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