Board Features

Zotac Z68ITX-A-E
Market Segment Small Form Factor
CPU Interface LGA 1155
CPU Support i3/i5/i7 Sandy Bridge
Chipset Z68
Base Clock Frequency 100 MHz by Default, 100 to 300 MHz in 0.01 MHz increments
DDR3 Memory Speed 1333 MHz by Default, 1067 MHz to 2133 MHz supported
Core Voltage 0 mV to +1020 mV offset
CPU Clock Multiplier CPU Dependent
DRAM Voltage -0.10 V to +0.16 V offset
DRAM Command Rate N/A
Memory Slots Two DDR3-DIMM
Maximum 8 GB, Non-ECC Unbuffered
1067, 1333, 1600, 1867 and 2133 MHz supported
Expansion Slots 1 x PCIe x16 (x16/x16/x0 or x16/x8/x8)
1 x mini-PCIe/mSATA
Onboard SATA/RAID 2 x SATA 6 Gbps (RAID 0, 1, 5, 0+1)
2 x SATA 3 Gbps (RAID 0, 1, 5, 0+1)
Onboard 2 x SATA 6 Gbps
2 x SATA 3 Gbps
2 x Fan Headers
2 x USB 2.0 headers
1 x USB 3.0 header
Power/Reset buttons
Debug LED
Front Panel Audio header
SPDIF output header
Front Panel header
Onboard LAN Dual RealTek RTL8111E Gigabit Ethernet Controllers
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC892 8-Ch High Definition audio CODEC
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX
1 x 8-pin 12V
Fan Headers 1 x CPU
1 x SYS
IO Panel 2 x USB 3.0 Ports (VIA Controller)
4 x USB 2.0 Ports
1 x PS/2 Port
2 x Gigabit Ethernet
2 x Antenna
1 x Clear CMOS button
1 x Optical SPDIF output
Audio Jacks
2 x HDMI 1.4a
1 x mini-DP
BIOS Version 08/04/2011
Warranty Period 1 Year standard, 2 Year Extended (+3 if registered with Zotac)

There are a couple of points we can tell where Zotac have tried to save money to keep the cost of the board down - the dual Realtek NIC and Audio controllers, and the VIA USB 3.0 controller support this idea. However, as mentioned previously, putting dual gigabit Ethernet, power/reset buttons, a debug LED and a mini-PCIe/mSATA on a mini-ITX is impressive for the price of this board.

In The Box

4 locking SATA cables
USB 3.0 Rear Bracket
I/O Shield
Two Antenna
8-pin 12V Power Extension cable
mSATA Stability Bracket
MiniDP to DP Video Adaptor

In a mini-ITX product, these are a lot of extras - particularly the 8-pin power extension cable (possibly to compensate for the position of the 8-pin 12V on the board) and the video adaptor, which by their presence would usually necessitate losing a SATA cable or two, or the USB 3.0 rear bracket, at the $170 product asking price.

Software

As we found out with our previous Zotac review, there isn't any extra software from Zotac for anyone to use - no overclocking or fan manipulation utilities for consumers. This is a double edged sword, as while there is no software to go wrong, it means consumers have to find other software to control their fans, etc.

In terms of the driver install, again Zotac software has no easy 'Install All' option - each one of the drivers must be installed manually and one-by-one, which is unfortunate when most of the other motherboard manufacturers have this utility.

BIOS and Overclocking Test Setup, Temperatures and Power Consumption
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29 Comments

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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

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