|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 Final Thoughts
Why would you use a motherboard like this for your next PC? Well, I've answered this question with the results in the last pages, but let me summarize them all in the final thoughts. First, there's the user who wants an HTPC but will use it also for some light/medium work. That user who will surf the web and listen to music while talking with anybody by an instant messenger application and he hates feeling his computer very slow. Pair this motherboard with a G6950 or the used Core i3 530 processor and there you have an excellent solution for your media center. You'll be able to reproduce HD videos and also have a pretty decent performance while doing multi-tasks and some light and basic processing. Even MP3 conversions or some light games are handled pretty decent with a machine like this. And the best of all, it will fit in a very small case.
Now, there's another kind of people who's looking for a budget's gaming PC. Pair this motherboard with a Core i5 or even a Core i3 CPU and put a high-end GPU like the ATI HD5850 or the NVIDIA GTX 460 and there you have a very decent gaming rig. We've proven that more CPU cores or even high CPU frequency isn't necessary to play the latest games. Actually, the trend is going to GPU, and that means CPU won't be as important as it was in the past to power very decent graphics in a game. Now let's say you want to keep up with the small design and you put your system in the Lian Li PC-Q08 or the newest Silverstone's SG-07 and there you have a very interesting PC. Need more RAM? No problem. This motherboard supports up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM up to 1600MHz.
Unluckily, Zotac doesn't supports the action of installing a Core i7 CPU in this motherboard, neither a Core i5 750 or any Lynnfield based CPU, which limits us to a mid-end system, but not a high-end platform. If you're planning to buy a GTX480 or the latest HD5970, better get a platform which fully supports quad-core CPUs. While I still think my Core i7 860 CPU would fit perfectly in this motherboard as long as I don't overclock it, it might cause stability problems or reduce your motherboard's lifespan. Also, you'll need a better CPU heatsink, but given the fact that you can't use CPU Heatsink back plates, the options get pretty much reduced at the end.
The only downside I can see about this platform, is that those who are used to have additional PCI/PCI-e cards won't be able to use them. For example, I consider myself somehow demanding at audio quality, and so I can't really live with the integrated Realtek's audio chip. Others might want to add a TV Tuner/recorder card to their HTPCs and won't be able to use a high-end GPU. But for the small space this motherboard uses, I can't really demand them to add another expansion slot.
What I'd like to see on Zotac's motherboards, are better software features, as they already include decent hardware components. For example, I'd like to see built-in BIOS flash software instead of doing it in Windows OS. That way is much safer to do the process. Also, I'd like to see some monitoring and overclocking tools, exclusive from Zotac. Also, since this is an HTPC oriented motherboard, it would be nice to see an energy saving function/program to turn off some components when they're not being used and show CPU consumption if possible. You know... it's all about being "eco" friendly. Let's summarize all the tests and thoughts to build the conclusions about the GIGABYTE H55N-USB3 mini-ITX motherboard.