Zotac H67-ITX WiFi Motherboard
By Gabriel Torres on May 20, 2011
The Zotac H67-ITX WiFi is a very small mini-ITX motherboard for socket LGA1155 processors, thus being targeted to the Intel “Sandy Bridge” CPUs. It is based on the Intel H67 chipset and comes with one PCI Express x16 slot, allowing you to build a powerful gaming system using a very small case, and some extra features such as IEEE 802.11n WiFi connectivity and four USB 3.0 ports. Let’s check it out.
The Zotac H67-ITX WiFi comes with two slots, a PCI Express x16 and a mini PCI Express. The advantage of coming with a PCI Express x16 slot is obvious: you can disable the integrated video and install a “real” video card, allowing you to build a powerful PC in a tiny form factor.
The mini PCI Express slot comes with a WiFi networking card, an AzureWave AW-NE766, supporting IEEE 802.11b/g/n standards (i.e., up to 300 Mbps).
Intel socket LGA1155 CPUs have an embedded memory controller, meaning that it is the processor, not the chipset, that defines what memory technologies and the maximum amount of memory you can have. The motherboard, however, may have a limitation as to how much memory can be installed.
The integrated memory controller from socket LGA1155 processors supports only DDR3 memories up to 1,333 MHz under dual-channel architecture.
The Zotac H67-ITX WiFi has two memory sockets, supporting up to 8 GB each, for 16 GB total.
You must install two identical memory modules in order to enable the dual-channel architecture and achieve the maximum performance of which your system is capable.
The Intel H67 chipset is a single-chip solution which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip supports two SATA-600 ports and four SATA-300 ports, supporting RAID 0, 1, 10 and 5. The motherboard also has one eSATA-300 port, controlled by a JMicron JMB360 chip.
This motherboard has eight USB 2.0 ports, four soldered on the rear panel and four available through two headers located on the motherboard. It also has four USB 3.0 ports, two located on the rear panel and two available through a front panel header. The product comes with an I/O bracket for you to use these two USB 3.0 ports. It also comes with an additional bracket for half-height slots if you are using a slim case. The four USB 3.0 ports are controlled by a VLI VT800 chip.
No FireWire (IEEE1394) ports are available.
The H67-ITX WiFi comes with eight-channel audio, generated by the chipset using a Realtek ALC892 codec. Finally, Realtek is disclosing the specifications of this chip, which include a 97 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 90 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs. These specs are good for the mainstream user, but if you are looking into working professionally with audio editing, you should look for a motherboard that provides an SNR of at least 97 dB for the analog input.
The portrayed motherboard has an optical SPDIF output and shared analog audio outputs. These outputs allow you to connect a 5.1 analog speaker system directly, but if you install a 7.1 analog speaker system, you will have to use either the mic in or line in jacks to connect the fourth pair of speakers.
Digital audio is also available through the on-board HDMI connector. You can either install a coaxial SPDIF jack or route digital audio to your video card to have digital audio in the HDMI connector using the available “CN5” header.
The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by a Realtek RTL8111E chip.
In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel, with mouse and keyboard shared PS/2 connector, two USB 3.0 ports (blue), DisplayPort output, HDMI output, WiFi antenna connectors, DVI-D output, four USB 2.0 ports, eSATA-300 port, Gigabit Ethernet port, optical SPDIF output, and shared 7.1 analog audio jacks.
The WiFi antenna connectors come with red caps protecting them. After you build your computer, you will have to remove them and install the two antennas that come with the product.
In Figure 8, you can see all the accessories that come with this motherboard.
The CPU voltage regulator circuit of the H67-ITX WiFi has four phases for the CPU main voltage (Vcc a.k.a. Vcore), one for the CPU VTT voltage (integrated memory controller and L3 memory cache), and one for the CPU VAXG voltage (integrated video controller). Therefore, it uses a “4+1+1” configuration.
This motherboard uses military-class components. Electronic components are available in two series, civilian and military. Military components are more expensive but have tighter tolerance and can withstand a wider range of temperature. The main voltage regulator circuit uses a mix of solid and SMD (surface mount device) capacitors, also known as highly-conductive polymerized or simply Hi-c. All coils on this motherboard are solid ferrite-core models, which provide less energy loss, improving efficiency up to 20%.
Each main phase is controlled by a Renesas R2J20651NP integrated circuit (click here for a detailed description and here for its datasheet), which combines the three required transistors (“high side,” “low side,” and “driver”) in a single chip. It also allows the switching clock to be at 1 MHz, which allows efficiency to be over 90%. (Usually, voltage regulator circuits switch at 250 kHz.)If you want to learn more about the voltage regulator circuit, please read our tutorial on the subject.
The Zotac H67-ITX WiFi doesn’t have any overclocking option, only two voltage adjustments:
The main specifications for the Zotac H67-ITX WiFi include:
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The Zotac H67-ITX WiFi is a really nice option if you want to build a tiny computer based on the latest-generation Intel processors, codenamed “Sandy Bridge.” This tiny computer can be either a home theater PC (HTPC) or a gaming system, thanks to the presence of a PCI Express x16 slot.
The highlights of this motherboard include the presence of a WiFi card supporting IEEE 802.11b/g/n, four USB 3.0 ports, two SATA-600 ports, optical SPDIF output, and DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI-D outputs.The only drawback of this product is the absence of overclocking options, but this is a limitation imposed by Intel, not Zotac, and most of the H67-based motherboards have the same issue.