Mini-ITX: Two Cases And Four Motherboards Compared

Mini-ITX Motherboard: Zotac GeForce 9300 ITX WiFi (LGA 775)

Last, but certainly not least, we have Zotac's GeForce 9300 ITX WiFi. This is the Intel counterpart of the GeForce 8200 ITX WiFi, built on the GeForce 9300 integrated chipset. The 450 MHz GPU and 1,200 MHz shader clocks are stock values, which Zotac says are overclockable. In fact, the company's recently-released GeForce 9300 ITX WiFi Revision 2 sports 580 MHz core and 1,400 MHz shader clocks by default, matching Nvidia's GeForce 9400 specs.

This is also the case for the processors the board supports, but don’t expect too much available headroom. The manufacturer works with a four-phase voltage regulator circuit this time, which is certainly more than enough to run Core 2 Duo CPUs. The specs say you could also utilize Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Extreme processors. We clearly recommend against even trying to keep 130W Extreme Edition CPUs cool on a diminutive platform like this one, but 95W processors should be fine, as long as you provide enough surface area and airflow.

This platform can host up to 8GB of DDR2-800 memory, and while 1,066 MT/s transfer rates aren’t officially supported, you can still reach them through overclocking. We found that having only two SATA/300 ports may be a limitation, but there’s a third SATA port (eSATA) available on the connector panel you could use to attach additional storage. The true reason for limiting SATA ports is the expansion slot. This is the only mini-ITX board in this roundup to feature a full x16 PCI Express slot suitable for high performance graphics cards, meaning this platform could serve as the basis for a powerful (yet compact) gaming rig.

Once again, Zotac adds an 802.11b/g VIA wireless module. While the module is added sandwich-style on the AMD board, it is installed vertically on this product, which saves space. Finally, the rear panel conncectors include a PS/2 keyboard port, six USB 2.0 ports, the eSATA port, analog audio jacks, optical and coaxial digital outputs, HDMI, and both DVI and VGA display outputs. Clearly, this product is by far the most flexible when it comes to connectivity and display support (and thus, multimedia as well).