|Zotac H55ITX-C-E Mini-ITX WiFi Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Servando Silva|
|Wednesday, 13 October 2010|
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Zotac H55-ITX-C-E Mini-ITX Motherboard Review
The H55 platform somehow appeared at the end of 2009. It basically is a P55 platform with reduced capabilities (RAID for example), but with the ability to use the integrated Intel HD graphics unit on Intel Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs based in Clarkdale's architecture. This way, you're able to build an HTPC with very decent performance and a graphics processor capable of reproducing HD content and some very light gaming on a small case. While this kind of systems were interesting, it wasn't as interesting as a Mini-ITX sized motherboard. Things finally changed when Zotac's company finally decided to launch a Mini-ITX H55 platform capable of using Clarkdale's processors and offering a PCI-e port to add raw gaming power to the PC; the H55ITX-A-E. Today, we're testing its new successor, the H55ITX-C-E.
Benchmark Reviews recently tested similar products such as the ASRock Core 100HT and the GIGABYTE H55N-USB3 Motherboard. The first one is an all-in-one HTPC system, and it comes equipped with low power consumption parts. However, the H55N-USB3 received our Golden Tachometer award for being a beast inside a small package. The only cons we could manage to talk about were the not included WiFi module, no SATA 3 support, and a PCB which could give us some difficulties in the installation process. It seems Zotac has heard about this and improved their Mini ITX motherboard while adding USB 3-0 support to the H55ITX-C-E. Have a look at their retail's package:
Zotac specifies that their H55ITX-C-E motherboard is specially designed for Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs. So, don't get too excited about putting a Core i7 CPU and push it up to 4GHz in this board since that's not going to happen due to the electric design. Still, this motherboard should be able to put some extra MHz with a Core i3/i5 CPU and some decent memory.
There are always things to sacrifice when reducing the size to mini-ITX specifications. For example, you can't have lots of S-ATA ports for HDDs/SDDs, but Zotac still managed to include 6 S-ATA ports instead of the 4 ports included in the ECS and GIGABYTE'S models. You can also forget about multiple PCI/PCI-e cards, and finally, there's always less room to add power phases, which normally means it won't support high-end processors. That or overclocking abilities will be physically limited by the board's specifications. During our Review, we will submit the Zotac H55ITX-C-E to all these kind of tests and find out how it behaves against the rest of the competitors (currently available at the market); the ECS H55H-I and the GIGABYTE H55N-USB3.
Manufacturer: Zotac International
Product Name: H55-ITX-C-E
Model Number: H55ITX-C-E
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Zotac International.