7-series chipsets go Mini-ITX

Big motherboard makers weren't the only ones with 7-series motherboards on display at CES. While visiting Zotac's suite at the show, we came across three mobos with Mini-ITX form factors, 7-series chipsets under their heatsinks, and LGA1155 sockets ready to accommodate Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge processors.

The flagship sports a Z77 chipset, a POST code display, eight-phase power circuitry, and relatively beefy chipset and VRM cooling (for a mini-ITX board).

Zotac has two lower-end designs in the pipeline, too. If I recall correctly, those have "H" chipsets—so, no support for multiplier overclocking. (Right now, Intel only allows multiplier overclocking on mobos with P, Z, and X chipsets.) Nevertheless, all three of Zotac's upcoming 7-series offerings have mSATA slots, 6Gbps Serial ATA and USB 3.0 ports, plus built-in Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

We asked the company if it had any full-size ATX motherboards in the works and were told that wouldn't happen until Zotac's UEFI is up to scratch. The UEFIs we've encountered on Zotac's 6-series motherboards have been a little lacking compared to the snazzy graphical offerings of Asus, MSI, and recent Gigabyte mobos. Zotac's response does leave the door open for future ATX designs, though.

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