Zotac NF610i-ITX: Compact, low cost, Core 2 solution

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FAN CONTROL

When it comes to customizable control, SpeedFan is our application of choice. If properly supported, it can be configured to raise/lower multiple fan speeds to designated limits when any specified temperature threshold is breached.

SpeedFan on this board provided little functionality. Since Zotac and nVidia do not provide any monitoring utilities, we did our best to guess exactly which readings should be given credence and which could be ignored. First off, the fan speed readings gave us a big donut across the board — it simply can't read the speed from either fan header. From loading the CPU, we determined that temperature label CPU was most likely the CPU temperature. Temp1 stayed at 40°C throughout testing, so feel free to ignore it.

The CPU fan header (C_FAN1) can be used to control PWM fans (not 3-pin DC fans) in SpeedFan. To do so, change PWM 2 mode to "Manual PWM Control" in the Advanced options. Once this is done, the Speed02 control allowed us to throttle a Scythe 92mm PWM fan from approximately 200 to 2580 RPM.

The automatic BIOS-based fan control was very primitive. When the trigger temperature and tolerance were set to 50°C and 5°C respectively, our PWM fan jumped from 200 to 1700 RPM (measured using an tachometer) right on the dot when the CPU temperature hit 50°C. The speed rose quickly until it reached the maximum 2580 RPM at 55°C. From this we can conclude the "tolerance" is actually the range in which the fan increases and frankly 5°C isn't very much. The fan speed change is very abrupt spanned over 5°C.

COOLING

To test the cooling on the board, we lowered the CPU cooling fan's voltage to 7V to reduce the amount of top-down airflow the nearby components received. We then stressed the system with Prime95 and ATITool and whipped our our handy IR thermometer to check the results. After about 20 minutes of load, the chipset heatsink was a balmy 65°C and the nearby MOSFETs at the rear of the board were in the 70°C range. When the CPU fan was further slowed to 5V, the temperature increased to 77°C and 75°C respectively for the chipset heatsink and VRMs. The amount of airflow from the CPU fan greatly influenced the chipset heatsink temperature due to its close proximity. Throughout testing, the chipset cooler was too hot to touch for more than a fraction of a second.

3D PERFORMANCE

To get a rough estimate of how well the NF610i-ITX's onboard video plays games, we ran 3DMark05/06. As a synthetic benchmark, it has limited value, but it should give you a good idea of how well it performs.

3D Performance: Futuremark Comparison
Test
NF610i-ITX
(GF7050)
P5E-VM
(GMA X3500)
M3N78 Pro
(GF8300*)
MA78GM-2SH
(HD3200*)
3DMark05
900
1263
1669
2293
3DMark06
328
676
902
1116
All results with 2GB of system RAM and 256MB of VRAM assigned.
*AM2 systems were equipped with a X2 4850e (2.5GHz) processor.

If there's any situation in which the Geforce 7050 IGP seems dated, its here. With measly scores of 900 and 328 respectively with 3DMark05/06, the board falls far short of the latest AMD offerings, as well as Intel's year-old GMA X3500 IGP.



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