|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 H55ITX-C-E BIOSJust to think this is an HTPC oriented motherboard, I couldn't think it bundled a superb BIOS. With the exception of the H55N-USB3, all other Mini ITX motherboards come with BIOSes lacking of overclocking features. Zotac's H55ITX-C-E BIOS is fairly well done, while it's not as complete as an overclocker want, it still has good functionality. In this section, I've taken apart 3 different screenshots where I think the most important values relay. All other screens and options are still there, as it happens with every other motherboard in the market, so it's not really necessary to show them in each article.
First of all, if you want to set frequency and voltage parameters you need to head to the "Perform Setting" section. There, you can adjust BCLK frequency (called as CPU Clock Setting) and adjust main component's voltages. I've selected the lowest value for CPU vCore, VDIMM and PCH voltage so you can see which values are available in order to get the lowest power consumption. For VDIMM, you can set it down to 1.35v, so that means this motherboard accepts low-voltage kits like the G.Skill ECO (in fact, I used that kit for my tests). As for CPU voltage, this motherboard goes as low as 1.15v, which is good, but some CPUs could be under-volted to 1.05v-1.1v and still work great while saving some energy. You can also adjust iGPU voltage in case you need it.
When you enter Intel PMM Configuration a new window will be displayed where you can enable/disable CPU technologies such as Speedstep, Turbo Boost and C-States. This little menu will be very helpful if you're planning to overclock a little.
Finally, I'm showing Northbridge Chipset Configuration as it lets you set your RAM speed and latencies. Zotac took care to let us modify a good quantity of values here, but it seems they forgot to add a very important parameter; CAS Latency. Per default, CL was set at 1T every time, which gives you the best performance but some memory kits won't be compatible with this parameter.
As you can see, Zotac prepared very decent BIOS which won't be the best for overclockers or high-end enthusiasts, but it suits perfect for an HTPC. They also allow you to modify basic component's voltages and modify some extra parameters regarding CPU, RAM and chipset settings. A negative downside is that Zotac includes no profiles at all, so every time you reset your BIOS, you'll need to setup every parameter again. BIOS updates are done via Windows flash tool, whereas I prefer a built-in option inside the BIOS configuration.