Now it's onto the board itself. Being a Mini-ITX based design we should be able to rap this up pretty quick. ZOTAC has gone for a black PCB to distinguish it from other Mini-ITX boards currently on the market. While these mostly have Atom or VIA CPU support, the ZOTAC offering supports any LGA775 Core 2 series CPU, apart from the 400MHz FSB models.
To keep things nice and simple, the 24-pin power connector and the IDE connector take up the whole right hand side edge of the board, just behind the two DDR2 memory slots. The chipset used is the 610i which doesn't support dual channel memory, so this is a single channel only solution which will limit performance quite substantially. The 4-pin power connector is placed behind the PS/2 ports which will make this a bit of a pain to find a case for. Most Mini-ITX cases only have a 20-pin power connector and no Aux power supply, since they are only powering VIA CPUs which are extremely energy efficient compared to the Core 2 lines. Just below the heatsink that cools the single chip 610i MCP are two SATA-II ports for storage connectors. Since its Mini-ITX, there is no extra room for the other two ports unfortunately. The Mini-ITX board is given a 3 phase voltage regulation system in order to feed the CPU, so it's not going to be an overclocking marvel, that's for sure. The CPU area is clear of high rise components and uses solid state capacitors and ferrite core chokes to help reduce overall power consumption while increasing longevity of the power components.
Now it's onto the rear I/O ports. ZOTAC has followed standard Mini-ITX layout design rules for its rear I/O ports so that it will fit into standard Mini-ITX cases that have integrated I/O shields. We can see that he board has solder points on the board for a DVI-I port, but it's vacant. It would have been nice to see this added for a dual display option.
Lastly, it's the expansion options. Being Mini-ITX it only has a single expansion slot and rather than the older PCI slots we see on VIA Mini-ITX boards, ZOTAC has decided to include a PCIe x1 slot. Personally, I think a x16 slot would have been better for the option of upgrading to a discrete GPU.
Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:27 pm CDT
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