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 Post subject: Zotac NF610i-ITX: Compact, low cost, Core 2 solution
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:25 pm 
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Zotac NF610i-ITX: Compact, low cost, Core 2 solution

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:40 am 
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This motherboard, while cheap, is outclassed by the Intel DG45FC ($150) in so many ways:
-graphics are worse than X3500 but DG45FC has X4500 with hardware video acceleration and HDCP if you need it
-it has legacy connections while the DG45FC has modern connections
-it does not even have a single digital video connection, while the DG45FC has two independent digital connections
-it does not have dual channel memory. DG45FC has all modern conveniences, even RAID.
-it looks like it is slightly higher power than the DG45FC, although that could be because it was paired with an old processor. E7200 or E5200 will often be the best processor choices for this sort of system.

This article is helpful in motherboard choice (ie don't get it) but the most helpful article for mini-itx systems would be how to build a quiet one, a good case/power supply/fan combination for a basic HTPC system with 1 HDD and 1 optical drive. That's the real difficulty in mini-itx now that good G45 and 780G/790GX motherboards are available.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:50 am 
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I agree that reviews of mitx cases should be done. The difficulty is finding ANY suitable candidates for silent computing. Why? Small fans that must spin at high speed are integral to virtually all mitx cases I've examined. I'm talking about smaller than 80mm. 60mm is typical, and smaller is quite common.

This is the single biggest collection of fanless mitx cases I've found:
http://www.logicsupply.com/categories/cases/fanless

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:22 pm 
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Yes that's true. And those fanless ones tend to be for very lower power systems like via. Maybe now that good motherboards are out, good cases will start to appear.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:08 pm 
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I think the current mini-ITX case dilema for people who want to make a full featured PC is that Via invented the form factor with their own ultra low power gear in mind. Using conventional desktop-style cooling isn't going to cut it for systems that idle at 40W in a tiny case. I think the solution is simple enough, make the damn cases wide enough to accommodate 80mm or better yet 92mm fans. Sadly, people seem to really want 3" thick cases for their HTPC. I don't know why, either, as a decent A/V receiver is a 5-6" thick, if not more. To me, the perfect form factor for mini-ITX case is 12"X12"X6", but of course nobody makes such a thing -- not even close. Maybe we'll be bailed out on the other end by someone who finally makes a low idle power chipset and VRM design to couple with modern processors. With today's CPU idling down around 5W, it is pretty sad that you can't find a MB to pair them with that doesn't use 25W on its own.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:34 pm 
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@MikeC: Any chance of a picture of the board with a massive CPU heatsink attached? :wink: It would look funny to see a giant Thermalright, Noctua or Scythe (Coolermaster GeminII?!?) with a Mini-ITX board bolted on to it as an afterthought.

A shot of a CPU heatsink attached would also show up how much space you can reasonably use for a larger chipset heatsink if that is a concern.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:11 am 
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jessekopelman wrote:
To me, the perfect form factor for mini-ITX case is 12"X12"X6", but of course nobody makes such a thing -- not even close. Maybe we'll be bailed out on the other end by someone who finally makes a low idle power chipset and VRM design to couple with modern processors. With today's CPU idling down around 5W, it is pretty sad that you can't find a MB to pair them with that doesn't use 25W on its own.

Yes but even with low power modern processors you are looking at 20W load power consumption and that heat has to be taken care of.
12"*12"*6" can accomodate micro-atx so I don't think that's a fair size for mini-itx. A mini-itx board is 6.7" square so 7"*8"*4" or 7"*7"*5" or so would be an ideal size that would accomodate an 80mm fan.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:38 pm 
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croddie wrote:
Yes but even with low power modern processors you are looking at 20W load power consumption and that heat has to be taken care of.
12"*12"*6" can accomodate micro-atx so I don't think that's a fair size for mini-itx. A mini-itx board is 6.7" square so 7"*8"*4" or 7"*7"*5" or so would be an ideal size that would accomodate an 80mm fan.

20W is easily doable. This is pretty much where the Via boards these current mini-ITX cases were designed for max out. It is when you try and get above 20W that you run into problems. When your chipset alone is a constant 20W, you're fighting an uphill battle. As for fitting a µATX in a 12"X12"X6" case -- good luck to you! How are you going to get the drives in there? They will have to overhang/underhang the MB, which is going to create some major restrictions in what kind of heatsinks, fans, and PCI cards you can use. Also, you will almost definitely be forced to use an external PSU. Given the limitations of what you would actually be able to do with the µATX board once you got it in there, you might as well start with a mini-ITX and have a bit more room to work with for an easier installation. There is a reason there is no current µATX case with both a width and a depth below 13.5". Anyway, maybe I wasn't clear. When I said 12"X12"X6" was the perfect size, I meant for a full featured desktop chipset PC using today's mainstream gear. Obviously if you are just trying to build a thin client, router, or the like, you can get by with a much smaller case. Right now, to get full features in a really tiny case you need to use expensive parts like mobile CPU and SSD drives. The idea behind 12"X12"X6" is that it would be smaller than any available µATX case but still accommodate all mainstream (ie cheap) parts. My real complaint was about the height, anyway, which is always too short for any flexibility in cooling and expansion cards. 10"X10"X5" could work well enough, but I'd argue that aesthetically that is no better and just makes things overly cramped to work in.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:37 pm 
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Typo alert! 2nd page.

"There are two fan headers, one 4-pin PWM header near the back panel and one standard 3-pin header below the BATA ports."


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