Testbed Setup


We used 2x2GB 1600MHz memory kits from A-Data and OCZ to test the memory compatibility of ZOTAC’s newest motherboard. The operating system was installed on a 320GB WD hard drive while the applications were stored by a 1TB WD hard drive. A fresh installation of Windows 7 64-bit was applied to every motherboard before testing.

Intel’s factory heatsink handled the processor cooling duties at the factory frequencies. During overclocking we used a Corsair H50 Hydro cooler to cool the processor although it was hardly needed.

When testing the ZOTAC 8200-ITX we relied on the nVidia chipset for graphics. The H55-ITX used an overclocked XFX 5770 for all tests except where noted. We used the same XFX HD 5770 for all of the DFI MI-P55 tests as well.

While testing the Intel-based motherboards we tried to keep the DDR3 timings as similar as possible. Unfortunately, due to a bug in the H55-ITX BIOS we had to run the CAS latency at 10. Memory frequency on these boards was set at 1333MHz due to fact that the i3 530 does not natively support 1600MHz RAM. Interestingly, the BIOS on the H55-ITX has an option for 1600MHz but choosing it prevents the system from POSTing. However, when the i3 530 was overclocked the memory frequency was bumped up to 1500MHz while using the same timings.

We used two ZOTAC motherboards for our wireless performance test. Our review motherboard, the H55-ITX, has wireless-n capabilities while the other board, the ZOTAC 8200-ITX, uses the older wireless-g standard. We measured the time it took both test systems to transfer a 1GB movie file. In order to simulate a typical HTPC environment the test systems were separated from the wireless-n router by thirty feet and two insulated walls.

For our lone AMD board all benchmarks were run using 4GB of 800MHz DDR2. The main RAM timings were set at 5-5-5-15 while any additional sub timings were left on auto.

We ran two sets of gaming benchmarks on the H55-ITX motherboard. One set uses Intel’s HD graphics while the other uses a HD 5770 from XFX. We have included these to demonstrate the viability of using i3 530’s integrated GPU for graphics.


Power Consumption

For our system power consumption tests we measure the watts being pulled out from the wall socket by the entire system. Keep in mind that power consumption at the wall can vary for a specific system based on the efficiency of the power supply being used. For these tests every power saving option in the BIOSes were turned on.

System Power Consumption - Idle Power

System Power Consumption - Load Power


The Zotac H55-ITX put down some of the lowest idle power consumption numbers that I have ever recorded on a desktop. System consumption under 100% CPU load was very mild as well. Numbers this low would make the H55-ITX ideal for a system that is rarely shutdown, like a HTPC.

Board Layout Gaming Results
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  • wysiwygbill - Saturday, March 6, 2010 - link

    There is apparently a problem with this motherboard that won't allow turbo boost to function. This wouldn't affect the i3 processors where you compared performance with the i3 but you didn't test any i5 processors or compare i7 performance with the DFI.

    I'd be interested to see how much difference the turbo boost would make by comparing i5 performance with the i3 or by comparing the i7 performance with a different motherboard.

    That's assuming you aren't concerned with the DFI bursting into flames should you put an i7 in it. :-)

    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, March 5, 2010 - link

    $150 for this board is pure insanity. MAYBE if they soldered an i3 to the board it might be worth that much. What is the reasoning behind paying over $300 for a mob/cpu/RAM combo for something like an HTPC? How does this possibly justify a 50% premium versus a similar AMD HTPC setup? Reply
  • ROID R4GE - Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - link

    What I am most interested in (and haven't seen anyone mention) is finding out if this motherboard along with and i3 530 can handle playback of a 1080p .mkv file.

    have you done any testing of this type?
    Reply
  • ROID R4GE - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    ok, if anyone is interested. the core i3 and this motherboard can handle a .mkv 1080p movie Reply
  • justniz - Monday, March 1, 2010 - link

    The tests would have been A LOT more informative if you had included figures from the same tests on a full-sized motherboard with the same ram, cpu and graphics card, so we could see exactly how much of a penalty (if any) the just switching to the smaller size board brings. Reply
  • ScavengerLX - Monday, March 1, 2010 - link

    From my experience power consumption between an mATX and its mini-ITX counterpart is generally around a ~5 watts higher. Not a huge difference. I think it would be interesting to see how an ATX system compares to a comparable mini-ITX system though.

    Josh
    Reply
  • willtriv - Monday, March 1, 2010 - link

    DFI had a x55 series ITX board on the market for a few months.
    Unless we are talking about h55 and it was a p55...
    Reply
  • ggathagan - Monday, March 1, 2010 - link

    Yes, this is an H55 chipset, allowing for the use of the i3/i5 on-die GPU, whereas DFI's board is P55, requiring an additional GPU card. Reply
  • karlkesselman - Monday, March 1, 2010 - link

    it seems to me that actually for IDLE power consumption the DFI motherboard is better than Zotac, is it not?
    We have:
    Zotac H55 i3 530 (not igp) = 53 W
    DFI MI-P55 i3 530 (not igp) = 43 W

    So the DFI is 10 W lower on IDLE than Zotac. Can you confirm this? (I assume they use same video card in this case)
    Reply
  • Ben - Monday, March 1, 2010 - link

    Something in a banner ad in this article just tried to install a fake Antivirus on my computer! Reply

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