Zotac A75-ITX WiFi Reviewtacohunter52 - December 8, 2011
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If you're building an HTPC or some other type of streaming media rig, you usually want it to be as small as possible. This will allow you to easily tuck it away out of sight, where it can easily and quietly do its job. One of the best ways to do this is to start off with an ITX form factor motherboard. Zotac, for a while now, has been my all time favorite manufacturer that makes ITX motherboards, so right off the bat I'd recommend using one of its boards. However, you can't just pick up a motherboard and be done with it — you'll need to first decide which CPU you'll use. The ITX form factor comes with a wide range of socket types, as well as some without any socket. For some, an integrated CPU like the Intel Atom or VIA Nano would work fine. Others will want to be able to pick and choose which processor they'll be able to use. If you find yourself fitting into the latter category, I'd recommend using an AMD APU as a great budget option.
Today will be looking at just that — a Zotac A75 ITX motherboard that will be powered by an AMD A8 3850 APU. The Zotac A75-ITX WiFi is priced on Newegg at $139.99, which is almost exactly the cost of the AMD A8 3850 APU. So for about $260 plus the price of some memory and an HDD, you'll be able have a fully functioning HTPC/Streaming media rig. Not only that, but you can bring the cost down by using one of AMD's cheaper APUs. In my opinion, this is a price that's kind of hard to beat. Along with the APU, I'll also be pairing the A75-ITX WiFI up with an HD 6970 and 8GB of Mushkin memory so we can see how the board stacks up to larger A75 and A55 offerings. What is this tiny board capable of? Let's find out!
The Zotac A75-ITX WiFi arrived in a package that follows a similar color scheme to what we usually see with a Zotac ITX board. The package was orange and black and used a flame design in the center. The top of the box was home to the Zotac logo, while the center was home to the motherboard's name. The bottom of the box specifies that it's an "AMD graphics chipset motherboard". Flipping the box over reveals a a picture of the board, as well as a short description about some of its specifications. Three sides of the box feature the Zotac logo and the A75-ITX WiFi name. The remaining side of the board features some more of the board's specifications in bullet format.
As soon as you open the box, you'll be greeted with all the Zotac A75-ITX WiFi's included accessories. These include three individually wrapped SATA cables, two individually wrapped WiFi antennas, an I/O shield, and a DVI to VGA adapter. You will also receive an installation guide and a driver CD. Removing the accessories and the cardboard tray they sit on, will give you your first glimpse of the Zotac A75-ITX WiFi sitting safe and sound in an anti-static bag.
Now that we've removed the Zotac A75-ITX WiFi from its packaging, let's see what it can do!