Zotac GeForce 9300-ITX WiFi: Good Things Come in Small Packages

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BIOS

For enthusiasts, the options available within the BIOS can make a good board, a great one. The ability to manipulate frequencies, voltages, and fan control settings vary depending on the hardware and the amount of trust placed in the user's hands by the manufacturer. On mini-ITX boards, the options are usually very limited.


"Frequency/Voltage Control."

The board's BIOS allows for limited voltage options. There is no undervolting offered at all, though the CPU and RAM can be overvolted by 0.20V and 0.30V respectively.


"FSB & Memory Config."

Like previous Zotac boards, frequencies are displayed in their effective speeds, rather than base frequencies. The FSB can be set to anything between 400 and 2500 MHz. Memory frequency has two different modes: Linked or Unlinked (to the CPU frequency). Linked mode allows you to choose memory/CPU ratios of 5:4, 3:2, and 1:1. Unlinked lets you to choose any memory speed you like, though the actual speed used varies in increments of between 5 and 18 MHz.


"MCP Hardware Monitor."

The MCP Hardware Monitor offers some simple fan control options. If "CPU SmartFan Control" is disabled, the "CPU Fan Control" option becomes available, allowing you to enter a number between 0 (minimum) and 15 (maximum) to set a static CPU fan speed. The same option is available for the system fan header, though we weren't able to get it to work.

When "CPU Fan Control" is enabled, you can select a sampling period for temperatures and fan speed, as well as setting a "Passive Temperature" though no setting would make the board turn the CPU fan off completely as the word 'passive' suggests.

BIOS Summary
Setting
Options
CPU FSB
400 to 2500 MHz
(100 to 625 MHz base frequency)
CPU Voltage
Default to +0.30V in 0.02V increments
Linked Memory Clock - Memory Ratio 5:4, 3:2, Sync
Unlinked Memory Clock - Memory Frequency
400 to 1400 MHz in varying increments (200 to 700 MHz base frequency)
Memory Timing Control
Basic
Memory Voltage
1.90V (default), 2.00V, 2.10V
Northbridge Voltage
1.10V (default), 1.15V, 1.20V, 1.25V
Integrated Graphics
Core Clock
300 to 1000 MHz (default 450 MHz)
Shader Clock
1000 to 2000 MHz (default 1200 MHz)
Frame Buffer Size
16MB, 32MB, 64MB, 128MB, 256MB, 512MB
Fan Control
Sampling Period 1 sec, 2 sec, 4 sec, 8 sec
Passive Temperature
50°, 55°, 60°, 65°
SmartFan Control Enabled or Disabled
CPU Fan Control (Manual) 0 to 15
MCP Fan Control (Manual)
0 to 15

Compared to other mini-ITX boards, the GeForce 9300-ITX BIOS actually offers quite a lot, though the lack of undervolting is very disappointing. Another thing we noticed missing from the BIOS was Wake-On USB, without which one cannot bring the system out of Standby/Sleep mode using a USB device such as a wireless mouse, keyboard, or remote. This may be problematic for those who wish to use the board as a base for a HTPC to be operated from the comfort of a livingroom couch.



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