Sandy Bridge goes Mini-ITX with Zotac

CES — Unless you still haven’t read Scott’s excellent Sandy Bridge review, you’ll know the deal by now: Intel’s new generation of processors packs a considerable punch, sometimes keeping up with hexa-core Gulftown chips despite having two fewer cores. And they don’t cost all that much, either. Wouldn’t it be neat to squeeze that kind of power into a Mini-ITX PC?

No need to daydream. Today at CES, Zotac showed us its H67ITX-A-E motherboard, which brings together a Sandy Bridge-friendly LGA1155 socket and Intel’s new H67 Express chipset on a 6.7" x 6.7" Mini-ITX board packed to the gills with miscellaneous goodies.

Let’s see… we’ve got two 240-pin DDR3-1333 slots, HDMI and DVI video outputs, a PCI Express x16 graphics slot, external Serial ATA, USB 3.0, Serial ATA 6Gbps, and built-in Wi-Fi. Add a Core i7-2600K, serve, and enjoy.

This could well be one of the very first Mini-ITX H67 boards to hit the market. One arrived in our labs right before CES, actually. We’ll try to crank out a review soon after we get back.

Comments closed
    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    I was semi-OK with Intel’s overclocking hamstring of the CPUs themselves, but I only found out about the chipset-level overclocking limits when I read the TR SB review. I am SORELY disappointed that H67 is unable to manipulate the K series or even regular CPU (?) multipliers. I was really looking forward to a nice mini-ITX system with the improved integrated graphics which ought to be enough for older games, I lived with Core i3 graphics for quite a while until I snagged a good deal on a discrete card, so the SB graphics turbo’d/overclocked would be fine. But now I find that the H67 can’t overclock the CPUs and that makes me sad, a 2500K with a nice oc’ing mini-ITX H67 equivalent to the Gigabyte H55 board would have made for a nice system, now my plans are dashed.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      Disappointing, yes – might be a way for intel to sell more expensive Z68 chipsets (Camaro Z68?).

    • mboza
    • 9 years ago

    Is H67 going to overclock with a 2600K? I thought you needed a P67, forcing a choice between overclocking or onboard graphics.

      • Pizzapotamus
      • 9 years ago

      No, graphics and overclock won’t happen until the Z68.

    • eitje
    • 9 years ago

    I <3 Zotac. That’s all.

    • Kraft75
    • 9 years ago

    This looks nice! Here’s one looking forward to that review! 🙂

    • rekta
    • 9 years ago

    This would be my next HTPC/File Server rig. The only problem for me is to find a “cheap” mini-itx case that can support up to 4 x 3.5-inch drives.

      • eitje
      • 9 years ago

      I use a Chenbro ES340, and it’s basically perfect for what you describe. It’s not “cheap”, though.

      • m2h
      • 9 years ago

      I’ve recently migrated two ITX systems to the Lian-Li PC-08b. 6 x 3.5-inch and 1 x 5.25-inch.

      Maybe not cheap, but I doubt I’ll have to switch them anytime soon.

    • alphadogg
    • 9 years ago

    My experience with Zotac has not been great. I’ve used about twenty diminutive boards now, of various models, over the last two years, and some of the earlier ones are failing regularly. They work, but I’m starting to feel they use components with well-below average MTBF.

      • eitje
      • 9 years ago

      I’m not seeing this, myself.

        • alphadogg
        • 9 years ago

        How many boards have been with you for a year or more?

          • eitje
          • 9 years ago

          I think I have “deployed” (built for myself or others) 8 zotac mITX boards since they first started showing up on newegg. The last one I built used a D510 Atom, and was probably put together in March of 2010 (maybe April?). So, most of them, I guess.

          Almost all of them (7 of 8) were Atom-based, however, so perhaps there’s different characteristics with their socketed boards.

    • TaBoVilla
    • 9 years ago

    I want this to bear my offspring

    • FormCode
    • 9 years ago

    Can you feel the awesomeness that this little piece of hardware is oozing ? 😀

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    This. Is. It. Zotac did it again.

    If I were to build a new rig now, I’d pick this mobo up, put it in a tiny box, add a new SSD+bigass laptop HDD, 2600K, PicoPSU, and Done.

    PCs are getting crazy good.

      • Hattig
      • 9 years ago

      Will a PicoPSU be enough to power a 2600K and the rest of the motherboard and drives?

        • Duck
        • 9 years ago

        Yes easily. You power the CPU from 12v from the power brick. The pico is just left powering the mobo and the HDD etc. Prob 20w load, if that.

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        PicoPSU product line goes up to 160W – it’ll be enough for all this and more (you just need to get a big-enough brick to go with it).

        • alphadogg
        • 9 years ago

        PicoPSU 150W

        Efficiency is 95%, so you actually have 142W. A 2600K is a 95W TDP part. This isn’t typical output, but it’s the number Intel tells OEMs to manufacture for, so you have 47W left over. An SSD will consume 2W (“TDP”, it idles at below 1W), an HD will consume about 6-8W, so now at 38W. Add a blu-ray burner, needs another 20-30W. Getting pretty close…

        Easily? No. Can it be done if careful. I know I frequently had boot issues, when power draw is often high, in Zotac systems with PicoPSUs, although at the time they didn’t have a 150W one. Systems would simply not boot.

          • Farting Bob
          • 9 years ago

          The PicoPSU is rated for 150w.

          Efficiency is 95%, so you actually [b<]STILL GET 150W[/b<]. Efficiency ratings on PSU's dont say "this 500w unti is 80% efficient so you only get 80% of 500w" they say "500w output is 80% of the input for this PSU".

            • alphadogg
            • 9 years ago

            Ok. Thanks for that tidbit. I guess I’ve had it backwards for a long time.

            Still, 150W is close for a build. I am 100% certain some of the Zotac system boot issues and half-starts were because of the Pico 120W. Put the same mobo into a slightly bigger case with a 250W supply and no more issues.

            So, yeah, those system idle at 40-60W, but they can spike. Caveat TDP ignorer…

        • Kurotetsu
        • 9 years ago

        SilentPCReview powered the following system with a 120W PicoPSU + 60W power brick:

        [url<]http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1105-page4.html[/url<] Zotac IONITX-P-E (SU2300 + ION) Corsair XMS3 memory 2x2GB, DDR3-1600 @ 1333MHz Western Digital Scorpio Blue notebook hard drive - 500GB, 5400RPM, 8MB cache Asus BC-1205PT Blu-ray drive - SATA [url<]http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1105-page5.html[/url<] At load, the entire system pulled in 41W. Yeah, thats a CULV system, but its still quite a bit of hardware, all being fed by a little, passively-cooled 60W power brick. In their review for the PicoPSU, they recommended power bricks from EDac: [url<]http://www.silentpcreview.com/article601-page1.html[/url<] Looking at EDac's website, they have models going all the way up to 200W. [url<]http://www.edac.com.tw/products_list%20.asp?subcat=78&type=open[/url<] [url<]http://www.edac.com.tw/product/product_more/EA1210.pdf[/url<] In TR's Sandy Bridge review, their SB test system using the 2600K hit 144W at load under Cinebench: [url<]https://techreport.com/articles.x/20188/16[/url<] So yeah, a [url=http://www.mini-box.com/picoPSU-160-XT<]160W PicoPSU[/url<] should be able to handle it easily with the right power brick, which is pretty exciting considering its not even a CULV system.

          • SomeOtherGeek
          • 9 years ago

          Nice write-up/comment! Thanks!

          • NeelyCam
          • 9 years ago

          Oh cool – they upgraded 150XT to 160XT!

          Too bad, PicoPSUs are out-of-stock so often. Must be really popular… they are selling every piece they make.

          • NeelyCam
          • 9 years ago

          [quote<]In TR's Sandy Bridge review, their SB test system using the 2600K hit 144W at load under Cinebench: [url<]https://techreport.com/articles.x/20188/16[/url<][/quote<] And that's with a GTX460.

            • Kurotetsu
            • 9 years ago

            I don’t think it’d be a good idea to factor in the GPU. Cinebench is primarily a CPU benchmark (I think), so its quite likely that the GPU was idle during the test. A GTX460 system at load used 294W according to TR’s review:

            [url<]https://techreport.com/articles.x/19242/12[/url<] Admittedly, their test system was X58-based. However, the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP card they used in the SB review is probably overclocked quite a bit, in addition it uses 2 x 6-pin power connectors, so it eats at least 150W + however much it gets from the slot (I forget). A 160W PicoPSU could certainly support a discrete GPU, just don't expect to play any graphics-heavy games with it.

            • NeelyCam
            • 9 years ago

            Agreed, but even when idling, GTX460 eats some 20W:

            [url<]http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/nvidia-geforce-gtx-460_6.html#sect0[/url<] What I meant is that when the 20W is taken out of the equation, PicoPSU can easily handle an SB system.

    • Johnny5
    • 9 years ago

    Whenever I see one of these tiny boards full of features, I always wonder what it is that all the little chips and capacitors that fill my atx mobo actually do. I know some of it is to run extra connectors beyond what the chipset is equipped for (say 10 usb connectors instead of 6 or something), but that doesn’t seem to be nearly enough to account for all the extras. Maybe some help with overclocking somehow. *shrugs*

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      In general, all those caps try to make sure the voltages on your mobo stay stable, regardless of what kind of loads your CPU is handling. If they weren’t there, the 3.3V (or whatever) voltage would be bouncing up’n’down with the loads and clocks.

      How many you need? Depends so much on the specifics of the board/CPU design.. and all those extra little chips on your atx mobo tend to want to have their own caps to keep their own voltages stable.

      This is a stupid analogy, but let say you were to share your hot water with your neighbor. If you both are running a hot bath at the same time, you might run out of hot water.. To prevent that, you both might want to have your own 80gal hot water tank, both connected to the same hot water source.. You both would have 80gal of water to use as you please before you run out – when you’re not using it, the ‘hot water source’ would fill your tank up again.

      Those capacitors are like those hot water tanks – you draw ‘hot water’ from them during high CPU loads, and you let them fill up again when you’re idling.

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