Power Consumption, Performance, Pricing, Final Thoughts
One of the best features of any mini ITX motherboard is their power-saving properties. The 9300-ITX sucked a little more juice than other mini ITX solutions based around CPUs like the Intel Atom, but that’s the price for being able to use a full-size CPU like the E7400. While the final power numbers aren’t extremely low, they are quite lower than the 785G and AMD X3 720 combo, which is to be expected.
There are many things that gave me smiles and frowns during the performance testing portion of our review today. The Zotac board performed exactly where I would expect an almost two-year-old 9300 chipset to perform at against a much newer AMD 785G chipset. The key here is that while the 9300 chipset and LGA775 platform might be considered a “legacy” system, it still provided good performance and worked beautifully in a Windows 7 environment. HTPC users looking to upgrade from an older AM2-based or VIA-based mini ITX system should see quite a few improvements in performance, features, and overall capabilities too.
The main features that drew me to the 9800-ITX in the first place was the onboard PCI-E x16 expansion slot, onboard HDMI, and wireless capabilities. After getting my hands on the board, I realized there were several other key options that should benefit gamers and HTPC builders alike including the optical and coaxial out ports for connecting the board to a user’s high-end entertainment sound system and built-in CUDA technology that should make Blu-Ray playback seamless and lag-free.
On their next mini ITX solution, I hope Zotac looks to create a higher-end version that could possibly use an LGA 1156 or AM3 processor. I’d also like to see upgraded onboard graphics chips and AT LEAST DDR3 dual channel memory because DDR2 is actually more expensive than DDR3 right now. Another “future proof” upgrade would be to add SATA 6GB/s and USB 3.0 functionality. All of these additions could make this board a quick hit with consumers and give a little face time to the mini ITX platform itself.
Pricing and Availability
At the time of this review, the Zotac 9300-ITX WiFi LGA775 mini ITX motherboard wasn’t available at any U.S. online resellers. Zotac does have a list of European resellers that have it in stock for around $164 (99 british pounds).
We’d like to thank Zotac for providing the 9300-ITX WiFi motherboard for our review today. I’ve never tested a mini ITX solution that housed a full-size processor so I initially had my reservations about how it would perform. But, after installing Windows 7 and running our benchmarks, it quickly became apparent that this board was ready for prime time use as in a portable gaming rigs and HTPC systems. I’m sure in a few weeks it will be available at websites like Newegg and Amazon, so stay tuned for updates on pricing and availability.