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Pocket Rocket: Zotac H55-ITX WiFi

Like the form factor, the packaging of the Zotac H55-ITX WiFi is small.  

Opening the box up reveals 3 SATA cables, 1 DVI-VGA adapter, I/O backplate, 2 WiFi antennas, 4-pin extension cable, instruction manuals and driver CD.

Beneath the top tier lies the little pocket rocket. On first impression, it seems that Zotac has spared no space to cram in as much goodies as possible.

We can see the presence of WiFi module provided by AzureWave, and powered by a mini-PCI Express x1 slot. The WiFi module is actually one of the major change from the previous model of GeForce 9300-ITX WiFi which uses a USB powered VIA WiFi module. Did we also mention that the new WiFi module allows full wireless N connection?

The next significant change we see is the overall layout. The CPU socket now sits at the bottom, and the chipset sits above it. With the CPU socket’s new position, and being directly next to the PCI Express x16 slot, this may pose a problem for enthusiast to install 3rd party cooler. In fact there are very limited choices of 3rd party cooler for this board due to the new positioning layout. The reason for this change is to allow shorter electrical trace from the processor socket to the PCI-E x16 slot and the 2 DDR3 DIMM slots.

The 4-pin socket also sees relocation, to the bottom of the board, next to the PCI-E x16 slot. If you fear cabling issue for the power cable, fear not as Zotac has bundled a 4-pin extension cable to assist your cabling arrangement.

Point to note though, the socket used on this board is by Lotes, supposedly better quality compared to the Foxconn-made socket.

SATA ports now sits at the very top hence there is very much clearance for cabling, and Zotac has been generous to provide up to 6 ports for all your storage needs. 

For the rear I/O, Zotac H55-ITX again generously provided up to 10 USB ports and 1 e-SATA port for all your connectivity and storage expansion needs.  Sadly no firewire port is present on this board. At the left side there are 2 sockets for you to attach the antennas for wireless feature. Display output can be done via HDMI and DVI, with the possibility of converting DVI to VGA via the bundled adapter. Do note that the display output from the motherboard can only be used with the new Intel Core Processors with integrated Intel HD Graphics. The Ethernet port has been powered by Intel Gigabit Ethernet chip. Onboard sound by Realtek ALC888 to provide 7.1 channel high definition audio. 

The rear of the H55-ITX board seems to be less cluttered compared to other ITX boards in the market.

If you are thinking of overclocking this pocket rocket, its options are limited due to the 4+1 phase power design of the board. The H55 is able to work with any LGA1156 socket CPU, though the chipset is designed to work best with Core i3 or i5s.

With all this drooling we have, it’s time to fire up this baby rocket!

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