Zotac's Ion: The Follow Up

by Anand Lal Shimpi on 5/19/2009 12:00 AM EST
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  • jimbolicious - Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - link

    i purchased a Zotac IONITX-D-E from Newegg a couple of weeks ago and am currently running it as a low power secondary system for the Mozart TX in the living room. it has no problems waking from usb with the diNovo Edge. as a matter of fact it even wakes when i put the keyboard in the charger (kind of annoying there, but it does work... i've found the trick is to turn the keyboard off and get it into the cradle before the system is completely asleep).

    i am noticing that Core Temp shows the CPU at around 67 to 70 degrees C with the CPU fan attached and running, but the heat sink is very cool to the touch.

    flash video is pretty darn flaky in my limited experimentation (luckily, i don't watch it very often).

    i am running Windows 7 Professional with 2 x 2GB of DDR2 800 and a 1TB WD Green and for the most part, this thing is pretty darn snappy... well, snappier than i thought it'd be, anyhow.

    thanks for the article! i found it very informative!
    Reply
  • apanloco - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link


    Can you boot this board from a USB stick? The manual only states hard-drive and cd-rom, but I doubt they've missed out on something that fundamental :)
    Reply
  • jimbolicious - Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - link

    i used a usb drive to load Windows 7 Professional onto mine and it worked fine. Reply
  • Namratalouver - Monday, May 25, 2009 - link

    Visit our site www.louver.in for more details about our products. Reply
  • estyx - Thursday, May 21, 2009 - link

    I have been in contact with Zotac, because I want to use a mini-PCIe SSD disk to keep it small and silent, and it turns out the BIOS doesn't support booting via mini-PCIe. At least not yet. I'm waiting for an answer from them if they will include it in a later BIOS version.
    So now you know that :) If there is any interest I can keep you updated on the matter.
    Reply
  • icrf - Thursday, May 21, 2009 - link

    I'm curious, why use a PCIe SSD when there are three SATA ports available? Is space/power that big of a concern? Reply
  • snarfies - Tuesday, June 09, 2009 - link

    My mini-ITX NAS uses four drive connections. I boot from a CF-Card reader. I have two drives set up as RAID1. I have an optical drive. As near as I can tell, the only Atom-based ITX board on the market with enough drive connections is the MSI IM-945GC, which is what I'm currently using. If only the Ion had one more SATA port...! Reply
  • sprockkets - Thursday, May 21, 2009 - link

    They are much cheaper. And, when using a really small mini-ITX case, it makes for a really easy build.

    They do show up as a SATA or PATA device, so you should be able to boot up from it, if it supports booting from add on cards. It isn't any different from an add on SATA or PATA controller in a pci slot.
    Reply
  • abscode - Thursday, May 21, 2009 - link

    That would be great! I also would like to use a mini-PCIe SSD for some of my car pcs. Hopefully they are interested in adding this ability soon. abscode[\@\]gmail{|dot|}com Reply
  • Fanfoot - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - link

    So, you still couldn't do HD full screen playback, even at 720p, which is presumably what you'd run the system at if you hooked it up as a media center PC.

    What about after you cranked it up to 1.9MHz? Did that resolve the issues, or was it still unacceptable?
    Reply
  • UltraWide - Thursday, May 21, 2009 - link

    are there full screen playback limitations???

    this is not good news...
    Reply
  • Pandamonium - Thursday, May 21, 2009 - link

    I'm curious about this myself. I wonder if the scaling is a limitation of the GPU? I just can't see how it would be CPU-bound if usage is below 80%.

    I think all the HTPC users want to know is if this thing is viable for Blu-ray (confirmed), remote power on/off (fingers crossed for Zotac's response), and full screen (1080p and 720p) playback of 720p and 480p flash video (negative at stock speeds). I don't have a Netflix subscription myself, but I imagine people are also interested in knowing what quality stream it can play smoothly.

    I think the holy grail for many HTPC enthusiasts is a quiet/low power machine capable of S3 shutdown/resume via USB, yet powerful enough to handle physical media and streamed media at HD resolutions.

    Could you do a quick followup on the capabilities of the overclocked board? This is very close to what the HTPC crowd has been waiting for.
    Reply
  • roamer - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - link

    Hello,

    could anymobody please test the performance of the onboard NIC?
    In another review it was mentioned that the troughput was only 19,5 MB/s. This would be really poor for GbE NIC.
    Reply
  • flipmode - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - link

    Anand, your response to feedback is very commendable. You're a class act. Thanks. flipmode. Reply
  • UltraWide - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - link

    It answered all my lingering questions.

    Now, I am just waiting for this to be in stock anywhere. I have purchased all the other required parts...

    Zotac, hurry up!!!!
    Reply
  • Basilisk - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - link

    ... but not directly plugged into the board, that's pretty odd. It's counter-intuitive to me -- shouldn't your KVM be identical to a comparably long USB extension cable? I'm puzzled you didn't write more on the point. I'm curious what other hook-up variations might enable wake-up: extension cables, wall-powered USB hubs, different mice/keyboards. Or... is your KVM, itself, re-shaping the USB signal in some way in some way beyond adding resistance to the wires?! Reply
  • 457R4LDR34DKN07 - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - link

    I am really kind of interested in seeing the point of view ion board. Then at least you have the option of upgrading the the not so sucky but still integrated video. Reply
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    Zotac's earlier nVidia 7100 boards could not do S3 standby properly; it required a new board revision to fix it.

    Perhaps this board isn't making enough 5VSB for the peripherals.

    Hey Anand, care to stick a Super Talent ssd in the mini pci-e slot to test it?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Reply
  • AmdInside - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - link

    For what it's worth, I have an HP Slimline PC with nForce 430/Geforce 6150 and also a custom built PC with Asus Geforce 8200 motherboard and both have no problems waking up from USB whether it is wireless keyboard or MCE remote control. I use them both as HTPCs so they go to sleep quite often and are woken up by USB often. Reply
  • lemonadesoda - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    Did you remember to select, in control panel, mouse, properties, hardware, properties, power management, "allow this device to bring computer out of standby"?

    It is silly this is not set to "true" by default.

    The KVM driver probably HAS this set to true by default.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    The Logitech G5 actually sets this option to true by default in Windows Vista, and yes it was enabled. I'm still waiting to hear back from Zotac on it.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Badkarma - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - link

    Thanks for writing something on the Wake on USB issue, it's really too bad Zotac leaves this feature out on HTPC-centric mobos. Reply
  • icrf - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    I'm more curious about HD flash video, like Dr. Horrible on Hulu, or NCIS on CBS, or Heroes on NBC, than I am about SD flash scaled to HD resolutions. I haven't had major issues with SD hulu on my Atom netbook, but the HD content would be nice, especially considering how awesome this would be as an HTPC.

    But, that aside, wake-on-usb for a remote is the primary concern. Keep hounding them for us. :)
    Reply
  • icrf - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    Also, on scaling flash video to full screen, I think there are underlying problems. My C2D E6600 can't smoothly scale flash video on my WQXGA moniter. I checked task manager, and the CPU isn't maxed out, but the video is pretty jumpy. My 1024x600 Atom netbook does just fine. Different browsers don't make any difference on either box. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    I wonder if you could do a review of the GN40 chipset and compare it to the 945G and Ion. The GN40 and the GMA 4000 may not be as fast as the nVidia 9300, but it seems that the primary limitation in gaming is Atom itself anyways even with Ion. The GN40 is supposed to offer accelerated 720p playback so it may well be good enough on the multimedia side.

    It also wouldn't surprise me if the GN40/GMA4000 is what is integrated into Pineview.
    Reply
  • icrf - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    I thought the HD-decoding GPU wasn't actually an Intel part? If that's the case, it's doubtful the current GPU is what makes it on-die. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    Is it possible wake on USB is a chipset problem? Do other manufacturer's GF9300/9400 motherboards have no issue waking from USB?

    Anyway Atom is still a little too underwhelming to me for what I'd look to use it for. I'd rather go with the Zotac 9300ITX LGA775 and a cheap C2D-based Celeron. Poor flash video playback just kills it, maybe Adobe will make those things GPU-accelerated in the future. If that or other tasks that require some modicum of CPU grunt weren't expected I'd get a 945-based Atom board.
    Reply
  • plschwartz - Friday, September 04, 2009 - link

    I think I read that the 9300 775 board in newer revisions now wake on USB But the earlier versions are still sold in US.
    I am going to Hong Kong next month and will get board there.
    How on this board can one find out the revision number?
    Thanks
    Reply

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