Efficiency Analysis: Core i3 Trumps Atom On The Desktop

Zotac H55-ITX WiFi

Lastly, we’d like to mention the H55 motherboard we used to run the Core i3-530. We wanted a solution that was as similar as possible to the Atom 230 and D510 boards, so Zotac's mini-ITX product, the H55-ITX WiFi, made great sense. This board starts at $150, making the combination with a $115 Core i3-530 rather expensive compared with Atom, but you get a lot in return.

This motherboard offers DVI and HDMI outputs, together with ten USB 2.0 ports. You'll find gigabit Ethernet and even eSATA. There's an optical S/PDIF output, as ports for two WiFi antennas (the required Mini Card module is included).

One x16 PCI Express slot is available for any type of PCIe add-on card, including graphics. Two DIMM sockets accommodate DDR3 modules of up to 8GB. Four phases on the voltage regulator deliver sufficient power for even a Core i7-800-series quad-core CPU. This board even has six SATA 3Gb/s ports, while most mini-ITX solutions offer only two. In short, this is a fully featured desktop solution in a minimum size footprint.

The Mini Card module for PCI Express is included with the H55-ITX WiFi.