Last year one of the most exciting product combinations to grace consumer shelves was the NVIDIA’s ION platform teamed up with an Intel Atom processor. The ultra-low power consumption, low heat output and ability to play HD video better than competing solutions of the time made it a difficult combo to ignore. ZOTAC took full advantage of this and successfully filled a niche demand with a slew of ION based products, offering various levels of plug and play functionality.

It was only a matter of time though before Intel would present us with something new and at the turn of 2010, Clarkdale was launched. In many ways, Clarkdale turned out to be the perfect successor to Atom + ION based systems by doing almost everything better. Clarkdale’s IGP is capable of delivering high definition video and the platform also offers Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD-MA bitstreaming over HDMI - the latter a feature that eludes NVIDIA’s ION. Clarkdale also manages to deliver a lot more grunt should there be a need for the odd file zip or encode and can also be used to deliver a decent gaming experience with the addition of a discrete GPU thanks to an on-die PCIe controller. To boot, all of this comes within a rather attractive power consumption curve thanks to comprehensive power gating.   

Naturally, ZOTAC jumped on the Clarkdale bandwagon, and pulled the first H55 chipset based mini-ITX motherboard out of the hat back in February this year. Since then, several motherboard vendors have followed suit, and we’re at a point now where it makes very little sense to consider anything ION based for desktop use unless you’re on a really tight budget. It’s rather surprising then that ZOTAC are launching new ION based motherboards and media solutions today based around Intel’s CULV processors:

IONITX-P-E with the Celeron SU2300 - $169

IONITX-N-E with the Celeron 743 (single-core) - $130 USD

IONITX-O-E with the Pentium SU4100 - $200 MSRP BTO (built to order)

ZBOX HD-ND22 with SU2300 - $269.99

Zbox HD-NS21 with Celeron 743 - $199.99

We’ve got the IONITX-P-E model in house, and that’s what we’ll be looking at today:


 

The IONITX-P-E teams up a 1.2GHz CULV Celeron SU2300 with the ION GF9400 chipset. The MSRP for the P-E model is $170, while the Pentium SU4100 model will cost around $200. The SU4100 based board is a built on retail demand only product, though. So we’re not sure if you’ll see it on sale at all considering the $200 MSRP.  At the lower end of the scale, a single core Celeron 743 running at 1.3GHz should in theory appeal to uber-low power consumption enthusiasts.


 

 

Overall layout should be of no surprise to anyone familiar with mini-ITX; everything is accessible enough. The good news is that ZOTAC's choice of 60mm fan for CPU cooling is whipser quiet; with the board installed in a case you should find it inaudible.

Disappointingly, ZOTAC have chosen not to include a power brick with the IONITX-P-E, so you’ll need an ATX PSU. 

 

The rear panel offers all expected ports, including PS2 keyboard, HDMI, DVI, VGA D-SUB, six USB ports, eSATA, digital and analogue audio I/O, and onboard Wi-Fi. Put simply, something there for everyone.

Board Features & BIOS
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  • Ipatinga - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    "To Zotac’s credit, we found the IONITX-P-E stable and functional for everyday use..."

    Yes... for Zotac, when it works, its credit (or a Plus... since even bricked bios Zotac does not take away from it´s download list and solving the problem takes forever).

    For other manufacturers... a motherboard that works stable and is fully functional is mandatory (even though some forget that on the launch... and focus on overclock... shame :( )

    Still, Zotac does a lot of Mini ITX and it´s good to see many options (hope the competition will catch up). Price wise... well....
    Reply
  • fredson - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    Ola

    estou querendo usar essa placa em sistema para ficar passando imagem em 3 monitores o que vc acha com relaçao ao funcionamento e consumo de energia!!!

    abs

    Fredson Jorge
    Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the review. Since the power consumption is in similar if not better than Atom, have you guys tried running the board without the fan? Did you test what the temps are like (with the fan)?
    It'd be sweet if you could run this thing passively cooled with the stock heatsink...
    Reply
  • mindbomb - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    ffdshow includes a truehd transform filter.
    so the lack of bitstreaming doesn't mean you can't enjoy a truehd track.
    Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    I wish we could evolve past this 9400 or 9400 derivitives Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    There's no reason for Nvidia to come out with another Core2 / Atom chipset. Core2 is a dead end. Both Atom and the Core i CPUs use DMI or QPI for the system bus, and Nvidia doesn't have a license for either of those. Reply
  • Taft12 - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Oh there is plenty of reason for Nvidia to come out with a chipset for this platform. Too bad Uncle Monopoly says no. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Boo hoo Reply
  • BlendMe - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    They do have a newer and better chipset, the 320M, which seems to be an Apple exclusive. It is a pretty powerful chip, a least compared to the 9400M. The 320M is what the 9400M was 2 year ago. The absolute minimum and you should not go lower than that. Reply
  • BlendMe - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Hey look! It's a Mac mini! Sort of... Reply

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