SuperSpeed USB 3.0 added to Zotac Mini ITX board

Zotac’s first Mini ITX spin on the H55 Express chipset won a TR Recommended award when we reviewed the board back in April. At the time, we lamented the lack of USB 3.0 connectivity—something that Gigabyte’s H55-based Mini ITX board now includes. It seems Zotac has been paying attention, because the company has now come out with a version of the H55 ITX that adds a couple of SuperSpeed USB ports.

Offically known as the H55ITX-C-E (not to be confused with the original H55ITX-A-E), the new model retains all of the goodness of its forebear, including a PCI Express x16 slot, HDMI and DVI video outputs, and both Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi. Zotac’s press release doesn’t mention the use of a bridge chip, and I doubt there’s room for one on the board, which means the USB 3.0 controller is likely connected directly to the H55 chipset. You know what that means: gen-one PCI Express bandwidth, which only amounts to 250MB/s in each direction. That should still be plenty quick for most SuperSpeed devices, though.

In addition to expanding the H55 ITX’s connectivity options, Zotac has employed an "enhanced power delivery system" to support Core i7 800-series CPUs. The power upgrade includes passive heatsinks for the voltage regulation circuitry, but it’s unclear whether the underlying hardware has changed.

We’ve confirmed with Zotac that the H55ITX-C-E has a suggested retail price of $140, which is only $10 more than the currently street price of the existing model.  Boards should show up at Newegg by the end of the week.

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    • 1love4all
    • 9 years ago

    I am a 3d artist and a gamer for “eye candy”, for me this mobo+i5-750@3.6Ghz+GTX470+8gbRam+4*500gb hitachi raid10= happiness for next 5 years. Nothing negative about the board, only pros such as wi-fi, compact size….. i choose gtx470 above gtx460and 5870 for its parallel processing power. i5-750@3.6Ghz coz it’s cheap and don’t want hyperthreading messing with any rendering. hitachi for reliability(raid10 helps the performance) and don’t wish for any ssd’s that eats my mind while i use it. ANY COMMENTS ON THAT?

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 9 years ago

    The improvement in the power circuitry is welcome. This revised Zotac board will join the Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 as the only mini-ITX motherboards to provide enough power for desktop Core i7 LGA1156 processors like the Core i7-860.

    • fr500
    • 9 years ago

    Thing is the internet is flooded with horror stories on zotac and BIOS updates.

    I’m looking for a mini-ITX with 6 SATA ports and decent CPU support. Maybe this is it, I’m still waiting to see the features of J&W 890GX though, I’d really like to replace my current server (DQ45EK with an Core 2 Quad 9550) with a 6 core 1035T, I host some web sites and mail domains at home with ubuntu + vmware server on such setup 😀

      • eitje
      • 9 years ago

      The zotac board I’m using to type this works fine. *shrug*

    • provoko
    • 9 years ago

    It’s nice and all, but no onboard video for core i7s kind of sucks.

    • tay
    • 9 years ago

    This board is great. I wish I hadn’t put together a phenom rig right now. Maybe I’ll build my brother a system from this.

    • donkeycrock
    • 9 years ago

    Now if only you could take out the wireless add on card and switch it with a ssd. thats all im asking for.

      • Bauxite
      • 9 years ago

      Those laptop SSDs on minicards are not standard. They are not using the pci-e spec, they are just using the connector with custom vendor specific traces. (to a sata port off the southbridge if I’m not mistaken)

      Unlike a laptop this has 6 sata ports, so I think SSDs are well covered.

      You could use a minicard that runs a SD/MMC controller over the usb 2.0 lane traces, but the performance would be in thumb drive territory.

    • Shinare
    • 9 years ago

    So if there’s more PCB area and transistors on your video card then your “motherboard” does it take over as the motherboard? 🙂

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      Why would it?

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    These kinds of products are perfect for me. I’m a gamer that only cares about image quality and not sound. I also don’t have a lot of money. So I use a discrete mainstream video card and CPU. Onboard sound is fine for me. I don’t need any more expansion or numerous memory slots.

    Along those lines, this miniITX board is very nice.

      • Sargent Duck
      • 9 years ago

      You’ll probably find that 99.4%* of gamers use onboard sound. It’s “good” enough and there seems to be little benefit to going to an external card. Unless you’re an audiophile, onboard is fine. And it’s free!

      *based on careful observation, much laboring over studies and books, stastical analysis and months of research, I’ve made this number up.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 9 years ago

      ITX still has a price premium although not as much as it once did – the Gigabyte ITX is pretty nice. You still often pay more for what you get especially if overclocking matters and it should to people without much money (‘free CPU upgrade.’) Honestly ‘gamer on a budget’ screams mATX or just regular ATX to me, the only reason to go ITX is for the ultracompact size not because of price or anything else. This board in particular and many Zotacs has the built-in WiFi which may also be important to some people although to me a desktop on WiFi is just silliness, suck it up and do some wiring people!

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