O - 6-channel plus optical.) From the look of the board above, it's only got mic in and stereo out. Integrated PSU is nice, though - tallest thing on mine is the Pico-PSU plugged into the 24-pin connector (on the other hand, with the right PSU and AC/DC converter, I could power any IB processor I damn well please...)

Second on Xir's comment as well - no right-angle SATA at all? How stupid.
faugusztin 22nd February 2013, 08:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by toolio20
PCIe x4?
Oh, this is of super high interest for gamers...

PCIe x4 3.0 is equal to PCIe x8 2.0, which is equal to PCIe x16 1.1. Are you still sure you did want to say that ?

PCI-E 2.0 x4 vs PCI-E 2.0 x16 equals to 4% loss : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_5870_PCI-Express_Scaling/25.html . And we are at PCI-E 3.0 now, which is not used much at all (most cards have sub-PCI-E 2.0 x16 bandwidth requirements, if not all). Are you still sure you did want to say that ?
jrs77 22nd February 2013, 09:44 Quote
You don't need the SATA-connectors actually, as this board has two mSATA ports allowing for a WiFi-card and a mSATA SSD.

Additionally, the PCIe 4x is actually very nice, as it lets you use a DVB-T/S dualtuner card, which normally doesn't work in a dedicated PCIe x16 PEG-slot.

So, can you say HTPC with DVB-T/S dualtuner, WiFi card, onboard SSD and all of this in a box as small as 250x180x30mm (WxDxH), probably passively cooled with heatpipes attached to the enclosure.?
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