Not all that long ago VIA introduced a new form factor called Mini-ITX. It was a great idea; a small yet powerful board layout that allowed a decent amount of flexibility. Unfortunately VIA did not have the marketing muscle to get wide acceptance and the idea fell into obscurity. It was not until Intel launched the Atom CPU that we saw a return of the Mini-ITX. The form factor pioneered by VIA was ideal for the small Intel CPUs. We started to see products based on the Atom using the Mini-ITX and Mini-DTX form factors.
However, that was not the end of the Mini-ITX. People began to find out (to their surprise and delight) that the Mini-ITX form factor is also a great platform for the P55 and H5x chipsets. This is due to the reduced power demands from the chipset and the fact that the CPU contains the PCIe lanes for the GPU. Now we are seeing products in this form factor for much more powerful CPUs.
We have one of these tiny boards based on the H55 chipset from GIGABYTE in our lab for some testing. This board retails for only $104.99 from NewEgg.com, but still manages to pack in some great features. Let's get on with the testing.