Zotac IONITX-A: An ION / dual-core Atom Mini-ITX Board

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Zotac IONITX-A: An ION / dual-core Atom Mini-ITX Board

Post by MikeC » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:59 am

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No wake on USB

Post by gsacks » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:41 am

I can't believe that Zotac has made this mistake a second time. The lack of wake on USB is a glaring flaw. I suppose you could argue that at power consumption this low, putting the system to sleep is not required. But my HTPC is idle for 16 - 20 hours a day. Why does it need to be on? I read one post over at the egg that a 2nd revision of the board has the wake on USB feature, but I've not seen a second post to corroborate that, or any info on the Zotac web site. I suspect that was just someone's wishful thinking.

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Post by deruberhanyok » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:04 am

The information comes from this page at Anandtech:

http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=601

Zotac says that wake-on-USB isn't currently supported by the PCB and requires a hardware revision to enable it. A new revision of the Zotac Ion board with wake-on-USB support is in the works and Zotac tells me that the new board should be ready in early June.

-----

Thanks for the review. Very informative. I'm not entirely sold on Atom as useful for a small HTPC type of system but Ion has definitely made a difference in my perception of it.

Curious, what chipset are they using in the wifi adapter? I think some of Ralink's chips have low power consumption; I've got two wifi-n adapters using their RT2870 that seem to be pretty frugal on power draw.

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Mon Jun 15, 2009 2:02 pm

glad to see that the public pressure has finally wrestled the Atom platform from Intel.

this was a great review, thank you.

I am going to be getting this lil guy as a second pc, not even for just movie watching.

I wonder when the dual core atom + ion is going to be in netbooks. So far only single core.

Question: If one were not using a little squished case, and say, a good sized mid tower like an antec, would it be safe 24/7 passive?

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Post by ilovejedd » Mon Jun 15, 2009 2:19 pm

~El~Jefe~ wrote:glad to see that the public pressure has finally wrestled the Atom platform from Intel.
I wouldn't count on this in the long term. I think the next iteration of the Atom combines processor/northbridge/graphics into a single chip (Pineview/Pinetrail?).

Good news is, Intel's not the only player. I'm really interested in future products featuring NVIDIA ION/VIA Nano.

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Post by porkchop » Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:38 pm

what an awesome board, love the built in psu.

but having used a netbook for a little while now- i don't think i could ever use an atom full time, the cpu is simply too slow. only when they start kicking out more performance would i consider using one in my main pc :)

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Post by ZotacTuan » Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:17 pm

deruberhanyok wrote:Curious, what chipset are they using in the wifi adapter? I think some of Ralink's chips have low power consumption; I've got two wifi-n adapters using their RT2870 that seem to be pretty frugal on power draw.
It's an Azurewave card with an Atheros chipset.

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Post by Cistron » Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:48 am

Neat! Too bad I've already built my mum's PC at Christmas. The combination with the power-supply makes it a really attractive option.

I'm curious about the nVidia/ARM or Tegra PCs. Windows is all nice and good, but an HTPC would probably run fine with some Linux/Android as well.

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Post by deruberhanyok » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:37 am

ZotacTuan wrote:
deruberhanyok wrote:Curious, what chipset are they using in the wifi adapter? I think some of Ralink's chips have low power consumption; I've got two wifi-n adapters using their RT2870 that seem to be pretty frugal on power draw.
It's an Azurewave card with an Atheros chipset.
Ah, thank you for the quick response! Glad to see more wifi-n showing up as a built-in option.

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Post by croddie » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:44 am

deruberhanyok wrote:The information comes from this page at Anandtech:
Which also states it's a power problem, which means that a powered USB hub should fix it, although they didn't test this.

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Post by psyopper » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:49 am

I wonder about the mini-pcie slot the wifi card is inserted into. And if it's a bootable slot...

I generally run wired networks and it would certianly be interesting to know if I could plop a netbook mini-pcie SSD in there and go "driveless" in an ultra small form factor. Makes using the Mini-ITX cases a lot more bearable.

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Post by blandoon » Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:01 pm

This seems like the best solution so far for a front-end HTPC (or will be once they get the USB issue ironed out). For those running Linux, XBMC with VDPAU video acceleration will take full advantage of the Nvidia hardware.

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Post by K.Murx » Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:44 pm

porkchop wrote:but having used a netbook for a little while now- i don't think i could ever use an atom full time, the cpu is simply too slow. only when they start kicking out more performance would i consider using one in my main pc :)
Funny. I have used a netbook for 8 months now, and I would not consider to buy a "real" PC anymore was it not for an unfortunate gaming habit.
My netbook (900A) has various issues like a (by now) stuttering SSD, the shitty IGP and drivers which are even worse, and not that many external ports.

But an inherent lack of CPU power? I have not noticed that - and I have compiled some pretty complicated programs, written & debugged some simulations, played some old favourite games (Arcanum, MoO2, ...), created presentations and just plainly used this thing. And this is the single core version!
Running flash videos from the web is a bit slow, yes - but it is not much of a hassle to download them first.

For basic home use, much more for a video playback device/home file server/..., an Atom is just fine IMO. Albeit I am running Linux & XFCE, so YMMV.

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Post by KuniD » Wed Jun 17, 2009 4:32 am

I'm tempted to build a couple of these system for my lounge and bedroom, to play HD movies (MKV, 720/1080) over the network from a NAS.

My main concern is playing online content from the likes of Youtube, Hulu and BBC iPlayer.. especially in HD.


The bind I'm stuck is that I need a solution in the next couple of months, but its inevitable Nvidia will bring out a solution that will allow the use of Core 2 Duo. Such a package would have a longer life... but that could be the end of the year, or early next year.

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Post by deruberhanyok » Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:11 am

KuniD - Zotac sells a GeForce 9300 board that supports Core 2 Duo processors... it's pretty much the same chipset. So you could get one of those right now. Or did I misunderstand your meaning?

Also, if HD Flash videos are a concern, if it helps, Adobe is saying GPU accelerated rendering of Flash video is "being worked on" so one of these Ion/Atom boards now may have some trouble with them until a Flash update comes out, then (in theory) the playback will be fine.

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Post by KuniD » Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:08 am

deruberhanyok wrote:KuniD - Zotac sells a GeForce 9300 board that supports Core 2 Duo processors... it's pretty much the same chipset. So you could get one of those right now. Or did I misunderstand your meaning?

Also, if HD Flash videos are a concern, if it helps, Adobe is saying GPU accelerated rendering of Flash video is "being worked on" so one of these Ion/Atom boards now may have some trouble with them until a Flash update comes out, then (in theory) the playback will be fine.
No you didn't misunderstand me, that's definitely a good alternative. ITX over MATX is a nie to have rather than a requirement.


And you're right; drivers/optimising will improve with the Ionitx.

Other issue - why are all ITX enclosures/cases so ugly?

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Post by ilovejedd » Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:24 am

KuniD wrote:Other issue - why are all ITX enclosures/cases so ugly?
Because the Mini ITX form factor was originally targeted for industrial operations where looks (and even noise) do not matter. It wasn't until recently when Intel released the "Little Valley" boards that it gained more prominence and a more affordable price tag. Used to be, you have to pay through the nose for Via's (somewhat underperforming) offerings. Still, the older Via boards I've seen have the lowest power consumption. Pretty slow but for most embedded applications, the speed (or lack thereof) is inconsequential.

We're getting a few decent looking cases now. I'm really liking the looks on this new one from Rosewill. With the popularity of the Atom and possible use as HTPC/extender, I expect we'll see more nice-looking cases in the future.

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Post by KuniD » Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:32 am

Ok I think I've been a bit dense and thought the 775/9300 Zotac board was a MATX - just realised you meant ITX

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/mother ... i-review/1

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Post by ZotacTuan » Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:04 am

KuniD wrote:I'm tempted to build a couple of these system for my lounge and bedroom, to play HD movies (MKV, 720/1080) over the network from a NAS.

My main concern is playing online content from the likes of Youtube, Hulu and BBC iPlayer.. especially in HD.


The bind I'm stuck is that I need a solution in the next couple of months, but its inevitable Nvidia will bring out a solution that will allow the use of Core 2 Duo. Such a package would have a longer life... but that could be the end of the year, or early next year.
Do itttt. I have an IONITX system in the garage to stream video and look up car stuff quickly :).

We also have the GeForce 9300-ITX WiFi that is a similar chipset with PCIe x16 and support for a standard LGA775 processor.

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Post by victorhortalives » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:59 am

Just my 2c worth on this :

I got an early B version from a good German dealer for a decent price and am using it with a Pico90W PSU/Samsung SSD. As I can't use my USB CDunit, I've had to put this in an Antec P182 so that the internal CD unit is reasonably physically accessible.

I had in an Antec 1380 but the one Scythe fan was unbearably noisy with the case in a wood bookcase (bright acoustics).

With the same fan running in the P182, the unit is inaudible as it sits on the floor on a hard carpet (Kelim) AND the CD is reachable without spinal damage, but it looks real silly inside.
I could sublet 90% of the space to a family of pixies.

Overclocking the FSB to 667 runs the unit at 2Ghz from 1.6Ghz - makes a big difference.

I recommend this mobo, but beware the Zotac customer support - not good. The mobo I received had an evaluation copy BIOS in it so is on its way back to the dealer - no thanks to Zotac, who didn't understand what I meant when I said that the BIOS screen said "Evaluation Copy" in big letters.

All my heavy lifting stuff is in my other P182, which is a full PC for video and audio editing etc etc.
Last edited by victorhortalives on Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by KuniD » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:36 am

How stable is the 2Ghz overclock? How significant is the rise in temp?

I'd be interested to see what kind of difference this makes to performance.

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Post by victorhortalives » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:53 am

2Ghz is very stable. I've had no problems at all in the week I was running it at 2Ghz. I am using 2x 2GB 800Mhz Corsair RAM - also makes a difference.

Upping to 2Ghz made the difference from a slow PC to a useable one.
At 1.6Ghz it felt like a PC from 3 years ago. At 2Ghz it felt like my other PC, that uses a normal AMD 4850e with 4x 1GB 667Mhz RAM

I saw no rise in temps at all, but then this is not a very stressed system.
It's only running Email/Web and Open Office, with the occasional large file transfer.
I'm using only one Scythe FDB fan at 600rpm, with temps observed through Speedfan in the high 30s for the CPU and the high 40s for the GPU.

When I get the board back again I'll be able to see what happens if I stress it.

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Post by elendil850 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:09 pm

I'm considering using the IonITX-D-E version and building it into an Antec ISK 300 case.

Anyone know when the IonITX-D-E is going to be available? Most major etailors seem to have it as either "sold out" or "pre-order".
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Post by kevboy » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:44 pm

Any recommendations on a case for this? Was thinking of something that could hold 2 x 3.5" HDDs or 1 x 3.5" and 1 x 2.5", maybe with space for a quiet 120mm fan. No ODD needed.

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Post by ilovejedd » Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:24 pm

elendil850 wrote:I'm considering using the IonITX-D-E version and building it into an Antec ISK 300 case.

Anyone know when the IonITX-D-E is going to be available? Most major etailors seem to have it as either "sold out" or "pre-order".
It might be worth trying Amazon. I think Amazon also has the best price when you factor in free shipping. I pre-ordered mine May 30, it was shipped June 10 and I received it June 12 (gotta love Prime). During that time, it was never listed as in stock even once.

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Post by Greg F. » Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:34 am

I would like to have some things clarified.
Does this little Atom Heart Mother play Youtube and other Flash videos without problem on the O/C settings?
And did you ever determine if the inability to play the VC-1 clip was limited to the specific board tested or is it a problem endemic to this IGP? Has Zotac been forthcoming with information?
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Post by ilovejedd » Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:15 am

Greg F. wrote:I would like to have some things clarified.
Does this little Atom Heart Mother play Youtube and other Flash videos without problem on the O/C settings?
Anandtech has a pretty detailed review regarding Flash performance on the ION.
Anandtech wrote:Image
Greg F. wrote:And did you ever determine if the inability to play the VC-1 clip was limited to the specific board tested or is it a problem endemic to this IGP? Has Zotac been forthcoming with information?
Probably just an issue with Nvidia drivers. I can test some Heroes full HD-DVD VC1 rips when I finish installing OSes.

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Post by nutball » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:54 am

Anybody happen to know if the audio chip (ALC662) on this board supports Dolby DTS Connect? The Realtek website seems to suggest that it's possible but that it requires "optional software", whatever that means.

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Post by Shibirian » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:27 am

ZotacTuan wrote:
deruberhanyok wrote:Curious, what chipset are they using in the wifi adapter? I think some of Ralink's chips have low power consumption; I've got two wifi-n adapters using their RT2870 that seem to be pretty frugal on power draw.
It's an Azurewave card with an Atheros chipset.
What chipset exactly? I cannot find any information about that anywhere. I would need to know this because of drivers for my OSses before I buy the board. (Yeah, I have many various strange non-windows systems.) Hope anyone can help me out here. Would be much appreciated! :)

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Post by Monkeh16 » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:40 pm

Shibirian wrote:
ZotacTuan wrote:
deruberhanyok wrote:Curious, what chipset are they using in the wifi adapter? I think some of Ralink's chips have low power consumption; I've got two wifi-n adapters using their RT2870 that seem to be pretty frugal on power draw.
It's an Azurewave card with an Atheros chipset.
What chipset exactly? I cannot find any information about that anywhere. I would need to know this because of drivers for my OSses before I buy the board. (Yeah, I have many various strange non-windows systems.) Hope anyone can help me out here. Would be much appreciated! :)
If it's an Atheros card it'll work with madwifi or.. probably ath9k, being PCI-E. Assuming you're talking about Linux.

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