Zotac IONITX-A-U Mini-ITX Ion MotherboardTue, Dec 08, 2009 - 12:00 AM
The Bundled Equipment
The Zotac IONITX-A-U motherboard comes with the normal smattering of bundled items, including enough SATA cables for each internal SATA port, a small (and quiet) case fan that utilizes the power jack on the motherboard, power cable, back custom I/O shield, instruction manual, drivers disk, and package of various screws. However, there are a few items that are a little more unusual, namely the WIFI antennae, a special 4-pin molex power cable, and an external 90W power supply. The power supply and cable are discussed more later, but suffice it to say that the WIFI antennae screws into the back of the motherboard (through the I/O shield), which is then tied to the built-in PCI x1 wireless N card.
Here is another picture of some of the accessories. Take particular note of that strange looking cable. It is a 4-pin female molex at one end, which splits into three different SATA power plugs. Why is this cable so dreadfully important? Keep reading just a bit and find out!
Yes, the Zotac IONITX-A-U does come with its very own 90-Watt power supply. It’s external, fanless, and plugs into the back of the motherboard through the I/O shield like any other cabley thing. Cabley is a scientific term used loosely here, but try and keep up. If this is a new idea to you, let that sink in. The power supply is external, outside of the case, meaning you don’t need a power supply inside. Not only does this save space inside the case, it also makes the whole thing quieter as there is one less fan. On the flip side, this means that if you already have a case with a power supply in it, it’s wasted space and maybe wasted equipment.
Perhaps more importantly, however, is that the power supply does not offer any of the convenient array of power plugs that we all grew up with. Remember that odd cable I just mentioned? Well, that’s all you get inside the case. If you have four SATA drives, tough; you only get three plugs. Do you have a 4-pin molex fan? Tough, all you have is a SATA power plug, and the motherboard itself only supports 3-pin fans. Have an IDE drive for some reason? Get rid of it, there’s no IDE port on the motherboard anyway. And, if the provided SATA cable doesn’t reach, tough luck, you’ll have to buy a separate extension cable to rig it up. All of this is important to consider when determining the case to use and how to arrange components.
Are these negative aspects of the motherboard? Not exactly, just trade-offs that you can avoid if you keep them in mind. Zotac wanted to make the IONITX-A-U package smaller, quieter and more power efficient, so they provided a nice power supply. You might hate it at first, but you might thank them in the end, especially if you can take advantage of it.