Zotac whips up two Pine Trail motherboards


— 6:00 AM on January 5, 2010

Having built up a reputation for Mini-ITX Atom motherboards, Zotac wasn't about to shy away from Intel's new Pine Trail platform. And it hasn't. The firm has announced two motherboards equipped with the dual-core, 1.66GHz Atom D510 processor: the NM10-ITX WiFi, a conventional Mini-ITX offering, and the NM10-DTX WiFi, a slightly larger board based on the lesser-known DTX form factor.

Both boards accompany the D510 with an Intel NM10 Express I/O hub, a pair of DDR2 DIMM slots, one PCI Express x1 slot, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, six USB ports, and an HDMI output. Thanks to its larger footprint, the DTX model offers an additional PCIe slot (with a x16 physical layout but just one lane) and seven Serial ATA ports (including one eSATA). The ITX model gets by with only two SATA ports and a spare Mini PCIe slot.

Also, both offerings feature one big passive heatsink, so they won't deafen you with the shriek of an undersized fan.

Zotac brags about the mobos' HDMI outputs in particular, claiming they're the first to use an LVDS-to-HDMI signal converter made by ITE. The signal converter enables HDCP-compliant HDMI output at resolutions of up to 1366x768 on monitors and HDTVs. Zotac hasn't included an auxiliary HD video decoding chip, however, and as we saw in our review, Pine Trail's video playback performance is pretty hit-and-miss.

   
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