First Look: Zotac Nvidia Ion Mini-ITX

May 2, 2009 | 09:52

Tags: #atom #core #dc-dc #dual #first #ion #look #low #mini-itx #overview #pics #pictures #power #preview #psu #sff

Companies: #blu-ray #intel #nvidia #zotac

First Look: Zotac Nvidia Ion Mini-ITX First Look: Zotac Nvidia Ion Mini-ITX
Click to enlarge

No PCI-Express or PCI slots are included, so extra peripherals will have to use USB 2.0. The good thing is that there are plenty of them: six on the rear I/O and another four from pin-outs on board.

First Look: Zotac Nvidia Ion Mini-ITX First Look: Zotac Nvidia Ion Mini-ITX
Click to enlarge

Finally to the rear I/O. It has a plethora of connectivity including HDMI, DVI, VGA, S/PDIF (optical and coaxial), eSATA, PS2 keyboard, six USB 2.0, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet and three 3.5mm audio jacks to deliver six channel audio. The two digital video outputs can be used simultaneously - which is a rare bonus - and you'll want to use one of the two S/PDIFs because onboard audio is limited to only an basic HD Audio Realtek ALC662 chipset. Bleh.

First Look: Zotac Nvidia Ion Mini-ITX First Look: Zotac Nvidia Ion Mini-ITX
Click to enlarge

It's got tons of potential to be an ultra low power, very quiet Media Centre motherboard or network storage product given the right environment. We really want to mod a Lian Li EX-50, but we don't think it's big enough, and the gloriously sexy mini-ITX cases like an old Cubit 3 are often prohibitively expensive or very hard to source.

Single core Atom versions will also be available for a much lower price, as will more normal boards with standard ATX sockets, again reducing the cost of manufacture and therefore ownership. Zotac will be shipping these next month, just as soon as (UK) distributors are set up - we heard to check mini-ITX.com for updates.

The bottom line is Zotac is crafting out a range of niche mini-ITX boards between this and its LGA775 GeForce 9400 motherboard which offer a variety between tiny, potentially very powerful and packed to the gills to lightly weight and nimble, but with more than your VIA EPIA or standard Atom 330 board has to offer. We'll be sure to see if Zotac can make this work as well as it's shaping up in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
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