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ZOTAC IONITX-A-U Atom N330 Wi-Fi N Motherboard Kit E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
Written by Olin Coles   
Sunday, 28 June 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
ZOTAC IONITX-A-U Atom N330 Wi-Fi N Motherboard Kit
IONITX-A-U Specifications
Closer Look: Zotac IONITX-A-U
IONITX-A-U Detailed Features
Testing Methodology
PCMark Vantage Results
EVEREST CPU Benchmarks
Passmark PerformanceTest
CINEBENCH Test Results
ION Gaming Performance
32-bit vs 64-bit Performance
ION Platform Final Thoughts
Zotac IONITX-A-U Conclusion


More than web browsing. More than emails. NVIDIA ION graphics processors turn up the visuals on small PCs with graphics performance up to 10X faster than similar systems. Watch the latest movie releases in full 1080p HD video with true-fidelity eight-channel audio. Leave the competition in the dust in today's most popular mainstream 3D games. And enjoy a full Windows 7 or Windows Vista Premium experience on a system that provides much more bang for the buck than similarly-priced PCs. Why settle for a basic PC when you can have a compact, low-power, full PC experience optimized with NVIDIA ION?

Intel's Atom CPU is characterized by its low power footprint and capable processing ability. Many users who purchase an affordable PC today expect it to perform like a full-size system. Although consumers are looking for a great value for their next PC, they still want hardware capable of handling multi-media content like video, photos, and games at some point during the use of their computer. Consider the parents who purchase a computer which is then co-opted by kids wanting to game. Many games simply won't run with typical integrated graphics. In a business environment, today's users need to be able to manage photos, graphics, and video, and they are often severely limited by the integrated solution in today's Atom-based systems.

Small Mini-ITX Form FactorNVIDIA_ION_Badge_Logo.jpg

ION-based PCs are not only small, they cost less to buy and operate, use less power, take up less space, and are much quieter. Despite its surprisingly small size, the Zotac ION platform is a fully capable motherboard with advanced graphics and impressive multimedia features.

Mini-ITX Form Factor

Mini-ITX is a 17 x 17 cm (or 6.7 x 6.7 inches) low-power motherboard form factor that is slightly smaller than the microATX motherboard form factor. The Zotac ION Mini-ITX board is passively cooled due to the low power consumption of the NVIDIA ION architecture, making it in places where fan noise can detract from enjoyment of the PC. Power is supplied by an external 19V DC power brick.

High Definition Audio (HDA)

High definition audio brings consumer electronics quality sound to the PC, delivering high quality sound from multiple channels. Using HDA, systems can deliver 192 kHz/32-bit quality for eight channels.

Integrated HDMI technology with HDCP

An onboard HDMI connector designed to meet the output protection management (HDCP v1.3a) and security specifications of the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats allows the playback of encrypted movie content on PCs when connected to HDCP-compliant displays. The Zotac ION includes HDMITM for a true-to-life reproduction of Full HD video, and a VGA connector. Both connectors can be used simultaneously to drive separate displays.

7.1-Channel HD Audio via HDMI

Full support for premium 1080p HD video with true-fidelity 7.1-channel audio make designs built with the NVIDIA ION GPU more advanced than any other systems in its class.

NVIDIA Native Gigabit Ethernet Technology

The industry's fastest Gigabit Ethernet performance eliminates network bottlenecks, improves overall system efficiency and performance, and guarantees an ultrafast network connection into the network of other home computers.

Blu-ray Movie Playback

The Zotac ION supports full Blu-ray playback through CyberLink PowerDVD versions 8 and 9 when connected to Blu-ray disc drives like the LiteOn external BD-ROM drive pictured to the right. External BD-ROM drives can be connected to the Zotac ION through one of its six USB 2.0 connections, or via the eSATA connector.

Media Player Classic Home Cinema

Media Player Classic (MPC) is a freeware player that uses the traditional Windows Media Player 6.4 interface, but is packed with modern features. Features include support for many video and audio formats, and full support for NVIDIA GPU hardware acceleration. One of the popular file formats supported by Media Player Classic is Matroska, the extensible open standard Audio/Video container. Matroska is usually found as .MKV files (matroska video) and .MKA files (matroska audio). With Media Player Classic properly configured, the Zotac ION can play large .MKV files, up to 1080p resolution, using NVIDIA GPU hardware acceleration. The movie file is able to play both the video and audio smoothly without any skipping/stuttering while keeping even a single-core Atom CPU load at a minimum.

ION Media and Communications Processor

The NVIDIA ION Platform is powered by the NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GPU, that transforms low-cost Intel Atom-based PC designs into a premium experience. It is fully Windows Vista Premium compliant, and supports Premium DirectX 10 graphics with advanced digital display connectivity. Below are the features built into the NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GPU that powers the ION platform:

  • 16 Dedicated GPU Cores - NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GPUs for Intel redefine the entry-level PC gaming experience. With a revolutionary unified architecture and 16 dedicated GPU cores, they deliver unprecedented performance and detailed environments.
  • NVIDIA CUDATM technology - The 16 parallel processors built into ION are harnessed by CUDATM Software to accelerate a broad range of compute intensive applications, vastly improving your PC's ability to work with visual content such as video encoding.
  • Full Microsoft DirectX 10 Support - A DirectX 10 GPU with full Shader Model 4.0 support delivers unparalleled levels of graphics realism and film-quality effects. NVIDIA ION graphics processors include 16 dedicated graphics cores to deliver the best visual experience.
  • Built for Microsoft Windows Vista - The fourth-generation NVIDIA GPU architecture built for Vista offers the best possible experience with Windows Aero 3D graphical user interface.
  • NVIDIA LumenexTM Engine - Delivers stunning image quality and floating point accuracy with ultra-fast frame rates and a blistering 3.6 billion/second texture fill rate.
  • 16× Antialiasing Technology - High-quality antialiasing at up to 16× sample rates obliterates jagged edges.
  • 128-bit Floating Point High Dynamic-Range (HDR) Lighting - Twice the precision of prior generations for incredibly realistic lighting effects-now with support for anti-aliasing.
  • OpenGL 2.0 Optimizations and Support - Ensures top-notch compatibility and performance for OpenGL applications.
  • 300 MHz RAMDAC - Blazing-fast RAMDAC supports display with high, ergonomic refresh rates up to and including 2048 × 1536 at 75 Hz.
  • NVIDIA nView Multi-Display Technology - Advanced technology provides the ultimate in viewing flexibility and control for multiple digital and analog monitors.
  • NVIDIA PowerMizer System Extensions - The dedicated PowerMizer microcontroller intelligently monitors application and device activity to seamlessly adapt performance to suit the task at hand. By matching the performance to the application, PowerMizer ensures the ION graphics processor provides the longest battery life possible.


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