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  • GeorgeH - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    This review mirrors my experiences with Zotac motherboards - awesome hardware on paper that's completely let down by abysmal BIOS and tweaking support. Reply
  • dlang1234 - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    Heat and noise...

    More interested in those, looks like an awesome HTPC. mini itx usually isn't targeted at a gamer, but Home Theaters or specific in car or other unique installations.

    I'm more interested in how well it would work playing Blu-Rays, streaming media all at 1080p. Audio over HDMI? etc..
    Reply
  • Anosh - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    There's a new version of the bios which seems to fix some of the issues mentioned (XMP, undervolting etc) and it would be great if you could take a look at what they tried to fix and what they actually managed to fix.

    I've had this board under consideration for a long time now since it's one of the few 1155 itx with both displayport and hdmi (and wifi) but I'm glad I didn't go for it since there are so many issues floating around (buzzing, faulty memory slots, doa, lacking bios, stops booting after x months etc) that I would've had to replace it not long after getting.

    I've read retailers are dumping zotac inventory based on the horrible experiences customers have had with this product. Also there seems to be new revision under way.

    I'm typing this on an iPoop so trying to find all the reference links to backup my claims would take forever but search a bit and you'll discover they're easy to find.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1 - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    all the other boards are tested with c300 and this board is tested with vertex3, gibing higher numbers?? Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    We tested the board with both, and both results are given in the graphs.

    OCZ were kind enough to provide Vertex3s for Brendan and I to use in future reviews (Brendan does not have access to a C300), but we currently do not have enough Vertex3 results to warrant a graph using purely Vertex3 results So for the time being we're showing C300 results with an example of what happens with the Vertex3.

    All the best,
    Ian
    Reply
  • Breathless - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    Why would you not have updated the bios prior to doing the review? The bios has been out for quite some time now... Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    Simply put, a lot of people never update their BIOSes from the shipping version, so we have to test that. With the Intel spec issues, when the testing for this board was done, Zotac sent me the BIOS while it was still in beta phase, and I've been in contact with Zotac regarding the issues I was having with that beta release (the DIMM slot not working being a big issue). It seems to have been pushed into a full release since then (as of 9/9), despite my issues. As a result, I have updated the review to notify it is now a full BIOS release.

    Ian
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    Do you have any information on what caused the DIMM slot to fail? There is one guy on HardForums who, after having that problem on his own machine, then went on to test every board he had in stock at his shop. I'm not sure if it's something he was doing, or a fault with the design, but every one he tried had that issue. Reply
  • FATCamaro - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    You barely talked about stability. Reviews are useless without it to me. I'd rather look at the star rating on newegg to figure out whether i want the board or not. It's the single most important aspect, yet it doesn't even get lip service. Reply
  • Iketh - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    how could he comment on stability? if he didnt experience any and thus didn't comment on it, it's quite obvious that it ran fine... newegg's ratings are a bunch of boards from daily users, this is one board that was ran through benchmarks... so how the hell can you ask him to, at the minimum, reproduce newegg's results??? Reply
  • dac7nco - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    I think at this point Zotac has proven that they either don't care about proper MB design, or they just don't care. ASRock has a cheap mITX Z68 board... what was the problem in reviewing that? The fact that a reputable place like Anandtech goes anywhere near Zotac's boards makes me wonder.

    Daimon
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    I agree, Zotac boards are overrated and overpriced. They care more about how their specs look on paper. Not a brand I'd recommend or read about in a review =P, unless they seriously step things up in regards to their BIOS and reliability. Reply
  • Ananke - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    I completely understand that this is a great, feature full board. However, in my sole opinion, it is too expensive for the targeted market. Why would somebody use this plus at least a $100 processor for a HTPC, when the same can be done with $300-$400 budget laptop /which comes with the Win OS btw/, or less than $100 AMD E-350 setup?

    Good for the consumer, since it offers a choice. I guess the same type of people who buy BMW Mini - an expensive pretend-to-be sport car, would buy this too.
    Reply
  • DaveSimmons - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    The target is a small-form-factor _gaming_ PC not a simple HTPC -- for a HTPC you don't need Z68 to allow overclocking am i5-2500K. For pure HTPC use a H61/H67 motherboard and possibly nothing more than a socket 1155 Pentium CPU is enough.

    I wouldn't buy one that always runs my CPU out of spec though.
    Reply
  • Ananke - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    Dave, small form factor gaming PC is an oxymoron. Where are you going to put a high end GPU card on this board? Playing WoW on integrated graphics is not "gaming" for God's sake. Hence my thought, for $170 this board is worthless. It might be interesting if it costs $70 or less. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    People build plenty of small form factor gaming PCs. Get yourself a Silverstone Sugo 5 or 7 case and you can put any dual slot card you want in it. Reply
  • Breathless - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    You don't know what you are talking about. I have this very board in a Lian Li PC-Q08B with an Asus GTX 580 Direct CUii, 2600k, 8GB's of ram and several SSD's. It is fully acceptable to say I have a small form factor gaming PC. Reply
  • DaveSimmons - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    As they said, Silverstone and Lian-li both make SFF gaming cases for mini-ITX, and you can put a GTX 560 ti or AMD 6870 in all of them, or even a higher-end card in a couple of them.

    You can even buy prebuilt gaming systems from CyberPowerPC in the SG07 case (LAN Party EVO Mini).

    Times change, your SFF knowledge is a little out of date.
    Reply
  • Rick83 - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    Gigabyte has been doing something similar on their Cougar Point boards all summer (now the first BIOS versions fixing this are finally coming out)
    There, once you enabled XMP, the CPU was automatically overclocked and overvolted using, afaik, the same turbo-tweak as on this Zotac.

    Not sure what they've been thinking.
    Reply
  • TrackSmart - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    I understand the need to have comparable test conditions for testing the performance of motherboards. That being said, it would be interesting to many of us to see what you can realistically get away with (in terms of a gaming PC) using this form factor and a small form factor case to match... Running at stock speeds, when gaming, would a decent SFF case be able to keep up with the heat of a Z68 processor plus a mid-range GPU? What about an overclocked Z68 plus whatever the most powerful GPU that would fit the case? Is this a viable platform for that kind of computing power to begin with? If not, then the overclocking results aren't very relevant to your testing.

    Keep up the good work on the motherboard reviews. And if it seems feasible, maybe you could cover some of the questions above in a "SFF/Mini-ITX gaming system" article. The key question being whether a SFF gaming rig is an oxymoron.
    Reply
  • DaveSimmons - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    SilentPCReview has covered the Silverstone and Lian-li cases for gaming builds, and CyberPowerPC will build you a SG07 system with a GTX 570 if you want one.

    But yes, some SFF gaming build tests from AT would be welcome as well.

    My gaming system is usually just a single card and 2 x HDDs (or SSD + HDD for my next build) so most of even a micro-ATX case sits there empty taking up space.
    Reply
  • TrackSmart - Sunday, September 25, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the heads up about the articles. I'll check them out. Reply
  • LeftSide - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    Is there any way we could get some power numbers on a power supply that more closely resembles the power load these small HTPC motherboards will be using. I don't understand why you can't review these smaller boards with a good 80% 300 watt PS. Most of the people interested in these boards are interested in HTPC usage and idle load is the most important number. Your power numbers are typically useless, because of the low efficiency a 1000 watt PS will run a 50 watt load.

    The reviews on Anandtech are generally great and very informative, but I don't understand why you even test power consumption when the results are so skewed.
    Reply
  • TrackSmart - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    As a fellow reader of these reviews, I understand that you can't have any consistency in the results unless you test under the same conditions every time. And that means having a powersupply that can handle any build.

    That being said, I agree that some tests with small form factor appropriate hardware would be of interest to folks... Not good for comparing performance differences between boards, but to see what you can do with a real build in terms of performance vs noise , heat, and actual power usage. Maybe they'll do an updated small form factor article. Their last guide was based around low power stuff (look it up), but a higher performance update to that guide would be cool.
    Reply
  • IlllI - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    this board got abysmal feedback over on hardforum.
    some guy had 19 of them die (1+18 replacements if i recall). his company decided to ditch the entire brand due to reliability.
    Reply
  • moolman - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    I didn't try this board but I tried two of the H67 boards. Both boards had defective displayports, they wouldn't work, everything else worked fine. Just beware, I posted and called Zotac for help and it seems they know of the problem but who uses display ports for integrated graphics, so I was probably the only guy complaining about it. But I have a 30" monitor so no choice in the matter. Luckily I bought from Fry's and hence able to try out 2 boards. Ended up with the Intel H56 ITX, glad I did, quieter and uses less energy. Thanks Zotac for sucking. Reply
  • lwatcdr - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    I could see this as a one box server solution for a small business.
    Two nics so configure this as a fire wall.
    WiFi= Wifi access point for the office "If it supports it."
    Two SATA 6 ports Two big drives in a RAID.
    Two SATA 3 ports boot drive/swap/
    MSATA cache.
    Install Asterisk for your phone system, vTiger CRM, an email server, what ever else you want or need.
    USB ports Backup drives, printers, scanners.
    You have the makings of an all in one small business server.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    Does that thing even have a specified efficiency at 50 watts? I dont think the 80 plus applies unless you are at 10% load. Reply
  • waldojim42 - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    I see no reason to drop in a new bios just to compete with other manufacturers. If the others want to compete with Zotac, add in the "out of spec" options for people! I find it odd that it was more "fair" for you guys to kill off one channel of ram, than leave the thing to its higher clock rates.

    I am more interested in how well it handled running 4x over on all cores using stock cooling, than running a crippled machine.
    Reply

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