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  #1  
Old 06-06-2009
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ZOTAC NVIDIA IONITX - Atom Mini-ITX Motherboard

Introduction:

After many months of the first indiscretions, ZOTAC get head on the market-based solutions Ion, the platform developed by NVIDIA to support the Intel CPU that over the years has done much to speak about Atom. It presents the ZOTAC IONITX-A, with a motherboard form factor mini-ITX that supports the chipset MCP7A an Atom processor 330: a product that is characterized by an extremely compact design and a range of features certainly interesting, they deserve to be analyzed in depth.

The Atom possesses just enough horsepower to offer "fast enough" performance with basic 2D desktop tasks. However, it can't handle HD video playback on its own, and the perhaps inappropriately named Graphics Media Accelerator 950 offers little assistance in that department.

Nvidia proposed a solution to this problem a few months ago with the introduction of its Ion reference design. The Ion platform is essentially just a GeForce 9400 chipset—the same silicon found in the MacBook Air and Micro-ATX GeForce 9400 desktop motherboards—paired with an Atom processor. This chipset brings Intel's pint-sized CPU a modern integrated graphics component with HD video playback acceleration and native HDMI output.

Following is an Image preview of an ZOTAC NVIDIA - A Mini-ITX Motherboard

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  #2  
Old 06-06-2009
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Size of IONITX-A Cards

Size of IONITX-A Cards

The size of the card are those specified by the standard Mini-ITX, the IONITX-A measure therefore 170x170mm. For obvious reasons of space the PCB appears decidedly crowded, dominated the center of a passive heatsink that cools both the processor, and chipset. On the back of the card is possible to note the two slots for DDR2 memory: MCP7A is able to provide support up to 4GB of memory in dual-channel.


To ensure that it is possible to feed a disc and an optical drive, given the presence of an external power supply, the motherboard of ZOTAC has a molex that you can connect via a special cable supplied with the devices essential to the operation system.


The IONITX-A features a dual-core Atom N330 processor running at 1.6GHz. Since Hyper-Threading grants this config four hardware threads, the N330 should be much faster than a single-core Atom CPU with multitasking or with sufficiently multithreaded applications.


As compare to IONITX-A the MCP7A is more than just an integrated graphics processor. It has six integrated Serial ATA RAID ports, four of which are used by the Zotac board, which has three internal SATA ports and one eSATA connector. The MCP7A provides the board's Gigabit Ethernet connectivity and the PCI Express lanes for its Mini PCIe slot, as well.
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  #3  
Old 06-06-2009
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BIOS,Specifications and pricing

BIOS options

The main screen of the BIOS that the card is marketed Mini-ITX ZOTAC to show in detail the operating parameters of the processor and memory which is equipped with the system. The version of Atom is used for this platform is the model 330, made up of two core operating at a frequency of 1.6 GHz, flanked by two DDR2 memory modules 1GB, for a total of 2GB.

But while operating with the system bios, you can not just go and change some options related to the performance of the machine, including the voltage of the memory and chipset, but also turn off any noise during system boot. Among the most important functions is to report that defined "frame buffer size" useful to choose how much memory to devote to the integrated graphics controller.

Specifications and pricing
  • Motherboard: Zotac IONITX-A
  • CPU: Intel Atom 330, soldered onboard
  • CPU Cores: 2 (Dual-Core),533 MHz
  • GPU / Chipset: NVIDIA ION
  • DirectX Support: DirectX 10
  • Size: Mini-ITX Form Factor, 6.7in (170mm) x 6.7in (170mm)
  • Cooling: Passive (Quiet), Additional fan included, installation optional
  • Memory Type: Dual-Channel DDR2,4 GB, 2 x 240-pin DDR2 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 667 MHz / 800 MHz
  • Storage : 3 SATA 3.0 GB/s ports, 1 e.SATA 3.0 GB/s port, SATA RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 1 MOLEX power connector (powers up to 3 SATA devices)
  • Display Connectors: VGA, HDMI, DVI
  • USB Ports: 10, (6 on back panel, 4 via pin header)
  • Audio: Realtek ALC662 (5.1 channel HD Audio)
  • Ethernet : 10/100/1000 Mbps + WiFi
  • WiFi Support: 802.11n (Optional)
  • Additional Features: 90W AC/DC Adapter, PureVideo HD, Blu-Ray Playback, Solid Caps


*Pricing: The IONITX-A is expected to sell for $179 online and $189 in retail, with the B slated to run between $139 and $149, depending on the vendor.
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  #4  
Old 06-06-2009
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Re: ZOTAC NVIDIA IONITX - Atom Mini-ITX Motherboard

Performance

Here we will first consider the motherboard performance as per Games.The tests are objective performance to show the behavior of the platform in shorter sessions and casual gaming: the comparison was made two slightly different games, the first Devil May Cry 4 quite recently, the latter, Unreal tournament, The two resolutions are obviously used to the 1024x768 and 1280x1024, above which the integrated GPU is not able to ensure satisfactory performance.

And as per windows software, the IONITX doesn't fare so well in our browser benchmarks, likely due to the fact that we're running Windows Vista. Our other Atom-based system, the Eee PC 1000H, scores a little higher running Windows XP. The Zotac board's extra Atom core certainly doesn't help it here, nor does the platform's second memory channel.


7-Zip is multithreaded, given the IONITX's dual-core Atom a chance to shine. The board's performance is nearly twice that of the Eee PC and even faster the Pavilion dv2, which has a full-fledged (albeit single-core) Athlon 64 under the hood.
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  #5  
Old 06-06-2009
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Conclusion

Conclusion

Pros
  • Integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi on the ION-ITX-A
  • Generous range of modern ports
  • Will play any media file you throw at it
  • ION chipset and capabilities
  • Atom powered - fast, low power consumption
  • Built in power supply on the ION-ITX-A can make for a very small system


Cons
  • No expansion slot
  • Not many PSU-free Mini-ITX enclosures available
  • More expensive than Intel chipset Atoms
  • Additional cabling required for optical drives
  • Video acceleration may require additional software purchase
  • 90W power limitation on ION-ITX-A (though not the ION-ITX-B)
  • Heatsink size of ION-ITX-A (not B) rules out 1U chassis
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