Zotac H67-ITX: Sandy Bridge for Mini-ITX

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Like many of Zotac's previous mini-ITX boards, the H67-ITX's main strength is its outstanding feature-set. It's a high-end board with almost every feature you could want including six SATA ports (two of which are 6 Gbps), an eSATA port powered by an third party JMicron controller, both internal and external USB 3.0, 802.11n, and a DisplayPort. FireWire is feature that might be considered missing, though its popularity is on the wane. The only other thing that an enthusiast user might want is the use of the P67 chipset for overclocking support, though it probably isn't a good idea in a cramped mini-ITX case.

The H67-ITX"s power consumption is on par with your average H67 mainboard, but only when idle or under low load. As the system is stressed, the energy efficiency becomes progressively worse. Compared to microATX competitors from Intel and Asus, the H67-ITX used 5W more when only two of our i5-2500K processor's cores were put on load while on full load, the difference surpassed double digits. The board suffers from the same problem as its predecessor, the H55-ITX, in that it supplies more voltage than necessary to the processor. However, unlike the H55 version, the CPU voltage can't be manually lowered due to the extremely restrictive BIOS in the H67-ITX. The H67 chipset doesn't support multiplier overclocking so a wide range of frequency and voltage options aren't necessary, but some CPU voltage control should have been made available.

The BIOS offers fan control but it doesn't seem aggressive enough for our liking, letting the temperature skyrocket before hitting maximum speed. Control is also limited to just a single PWM fan. Zotac does not provide a fan control utility (or software of any kind aside from drivers) but we managed to enable fan control for both fan headers using SpeedFan. The board's cooling is actually fine when you consider that many manufacturers don't even bother with extra cooling on their mini-ITX models. The VRM heatsink runs fairly hot on load, but this is partly due to the aforementioned core voltage issue.

While not the most energy efficient solution, for those who want the power of a Sandy Bridge processor in a mini package, the Zotac H67-ITX offers far more functionality than anything else we know of. If you're looking to build the ultimate SFF PC, whether for gaming, rendering, serving files, or just for bragging rights, the H67-ITX is the most capable mini-ITX board on the market. As such, its US$150 street price is seems perfectly reasonable.

Our thanks to Zotac for the H67-ITX-C-E motherboard sample.

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Articles of Related Interest
Asus E35M1-M Pro: AMD Fusion Motherboard
Asus P8P67 and P8P67 Pro Motherboards
Gigabyte P67A-UD4 & Intel DP67BG P67 Motherboards
Intel DH67BL & Asus P8H67-M EVO H67 Motherboards
Intel GMA HD 3000/2000 Graphics
Zotac H55-ITX-C-E: Stacked LGA1156 Mini-ITX Motherboard

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