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Zotac a75-itx wifi

Inevitably there's less space on the motherboard itself to allow more than two DIMM slots and a single x16 PCIe connector, but in such a small form factor neither represent a massive compromise.

Indeed given the restraints having a discrete GPU in the PCIe slot places on the CPU component of the Llano APUs you could argue that maybe you don't need one at all.

That said dropping in a small discrete card, like a half-height AMD Radeon HD 6670, gives you a hell of a boost in graphical performance with Llano's Dual Graphics functionality.

We notched up over 25fps in DiRT 3 at 1920x1080 on the Ultra settings, and for a tiny PC sat beneath your HD tele that wouldn't be bad at all.

You'd need a rather chunkier GPU to be able to do that on an Intel platform.

But still performance does suffer. The straight line CPU scores are a way down compared with the sort of numbers we've been getting out of either ATX or micro-ATX desktop Llano boards. Looking at either Cinebench or the CPU score from Shogun 2 and the performance of the Zotac A75-ITX is noticeably off the pace.

Thankfully that's only on the CPU side – if you look at the gaming performance of the Llano APU in the little Zotac board it stands toe-to-toe with the larger boards out there.

And as you're unlikely to be doing any seriously processor intensive tasks on such a small box, at least you shouldn't be expecting to, that's not a major problem either.

As such you wouldn't be expecting it to be much of an overclocking board either, despite the huge amount of processor head-room the A-series, desktop Llano chips have in them. This seems to be where one of the main areas of compromise lies; there is no way to boost the performance of the APU.

In the BIOS there is an option which looks like it ought to up the multiplier, but as the A-series multipliers are locked down, a la Sandy Bridge, there's nothing happening in the performance stakes. It's a bit of a shame given what we've managed to squeeze out of the A-series chips before, but for an inexpensive little board serious CPU performance isn't a necessary requirement.

But being an inexpensive little board is. Unfortunately you're paying quite a premium for the size of the Zotac A75-ITX WiFi, even our favourite A75, the Asus F1A75-V Pro is well over a tenner cheaper and that does have the performance chops.

We liked:

The fact there is so much squeezed into the Zotac A75-ITX WiFi is impressive. With such serious connectivity options too that's no mean feat; there's dual Gigabit ethernet ports on the back with twin WiFi antennae sticking out too.

The lack of compromise on the gaming performance too is a very welcome surprise, especially given how hobbled the CPU component seems in this board.

We disliked:

Sadly that CPU performance is a shame. It's not a huge issue in small form factor boards, but knowing you're missing out on performance you have actually paid for is disappointing.

As is the lack of any overclocking possibilities that we could see with the long legs of the AMD A-series APUs.

There's also the fact it is rather more expensive than better performing, though larger motherboards. Even the mATX boards keep the CPU parts ticking over nicely.

Final word:

So if form factor is an issue for you, then you're going to have to pay for it.

But still, Zotac has crammed a huge amount onto this tiny slab of PCB and as the basis for a fully-functional Fusion mini PC it's hard to beat.