Zotac H55-ITX Review

Packaging & Initial Impressions

 

Packaging and Initial Impressions

 

Zotac H55-ITX     Zotac H55-ITX

 

Zotac H55-ITX

 

 

After greeting your friendly delivery man and clawing apart (like a honey badger, perhaps) any outer packaging you will find a relatively strong, black and orange, Zotac themed box. At this stage you should have already realised quite how small this motherboard is, as the box is about as large as a small birthday cake.

 

Zotac H55-ITX

 

 

When you open the box, the first thing you'll find is the board itself and underneath it you will find it's respective accessories. Speaking of accessories, the H55-ITX comes with an I/O shield, Manual, Driver CD and 3 x SATA II cables.

 

Zotac H55-ITX     Zotac H55-ITX

 

Fully unravelled, here lies the Zotac H55-ITX in the flesh. With a component density similar to that of the population density of Tokyo Japan, it's quite evident that not so much as a square inch of real estate has gone to waste. Zotac have been able to cash in on the absence of a physical southbridge chip to  allow for the implementation of other devices. With some further arrangement they have managed to implement a wide range of features.

 

Zotac H55-ITX     Zotac H55-ITX

 

How about a shot of it's I/O panel? Fully populated with Video, Audio, USB, e-SATA and even legacy PS/2 outputs, Zotac could not have offered any more to the end user... except Firewire perhaps.

 

The Atheros 802.11n Adapter features two Antennae outputs for optimised transfer rates and reliability. Router allowing, it is possible to operate a transmission rate of 300Mbps. Not too shabby at all.

 

 

The installation process was mostly trouble free. However, I did happen to note a problem with the Driver Disc in that it's Autorun function doesn't work. In order to install the drivers, I had to navigate through the CD and manually locate them.

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Most Recent Comments

07-04-2010, 03:10:08

tinytomlogan
Mul has his soap box out again and is trying to convince us all again small is better....

Continue Reading

07-04-2010, 05:11:13

Diablo
Really nice looking board. I love the mini itx form factor, but am always stumped by fitting a graphics chip as the powersuplies aren't built to take them. This one looks very good for a media PC, or for a mini gaming box.

With the GMAHD from the CPU, will it handle basic media duties like bluray as its 9300 predessecor would?

07-04-2010, 05:39:27

Santa-san
Looks pretty good!

07-04-2010, 08:10:34

Athan
Nice review. However you didn't mention anything about board's limitations like the confirmed by Zotac incompatibility with any PCI-E device except a graphics card. So useful add-ons like TV-tuners cannot be used with this motherboard.

Other known issues are lack of turbo boost support on first production batch and waking from S3 problems with most PCI-E video cards. So far all these issues remain unfixed.

07-04-2010, 09:34:10

Mul.
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Diablo'
Really nice looking board. I love the mini itx form factor, but am always stumped by fitting a graphics chip as the powersuplies aren't built to take them. This one looks very good for a media PC, or for a mini gaming box.

With the GMAHD from the CPU, will it handle basic media duties like bluray as its 9300 predessecor would?
Hi Diablo!

I've found the Core i3/i5's Integrated GMA to be a considerable step up from predecessors such as the GMA950. Performance wise, it is most certainly up there with the GeForce 9300 and Radeon HD 4200 and should not really struggle with HD Video.

07-04-2010, 10:31:28

Diablo
That's good to know. It would certainly make life easier not having to find a suibtable, low power GPU, finding a way to power it and cool it etc.

If I were going to do an HTPC build (not on the cards right now thanks to my debit cards just melting) that's certainly good news.

07-04-2010, 13:30:07

cl0ck_ed
Nice review. But I fail to see the point in comparing 2.93 to 3.3ghz throughout the test. Surely the comparison should be between other H55 or P55 motherboards with the same cpu and clock speed?

07-04-2010, 15:25:37

mayhem
The review comparisons i agree with clocked. you cannot compare the same chip weather over clocked or not. U should be comparing it with another system. The review is quite flawed in that sense.

How ever saying that alone the MB looks like another winner for zotac and could be a future purchase for my self. (once i have some money ROTFLMAO)

The review how ever doesn't realy float my boat and just looks like bloat ware in words.

07-04-2010, 16:19:31

voodooleader
1

07-04-2010, 19:05:45

PeterStoba
Feature packed board for sure, but a terrible layout!

I had no idea that the onboard GPU was so good for L4D, i was expecting like 10fps when I seen it at first. What cooler were you using, stock?

07-04-2010, 19:17:40

Mul.
@ cl0ck_ed & mayhem

This had crossed my mind after completing the review and I strongly apologise for the oversight on my part. Today, I have taken our previously reviewed Biostar TH55XE Motherboard and ran the same tests once more. Due to time constraints I have not tested the Biostar at 3.30GHz but at least we now have a fresh "stock for stock" comparison without recycling previous results.

The results are also in keeping with the previous results and I maintain that the Zotac H55-ITX performs on par with it's fellow Micro ATX and ATX competition.

Many thanks for the feedback.

@ peterstoba - Yes, the i3 GPU really isn't bad at all. It's not the smoothest L4D experience but it was certainly playable. I would be interested to hear how you'd rather arrange the components on the board though?

07-04-2010, 19:44:42

PeterStoba
Just move the CPU socket so it doesn't intefere with GPUs that have screws / heatsinks on the rear, 5/6mm would be fine. If that was done, then I'd keep mine.

08-04-2010, 04:28:44

mayhem
Much better

Now looking though those results sort of put me in two minds lol. As tbh there isnt that much of a performance gains over the biostar and the old duel core again isn't a vast mind blowing performance boost.

With the price just dropped on the old Zotac C2d to a stellar 99 i think if you had a value for money sticker it would go to to the C2d right at this moment in time. AS we know the only reason for the price drop would be to shift the old stock ready for this new breed to take over its place.

One thing with Micro / Mini ATX you don't need the latest and greatest to be able to run anything under the TV or mini gaming system or even via arcades and juke boxes (for my case).

Do u know what the estimated Wifi range is does the new Duel aerial really give that much speed it would be good to see if it did or not. Because this estimated wifi speed has all ways been incorrect and misleading.

However have a read through the whole review again and looking at the pics of the bored personally i like the lay out its nearly perfect except i would have the wifi turned around facing the other way so that the antenna wires didn't go in-between the CPU and other components giving less interference and also stopping the chance of snagging against the CPU HFC. I think the CPU is a little close to the PCI express but a good use of Heat pipe technology would get around this problem. All so some thing ive just spotted would be i would change the antenna so that instead of being placed up and down i would have them side by side as most mini / micro atx form factors are flat and this would give better dispersal for the wifi and help with range.

All so something missing from the review which would be good would be temp readings. How does it play encased in the small mini / micro atx form factor case. Does it get warm. This would be good to know as these type systems can be used behind TV's (which do get warm all ready) , in manufacturings systems (again which do get warn all ready) and in some very wired places. I think this sort of attention to detail in the review would put this sort of review a step above the rest and giving real informative information that would need to be considered when using systems like this. I know from my past builds Heat has always been a problem and getting around the heat problem has sometimes been a headache.

Any way over all thank you for the review and the extra work you have put in.

08-04-2010, 05:31:00

PeterStoba
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='mayhem'

However have a read through the whole review again and looking at the pics of the bored personally i like the lay out its nearly perfect except i would have the wifi turned around facing the other way so that the antenna wires didn't go in-between the CPU and other components giving less interference and also stopping the chance of snagging against the CPU HFC.
It doesn't cause any problems to be honest, I just pushed it down inbetween the sata ports and it stayed there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='mayhem'

I think the CPU is a little close to the PCI express but a good use of Heat pipe technology would get around this problem.
It is too close if you want to use a GPU that has anything on the back, atleast with the Scythe Shuriken / Rev B. I had to use the stock cooler, can't see many others fitting either. Not sure what you mean about using heatpipes? :s

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='mayhem'

All so some thing ive just spotted would be i would change the antenna so that instead of being placed up and down i would have them side by side as most mini / micro atx form factors are flat and this would give better dispersal for the wifi and help with range.
Then you'd lose 2 USB ports, not worth it. Range is fine (didn't test myself). It's rated N so should be fine for HD streaming.

08-04-2010, 05:38:21

Mul.
On this particular testbed, there were no temperature based issues to report. After a one hour OCCT Linpack run while testing the CPU at 3.30GHz, it did not push over 65c with the low profile cooler. I would imagine that a Core i5 750 or similar would also cope in an ITX case, however I would tend to believe that a constant source fresh air will be important when surrounded by AV Receivers, Satellite Boxes and so on.

We were not provided with any range information with regards to the Atheros 802.11n WiFi module. The testbed was however connected to our 802.11g network throughout the testing and didn't exhibit any unstable behaviour. There was no way of testing it's 300mbps capability, however the adapter most certainly held a consistent 54mbps throughout testing.

I too would agree that the previous Zotac GeForce 9300-ITX remains to be a fantastic motherboard if you are less fussed about using an up to date platform. I've had one for nearly a year now and when combined with a Core 2 Duo E8400, it has offered fairly competitive performance.

11-05-2010, 08:11:29

kcartlidge
I have this motherboard and the only problem that i have is the CPU is a little close to the PCI slot. I also would have liked the board to have 3.0 Technology but oh well, carnt have it all on this tiny board!
Reply
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