Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2013 - 02:07 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: H87, zotac, haswell, mini-itx, mini ITX, 802.11n, msata
Zotac has announced a new H87ITX-A-E motherboard, which is a mini-ITX form factor board for Intel's latest generation "Haswell" 4th Generation Core processors. The board is designed for small form factor systems and should enable some low power PCs for HTPC, DVR, home server and desktop tasks.
The board has a unique layout. Zotac has placed four SATA III 6Gbps ports, a single Mini-PCI-E slot, one mSATA (6Gbps) connector, and hte PCH at the top of the board where the CPU socket would traditionally be. The LGA 1150 CPU socket sits just above the single PCI-E x 16 slot and between the VRMs and two DDR3 DIMM slots (maximum of 16GB RAM). There are also headers for four additional USB 2.0 ports and two additional USB 3.0 ports. Zotac is bundling a pre-installed 802.11n Wi-Fi card in the Mini-PCI-E slot.
The Zotac H87 Mini ITX Wi-Fi series board has robust IO that includes:
- 4 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 2 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 5 x Analog audio jacks
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF
- 2 x Wi-Fi antennas
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x DVI
The Mini-ITX motherboard appears to be available in Japan via Amazon's Japanese site, but US pricing and availability are still unkown. From the specifications though, it looks like a capable motherboard that is worth keeping an eye on. If the price translation is accurate, the board may be around $150 when it hits US shores, though that is not the official MSRP (which could change).
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 6, 2013 - 10:31 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: evga, minibox, mini-itx, gtx titan, gk110, gaming, computex, computex 2013
First shown off at CES 2013, the EVGA Minibox is a small form factor chassis for Mini-ITX systems that can accommodate large graphics cards. EVGA has managed to enable users to pack a lot of hardware into this tiny form factor chassis. As a demonstration of the case's capabilities, the company showed off the latest version using a full system build with Core i7-4770K and GTX TITAN interals at Computex this week in Taipei.
The Minibox chassis itself is a dark brushed metal case with two USB 3.0 ports on the front IO and space for a slot loading optical drive. The MiniBox chassis further features a motherboard tray that supports Mini-ITX boards, two 2.5" SATA hard drive bays – and best of all – enough room to install full size GPUs. In order to support lengthy graphics cards, EVGA is including a small form factor 500W power supply that is mounted on the floor of the case..
HEXUS reporters spot the EVGA Minibox at Computex 2013. Look how small it is!
There will be at least two SKUs of the Minibox, depending on whether you want to go with air or water cooling. According to Bit-Tech.net, the air cooled version will use two 92mm fans in the top of the case and one 80mm fan for the bottom-mounted PSU. The water cooled SKU will be slightly larger but have enough room for a water cooling radiator (likely 240mm). Beyond that, details are scarce, but the air cooled version is said to be available as soon as next month with water cooled options becoming available later this year.
The Minibox looks to be one of the better Mini-ITX cases out there (although the price is still unknown), and should be popular among enthusiasts wanting a small box that does not sacrifice gaming potential.
Subject: Motherboards | June 4, 2013 - 03:12 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ROG, mini-itx, mini ITX, maximus vi impact, maximus vi, computex 2013, computex, asus
ASUS held a Republic of Gamers press conference earlier today that focused on new product announcements for its ROG brand. Among the new ROG gear was the company's first Mini-ITX ROG motherboard with the ASUS Maximus VI Impact motherboard.
This board may be tiny, but it is packed with features and overclocking-friendly hardware! This Mini-ITX motherboard is clad in the red and black ROG color scheme and features ASUS' Impact Power add on card that takes the VRMs and other electrical regulation hardware up off of the mainboard and into a separate add in card above the CPU. This Impact Power riser card includes a 8+2 digital power phase for both the CPU and memory. The board also includes a SupremeFX Impact sound card and a mPCIe Combo II card. The SupremeFX Impact module uses ELNA audio capacitors and features a headphone amplifier and 115dB SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio). Further, the mPCIe Combo II card provides a NGFF (think of this as next-generation mSATA) slot as well as 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless radios.
Apart from the bundled ASUS cards, the board provides a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, two DDR3 memory slots, four SATA 3 ports, and (of course) the LGA 1150 CPU socket ready to accept an Intel Haswell processor. The board comes with a standard 24-pin ATX and 8-pin CPU power connectors.
The rear IO panel includes:
- 2 x HDMI
- 1 x S/PDIF
- Impact Control and BIOS reset buttons
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 1 x eSATA
- 4 x USB 3.0
- 1 x RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet
- 3 x Audio jacks (via SupremeFX sound card)
ASUS has not yet announced pricing or availability for this Mini-ITX Maximus VI Impact motherboard, but it looks like a solid board and I am anxious to see how well it overclocks!
Also read: ASUS Z87 Motherboard Lineup Preview @ PC Perspective.
Subject: Systems | May 31, 2013 - 07:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: htpc, mini-itx
Building a mini-ITX system that is small enough to be attached to the back of a monitor or hidden with your stereo components takes a bit more thought than assembling a full ATX system. It is not just about the size of the components you are purchasing, heat dissipation is much more important in a small system especially if it will be located somewhere that does not have great air circulation. TechSpot has put together a guide for those thinking of building such a system, using the Akasa Euler Case as the housing and powered with a Core i5-3470T. As you can see from the picture below, the final system is smaller than an HD7970.
"The idea behind the Thin Mini-ITX form factor, besides the obvious which is to create seriously compact computers, is also to allow for DIY all-in-ones (think of little PCs you can attach to the back of your monitor). Having that said, we don't fully intend to go the all-in-one route in this article, but are aiming to build a powerful Thin Mini-ITX system that can be used in the office or at home as a media PC.
This is what our finished system should look like: extremely compact, powerful, and near silent operation, as in no-moving-parts silent. For less than $700 including a 256GB SSD, we believe you'll love what the final product will look like."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Sapphire Edge HD4 @ Bjorn3D
- Streacom F7C EVO HTPC Chassis @ eTeknix
- Fractal Design Node 605 Silent HTPC Case Review @ Legit Reviews
- Leawo Total Media Converter Ultimate @ Benchmark Reviews
- Samsung BD-F7500 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Analogix Semiconductor SlimPort Cable (HDMI Adapter) @ Tweaktown
Subject: General Tech | May 22, 2013 - 06:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: fractal design, mini-itx, case, Node 304
Fractal Design is launching a new version of its existing Node 304 computer chassis. The new Node 304 White comes in white and supports Mini-ITX motherboards. The case measures 250 x 210 x 374mm and weighs 4.9kg.
The Node 304 is constructed of aluminum and has a white painted exterior. There are two mesh air vents on either side of the case as well as two 92mm Silent Series R2 fans working as front intakes behind filters to keep dust out of the case. Front IO includes two USB 3.0 ports and two audio jacks. The rear of the case features two expansion slots, a space for an ATX power supply, and a single 140mm Silent Series R2 exhaust fan.
Internally, the Node 304 White can fit standard ATX power supplies, a Mini-ITX motherboard, and up to six 3.5" or 2.5" hard drives. Alternatively, with two of the hard drive mounts removed, the case can accommodate graphics cards up to 310mm in length.
It is a minimalist design,but one that works well. Airflow should not be a problem even for high-end components, and the inclusion of the three fans, filters, and a fan controller is nice to see. The case will be available in July with an MSRP of $89.90 in the US and 69.90 EURO in Europe.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 26, 2013 - 12:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: noctua, nh-l9a, hsf, cooler, mini-itx, low profile cooler
Noctua, an Austrian company known for its high-end air CPU coolers has announced that it will be offering up alternatvie mounting kits to users of its low profile NH-L9a cooler that have incompatible motherboards. Certain mini-ITX motherboards that place components on the back of the motherboard around the processor socket are incompatible with the company’s existing SecureFirm 2 mounting kit because the backplate cannot be installed.
The new alternative mounting system for the NH-L9a CPU cooler uses Noctua’s NM-APS3 spacers that go in place of the standard backplate. The spacers go in between the motherboard and screws, but are small enough to not run into any components installed in the area normally reserved for a CPU backplate. Two such boards that Noctua has found to be incompatible are the mini-ITX AsRock FM2A75M-ITX and AsRock FM2A85X-ITX.
Users with an incompatible motherboard and NH-L9a cooler can obtain the alternative mounting kit for free by contacting Noctua’s customer service line and providing them with a proof of purchase (scan, photo, or electronic invoice) receipt for both the Noctua cooler and an incompatible motherboard. Additionally, Noctua will be including both the standard SecureFirm 2 and alternative mounting kits in the retail NH-L9a cooler box from now on.
It is nice to see Noctua continuing its tradition of good customer care. They many not be as popular as other cooler vendors in the US but it seems they are a company willing to go the extra mile for its enthusiast customers.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The Z77N-WiFi is GIGABYTE's latest edition to the Mini-ITX lineup. Although the board is not as packed with features as some of the other enthusiast-minded mini-ITX boards, GIGABYTE did some interesting things with the board layout to space components out on the board more evenly. The Z77N-WiFi even comes standard with dual-Realtek GbE NICs and an Intel 802.11n-based WiFi mPCIe card. We put the board through our normal gamut of tests to see how well this mighty mite sized up with its full-sized brethren. The Z77N-WiFi board comes with an equally reasonable retail price at a mere $129.99.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 19, 2013 - 07:03 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PC-Q28, PC-Q27, mini-itx, Lian Li, aluminum case
PC Chassis manufacturer Lian-Li has launched two new mini-ITX cases that will be available next month. The PC-Q27 and PC-Q28 are both brushed aluminum cases that accommodate a single graphics card, a mini-ITX motherboard, at least one case fan, and several hard drives.
The PC-Q27 is the smallest of the two cases at 7.8” x 11.8” x 9.4.” The case is constructed of aluminum and the outside features a black or silver brushed aluminum finish. The front of the case features a single 5.25” optical drive bay, a LED-lit power button, and two USB 3.0 ports on the right side of the case. Internally, the PC-Q27 case uses Lian-Li’s rail motherboard mounting system for mini-ITX boards. It can host a single graphics card up to 195mm in length, two 3.5” hard drives, and one 5.25” drive. The case is cooled by a single 120mm bottom-mounted fan when the hard disk drive bay is removed. To facilitate airflow, the case has vents along the bottom and rear of the case. The case is held up by case feet to allow the fan to pull in cool air.
Meanwhile, the PC-Q28 is a bit larger and wider at 8.9” x 12” x 13.5.” IT also comes in a silver or black brushed aluminum design. This case is the successor to Lian-Li’s PC-Q18. It can hold a mini-ITX motherboard, a single GPU up to 290mm in length, and up to seven 3.5” hard drives. The mini-ITX case features two removable hard drive cages and two fans. There is a single 140mm fan located on the bottom of the case that acts as an intake (and includes a dust filter to keep the case internals clean), and one 120mm exhaust fan on the top of the case. The outside of the case features four case feet to lift the case off the ground, rounded corners, and a simple front panel that host a power button and 5.25” drive bay. The right side of the case hosts two USB 3.0 ports and two analog HD audio jacks.
Both of Lian-Li’s new mini-ITX cases will be available sometime in May. The smaller PC-Q27 has an MSRP of $78.99 while the PC-Q28 will cost $118.99.
Read more about the Mini-ITX form factor at PC Perspective!
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 3, 2013 - 10:14 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nvidia, mini-itx, gtx 670, GK104, directcu mini, asus
ASUS has finalized the design for its Kepler-based DirectCU Mini graphics card. The new card combines NVIDIA's GTX 670 GPU and reference PCB with ASUS' own power management technology and a new, much smaller, air cooler. The new ASUS cooler has allowed the company to offer a card that is a mere 17cm long. Compared to traditional GTX 670 graphics cards with coolers at approximately 24cm, the DirectCU Mini is noticeably smaller.
The DirectCU Mini features a GTX 670 GPU clocked at 928MHz base and 1,006MHz boost. It also has 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit bus. The card requires a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector. Video outputs include two DVI, one DisplayPort, and a single HDMI port. The ASUS cooler includes a copper vapor chamber and a single CoolTech fan. According to ASUS, the DirectCU Mini is up to 20% cooler and slightly quieter than previous GTX 670 cards despite the smaller form factor.
This new card will be a great addition to Mini-ITX-based systems where saving space anyway possible is key. It is nice to know that gamers will soon have the option of powering a small form factor LAN box with a GPU as fast as the GTX 670. Even better, water cooling enthusiasts will be happy to know that the card still uses a reference PCB, meaning it is compatible with existing water blocks made for the current crop of GTX 670 cards.
Pricing and availability have not been announced, but the small form factor-friendly GPU is now official and should be coming sometime soon.
Subject: Motherboards | March 8, 2013 - 06:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: roundup, motherboards, mini-itx, celeron 847, APU, amd e-450
While high end motherboards and processors tend to get the most attention from enthusiasts, sometimes less is better (*waits for Josh to stop laughing on the podcast). More often than not seen integrated in small form factor OEM boxes, there are a few motherboards out there that come as a bare board and integrated processor to be the basis of low power desktops, network devices, and home theater PCs. Both Intel and AMD have hats in the low power game, and Hartware.de has pitched four such low power boards against each other. The MSI C847MS-E33-847 and Biostar NM70I pack Intel Celeron 847 CPUs, The Zotac D2550-ITX WIFI hosts an Intel Atom D2550 processor plus a NVIDIA GT 610 IGP, and the ASUS E45MI-M Pro is powered by an AMD E-450 APU.
Hartware.de puts several low power boards into the thunderdome to see which one(s) reign supreme.
As it turns out, the results are nearly in line with what one might expect. The Atom D2550-powered system was the slowest, the APU and ASUS motherboard was the fastest, and the Celeron was somewhere in the middle. The AMD E-450 APU used the most power, and the system was one of the most expensive, however. Interestingly, the Atom system was not all that much more power efficient than the Celeron despite the lower performance and weaker hardware. The Celeron 847 chip had decent CPU performance, and mid-range power and some of the best thermals. All of the configurations were able to playback media, but the AMD system gave the most fluid results.
If you are in the market for low power system parts, the review is worth checking out.
Here are some additional Motherboard reviews from around the web:
- GIGABYTE Z77N-WiFi Mini-ITX @ TweakTown
- ASRock Z77 Pro4-M LGA 1155 @ HardOCP
- Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-UP4 FM2 @ PC Perspective
- ASRock's Z77E-ITX Mini ITX @ The Tech Repot
- ASUS Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 @ OCaholic
I'm pleasantly surprised at all the Mini-ITX motherboards being made lately.