A little over two months ago NVIDIA and Zotac unveiled the world's first mini-ITX motherboard based on the Ion platform, err chipset. NVIDIA's Ion, as you may remember is a rebranded NVIDIA's GeForce 9300 chipset with integrated graphics, currently run alongside Intel's Atom processor.Zotac's Ion is a mini-ITX motherboard based on Intel's Atom + NVIDIA's Ion and fared rather well in our initial review.

From left to right (ATX, micro-ATX and Zotac's mini-ITX Ion)

As a bedroom HTPC or even something technically powerful enough to run a real home theater, Zotac had a winner with its Ion - there was just one problem: wake-on-USB didn't work. If Zotac's Ion went to sleep, moving your mouse, hitting a key on your keyboard or pressing a button on your media center remote wouldn't wake it back up.

The initial revision of the motherboard powered the USB ports through the 5V rail off of the power supply. When the motherboard enters S3 sleep (Suspend to RAM), 5V power is shut off and thus the USB ports can't respond to any activity.

Zotac has since redesigned the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) and connected standby power to the USB ports. Now when the motherboard enters S3, the USB ports still have power and can wake the system up if there's any activity on a USB device.

NVIDIA sent me an updated Zotac motherboard, "easily" identified by markings on the back of the motherboard:

The part number of the old motherboard

The part number of the new motherboard, take note of the last four characters: J10F, the 1 indicates wake on USB works.

My original Zotac board wouldn't wake up if I had my Logitech G5 USB mouse or my Dell USB keyboard connected to any of the USB ports. The new one springs to life like a good little HTPC motherboard. The good news? The problem is fixed. The bad news? As far as I can tell there's no way to tell you have a new motherboard without first opening the box.

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  • madmachinist - Sunday, August 30, 2009 - link

    Has anyone tested a mini PCIe SSD in the mini PCIe slot? The reason I ask is that I have a runcore SATA mini PCIe SSD Leftover from an EEE PC that I sold. I really am hoping that the mobo would recognize the SSD correctly and be able to boot from it.
  • lemon8h8ead - Thursday, August 20, 2009 - link

    Yeah, my Zotac ION Rev 1 does not wakeup on USB. Funny thing though it wakes up when I type a key on my PS2 keyboard. And to think that I nearly through it out! (:
  • lec - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    Did anyone found this new version of the board in Europe ? So far, all the shops I have contacted either don't know, or are still selling the first version.....
    I guess I should wait that all suppliers get out of stock before they get the new version from the manufacturer ;-)
  • ProDigit - Saturday, August 8, 2009 - link

    Ok,so we need to get our lazy asses off the couch, and actually press the power knob;
    "Oh no! Please; not the power knob!!"

    I mean, by no means the first version is that bad, and only for a small percentage will mean something.
    Even as a HTPC, the box might be about as close to reach as a remote control or keyboard for many...
  • shumba - Friday, August 7, 2009 - link

    If anyone reading this has successfully purchased a rev2 board, could you please let us know where you bought it. Thanks!
  • Visual - Friday, July 31, 2009 - link

    with the 785G out now, why do they bother releasing new revisions using the 780G?
  • kitonne - Wednesday, August 5, 2009 - link

    Because 780G has IDE, serial and parallel ports (Asus M3A78-EM for example, see manual for the parallel and serial headers) and 785G does not? And there are people who do not feel like replacing their UPS (serial connection), label printer (serial connection) or old HP laserjet (parallel port) or buying additional USB to serial and USB to parallel adapters just to help the economy roll along? Not to mention that potential buyers may have a couple of CD/DVD readers with IDE interfaces ready to be reused, and that 780G motherboards are cheaper, fully debugged by now, and work very well for DVD playback via HDMI....

    I have used a 780G based board with a pair of monitors (1920x1200 and 1600x1200) and it worked quite well, including TV viewing via external TV tuner (standard NTSC) and DVD playback / avi file playback.

    I can see a micro 785G in a home theater w blue ray (although 780G seems to be OK in that role as well), because of its better video, but from what I have seen so far the better video does not compensate for the missing peripherals, specially at a higher price point.
  • MichaelD - Thursday, July 30, 2009 - link

    I almost pulled the trigger on one of these two days ago but didn't do it for some strange reason...glad I didn't. This problem is not a minor one, IMO. Shame that the fix requires an entire new PCB and couldn't just be fixed with a BIOS update.

    People have been waiting for these boards for months. Now that they're finally getting into retailers hands, they all have this bug. It'll take more months just to get "the bad boards" stock moved so you can get a Rev2. Oh well. No HTPC for another few months, I guess.
  • sbrown23 - Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - link

    Have there been any comparison tests on Atom platforms to see if Atom can handle Silverlight HD video better than Flash? It would be interesting to see ...
  • Zelog - Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - link

    Wonder how much work is involved in pulling some wires yourself, and if Zotac would consider giving us a little guide, voiding warranty, naturally :)

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