Zotac displays Mini-ITX mobos, barebones nettops, and mobile PCs at CES


— 4:30 PM on January 12, 2010

Although Zotac initially dabbled in ATX and microATX motherboards, the company's focus seems to be clearly centered on even smaller form factors. At CES last week, we saw a full array of Mini-ITX designs based on a range of different platforms.

The star of the show was, of course, the H55-ITX WiFi. Cyril got the scoop on this one last week, but we can now reveal that the board is destined to arrive later this month at around $129.

Zotac has also crafted an NM10-ITX WiFi based on Intel's latest Pine Trail platform. The NM10 uses a dual-core D510 processor and features two Mini PCI Express slots, one of which is occupied by a 802.11n Wi-Fi card. Zotac hasn't included auxiliary silicon to handle video decoding, but it is building a version of the board on a slightly larger DTX form factor.

The appropriately named NM10-DTX WiFi has a PCI Express x16 slot with a single lane's worth of bandwidth. That probably won't be enough for high-performance 3D graphics, but keep in mind that we're working with a dual-core Atom processor here. You'll probably want to add a low-end graphics card with HD video decoding capabilities. And if you don't, both boards come with VGA and HDMI outputs. The latter port can also carry an audio signal, although its resolution is limited to 720p by Pine Trail's integrated graphics component.

While not exactly new, Intel's G41 and G45 Express chipsets will also pop up in Zotac Mini-ITX boards alongside LGA775 sockets. More interesting was an array of MAG nettops in various flavors.

The Ion-equipped MAG HD-ND01 has been around for a while, and it's now going to be available as a barebones, sans hard drive, memory, and operating system. Expect to pay $249 for the build-your-own nettop, which should be available in the first week of March.

A MAG system is also coming with Intel's Pine Trail platform inside. Zotac is going with discrete graphics for that rig, tapping auxiliary silicon to enable smooth 1080p HD video playback. A CULV-based MAG with a Pentium SU4100 and GS45 chipset was on display, as well. Next to that, we saw a Congo-based model with an Athlon Neo X2 L325 processor and 780G chipset. Expect these to arrive around CeBit and cost in the neighborhood of $300.

At least initially, only the Ion-based MAG system will be available as a barebones. However, Zotac aims to offer all MAG models as barebones rigs in the future.

Easily the most unexpected product in Zotac's suite was a CULV-based ultraportable that the company is considering bringing to North America. Built by Zotac's parent company, PC Partner, the system is similar in size and weight to Acer's AS1810TZ.  The notebook features a Pentium SU4100 processor and an Intel GS45 Express chipset, and its six-cell battery is said to deliver 7-8 hours of battery life.

Zotac even had an Atom-powered netbook and a 10" tablet on display. The latter uses an electro-magnetic touchscreen that requires stylus input but apparently offers much greater precision than standard touchscreens. Business and education markets are being targeted with the tablet, although it's unclear whether the system will be available in North America under the Zotac brand.

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