Viewing page 1 of 8 pages. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 NextZotac IONITX-A: An ION Powered Mini-ITX Board
June 15, 2009 by Lawrence Lee
|| Zotac IONITX-A
Intel's Atom processor has permeated through the market, swiftly gaining dominance
in netbooks and nettops alike. Not particularly powerful, its popularity lies
in its low cost and high energy efficiency. Intel pairs Atom with the outdated 945G chipset, which features
GMA950 graphics. The 945G is actually not that energy efficient, as evinced on Intel's own embedded-Atom boards where the CPU heatsink doesn't have a fan but the NB heatsink does. Still, it is a cost effective choice for platforms where gaming and
high definition video playback aren't required or expected.
Nvidia's ION platform unshackles Atom from Intel's antiquated chipset, joining
it with a more capable partner, GeForce 9400M. The promise is tempting: Small, energy efficient computing with versatile
multimedia capability including full 1080p Blu-ray playback. While ION netbooks and ultra-portable notebooks are only in the launch stage, ION has already
been selling on the street for a few weeks in a mini-ITX embedded Atom desktop from Zotac.
The different IONITX SKUs.
Zotac, a Hong Kong based manufacturer established only three years ago, has made a nice niche for itself
producing affordable, yet capable mini-ITX mainboards for the retail market. It is no surprise that
Zotac would be the first out with a real flesh-and-blood ION product. The IONITX
is available in four different flavors with options for single or dual core
CPUs, power from a regular ATX power supply or a built-in AC/DC 90W unit, and
a mini PCI-E WiFi card. The version we are testing is the IONITX-A-U (the 'U'
is a regional differentiation) it is the most complete package, selling for nearly $200.
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