Oooh, people like it. I must admit that Zotac did an excellent job on the world’s first mini-ITX Atom/Ion motherboard. The product is interesting enough to warrant a follow-up, answering some of your questions that I didn’t address in the original review.

Wake on USB: Flaky at Best

The first question you all asked was whether or not the Zotac Ion board properly supports Wake on USB. When the Zotac board goes into a sleep state can it be “woken up” by hitting a key on a USB keyboard, moving a USB mouse or even using a media center remote control?

Unfortunately the answer appears to be: no, at least not reliably.

I configured Windows Vista to put the system to sleep after one minute and then tried to wake it up. With a Dell USB keyboard and Logitech G5 USB mouse hooked directly up to the Zotac board, neither could pull the machine out of its sleep state. However, if I use the keyboard and mouse through my iogear KVM then the mouse will wake the machine up. The keyboard won’t wake it up at all. Your best bet is to tell the machine to never go to sleep. Drawing less than 25W at idle, it’s not the worst thing in the world, but I’d still rather Zotac made it work properly.

I contacted Zotac about the issue but have yet to hear a response. It turns out that the same problem exists on Zotac’s LGA-775 GeForce 9300 board so I don’t have high hopes for a quick fix at this point. I’ll keep pushing from my end to see if we can get somewhere with it.

Zotac Ion: 720p Gaming Performance
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  • jimbolicious - Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - link

    i purchased a Zotac IONITX-D-E from Newegg a couple of weeks ago and am currently running it as a low power secondary system for the Mozart TX in the living room. it has no problems waking from usb with the diNovo Edge. as a matter of fact it even wakes when i put the keyboard in the charger (kind of annoying there, but it does work... i've found the trick is to turn the keyboard off and get it into the cradle before the system is completely asleep).

    i am noticing that Core Temp shows the CPU at around 67 to 70 degrees C with the CPU fan attached and running, but the heat sink is very cool to the touch.

    flash video is pretty darn flaky in my limited experimentation (luckily, i don't watch it very often).

    i am running Windows 7 Professional with 2 x 2GB of DDR2 800 and a 1TB WD Green and for the most part, this thing is pretty darn snappy... well, snappier than i thought it'd be, anyhow.

    thanks for the article! i found it very informative!
  • apanloco - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link

    Can you boot this board from a USB stick? The manual only states hard-drive and cd-rom, but I doubt they've missed out on something that fundamental :)
  • jimbolicious - Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - link

    i used a usb drive to load Windows 7 Professional onto mine and it worked fine.
  • Namratalouver - Monday, May 25, 2009 - link

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  • estyx - Thursday, May 21, 2009 - link

    I have been in contact with Zotac, because I want to use a mini-PCIe SSD disk to keep it small and silent, and it turns out the BIOS doesn't support booting via mini-PCIe. At least not yet. I'm waiting for an answer from them if they will include it in a later BIOS version.
    So now you know that :) If there is any interest I can keep you updated on the matter.
  • icrf - Thursday, May 21, 2009 - link

    I'm curious, why use a PCIe SSD when there are three SATA ports available? Is space/power that big of a concern?
  • snarfies - Tuesday, June 9, 2009 - link

    My mini-ITX NAS uses four drive connections. I boot from a CF-Card reader. I have two drives set up as RAID1. I have an optical drive. As near as I can tell, the only Atom-based ITX board on the market with enough drive connections is the MSI IM-945GC, which is what I'm currently using. If only the Ion had one more SATA port...!
  • sprockkets - Thursday, May 21, 2009 - link

    They are much cheaper. And, when using a really small mini-ITX case, it makes for a really easy build.

    They do show up as a SATA or PATA device, so you should be able to boot up from it, if it supports booting from add on cards. It isn't any different from an add on SATA or PATA controller in a pci slot.
  • abscode - Thursday, May 21, 2009 - link

    That would be great! I also would like to use a mini-PCIe SSD for some of my car pcs. Hopefully they are interested in adding this ability soon. abscode[\@\]gmail{|dot|}com
  • Fanfoot - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - link

    So, you still couldn't do HD full screen playback, even at 720p, which is presumably what you'd run the system at if you hooked it up as a media center PC.

    What about after you cranked it up to 1.9MHz? Did that resolve the issues, or was it still unacceptable?

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