Friday, July 15th 2011

ZOTAC Readies Monster LGA1155 Motherboard

ZOTAC entered the motherboard scene as yet another vendor of reference NVIDIA nForce motherboards, which the like of EVGA, XFX, and BFG also sold. After the fall of nForce, ZOTAC attempted a LGA1366 motherboard, and went dormant with motherboards. Later, it picked up interest in the mini-ITX form-factor as it gained popularity in Asian markets like China and India, manufacturing motherboards based on Intel Atom, Atom with NVIDIA ION, and eventually socketed mini-ITX motherboards as it became a 2-chip affair with Intel's Ibex Peak platform (LGA1156). It looks like Zotac is making a comeback into full-size ATX motherboards that target the very top tier of the market, to woo gamers, professional overclockers, and enthusiasts.

Seen here is what the Chinese press is referring to as "ZT-Z68 Crown Edition-U1DU3", we may have lost the correct name in translation, but let's call it ZT-Z68-U1DU3 for now. It is a full-size ATX motherboard that takes socket LGA1155 Intel Sandy Bridge and future Ivy Bridge processors, and is based on the Intel Z68 Express chipset. It combines a strong VRM to support extreme overclocking, with graphics expansion, adding 4-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX capabilities using an NVIDIA BR-03 bridge-chip that sits on the processor's PCI-E x16 link, to give out two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 links, which are then spread between four slots in x16/NC/x16/NC, x16/NC/x8/x8, or x8/x8/x8/x8 lane configurations.
The LGA1155 socket is powered by a 24-phase VRM that makes use of driver-MOSFETs, solid chokes, high-C and super ML capcitors to condition power. The memory is powered by a 2-phase design. Dual-channel DDR3 memory with speeds of over 2133 MHz with overclocking is supported. Apart from the four PCI-Express 2.0 slots explained earlier, there is one each of PCI-E x1 and PCI.

Storage connectivity includes eight internal SATA ports, which includes 6 Gb/s, 3 Gb/s ports; and an mSATA port to hold a SSD card to help with Intel Smart Response technology. Overclockers might find it particularly convenient to use just a medium-sized SandForce-driven SSD in the mSATA slot, getting rid of one set of cables. There's even an IDE to run the old DVD drives. There is an eSATA port in the rear panel. There are six USB 3.0 ports, two on the rear panel, four by internal headers.

Other connectivity includes 8-channel HD audio, Gigabit Ethernet, and wireless b/g/n. The board features three socketed serial flash ROM chips to house three sets of redundant UEFI firmware. Pricing and availability is not known, but one thing is for sure, this board is looking to go places.Sources: MyDrivers, VR-Zone
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46 Comments on ZOTAC Readies Monster LGA1155 Motherboard

#1
zCexVe
IDK if this is OT but, is there a standard way for the back panel I/O ? For this board they could easily make the wires shorter for that wireless card by placing the antenna headers right infront of it.
And personally I like this wireless idea on desktop boards. Small, power efficient, saves a PCI/PCI-e slot, and better cards rather than those cheap big cards.
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#2
erixx
the good one are single slot. there are even single slot air solutions... Galaxy and some other icnr ....
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#3
Jmatt110
Horrible slot layout for the first 4-way SLI 1155 mobo.
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#4
micropage7
Frick said:
Looks really good.
and expensive too
:toast:
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#5
Yellow&Nerdy?
Dunno how it manages to be expensive looking and seem like some of the plastic is pretty low-grade at the same time. Really clumpsy slot layout for 4 cards. They should of moved the molex to the bottom. Then they could make the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th slot PCIe X16 slots. Then a 8-slot case could fit it.

And why in the love of god does it have so many display outputs on the back? For an "extreme OC" board that's pretty pointless. Doubt anyone getting this board will be using the Intel graphics. Now it has way too few other connectors on the back.
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#6
imitation
Heatpipe

Can anyone actually tell me what the heatpipe is for? It looks like it's just connecting parts that are equally hot so the heatpipe can't transfer any heat...

And yes, horible (if not unuseable) PCIe layout. That ruins it!
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#7
SK-1
crazyeyesreaper said:
maybe but that would end up causing issues with the heatsink from the looks do to the ridiculouse 24 phase cpu vrm lol
brandonwh64 said:
yea 24 phase is overkill for SB, I know 1366 loves those higher phases but with the smaller die of the SB it shouldn't take that many phases
iirc MSI uses 24 phase on several boards...marketing im sure, but what the hell.
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#8
Hotobu
Yellow&Nerdy? said:
Dunno how it manages to be expensive looking and seem like some of the plastic is pretty low-grade at the same time. Really clumpsy slot layout for 4 cards. They should of moved the molex to the bottom. Then they could make the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th slot PCIe X16 slots. Then a 8-slot case could fit it.

And why in the love of god does it have so many display outputs on the back? For an "extreme OC" board that's pretty pointless. Doubt anyone getting this board will be using the Intel graphics. Now it has way too few other connectors on the back.
Z68 boards that allow for the use of Intel's Quick Sync need to have onboard VGA. I believe ASUS has it emulated on their Deluxe board, but just sticking on a VGA adapter seems to be the most common practice.
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#9
Damn_Smooth
Assimilator said:
Is it just me or does the lettering on the board look very similar to ASrock's style?

Anyhow, two things jump out at me (apart from the massive amount of VRMs) - the wire from the NF200, implying a cooling fan, and the fact that the shroud on the NF200 may very well interfere with certain video cards. Also, WTF is up with Zotac and WiFi? I'm starting to think they bought a lifetime's supply of wireless chips and are just trying to get rid of them...



6850 is the best you'll get, although I'm sure a 6870 could work with single-slot cuiooling. That said, if I had the moolah to run 4 video cards in a high-end rig like this, I'd buy quad 6970s and slap waterblocks on them.



No, it cannot be done with standard ATX - have you ever even looked at a motherboard? The gap between the slots on the motherboard is the same as the gap between the bottommost slot and the edge of the board, hence there is physically no room for another slot - unless you extend the board, which is E-ATX.
You can't run 6850's in quadfire. There is only one crossfire bridge. Its the same with the 6870.
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#10
Dave65
I love 24 phase just looks damn cool to me..
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#11
crazyeyesreaper
Chief Broken Rig
and yes it could still be done on the board it would just require a break in the usual placement of USB Firewire etc ports on the mobo something no mobo vendor has ever done
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#12
TiN
epic fail :D
The LGA1155 socket is powered by a 24-phase VRM
Who will be first with 32 phase? GBT? MSI? Zotac! :D
Marketing win.

NF200 also fail, all lanes from CPU go to input on NF200, so VGA perf will be few % lower than GBT UD5/ASUS MIVE/EVGA boards :)
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#13
micropage7
TiN said:
epic fail :D


Who will be first with 32 phase? GBT? MSI? Zotac! :D
Marketing win.

NF200 also fail, all lanes from CPU go to input on NF200, so VGA perf will be few % lower than GBT UD5/ASUS MIVE/EVGA boards :)
24 phase? and they say: choose this board. with 24 phase power you gonna have stable power, longer life time, low heat, better oc performance and you gonna hear the same words on their new product again and again n again
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#14
SK-1
micropage7 said:
24 phase?
Again... 24 phase is NOTHING NEW. It's been around for years.....;)
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#15
EarthDog
Damn...

*dials up Zotac = review sample plz?*
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#16
Enmity
imitation said:
Can anyone actually tell me what the heatpipe is for? It looks like it's just connecting parts that are equally hot so the heatpipe can't transfer any heat...

And yes, horible (if not unuseable) PCIe layout. That ruins it!
the heatpipe connects both of the hot surfaces yes, but therefore by both surfaces being joined it lowers the overall temps of both areas. So i guess it's not so much about transferring the heat, its more so about adding more surface area to lower the temps.

This is why a lot of the boards have the heatpipes running from the vrms/mosfets through to the northbridge and then finally to the southbridge connecting them all making it (effectively) one big heatsink.
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#17
WarraWarra
+1 CrazyEyes about spacing and usb connector placing.
+1 brandonwh64

This is a really nice board, well done Zotac, would like to see more like this with the +1 error corrections.
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#18
Assimilator
ThE_Assimilator]No said:
If you are to put 4 graphics cards with water blocks, still you have to change the face plates, and think of a way to get rid of those extra ports aligned in 2 lines.
D'oh, forgot about that, thanks for the correction. :)

Damn_Smooth said:
You can't run 6850's in quadfire. There is only one crossfire bridge. Its the same with the 6870.
Not a problem if you buy the right card: http://www.techpowerup.com/144424/PowerColor-Readies-Single-Slot-4-way-CrossFireX-Ready-HD-6850-Graphics-Card.html

Also I'm certain the 6800 series could easily do tri- and quad-CrossFire over the PCIe bus (i.e. without CF bridges), it's likely just a driver limitation on AMD's part.
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#19
Pestilence
Assimilator said:
Fail on my part - this board is E-ATX (ATX + 86mm width), I was confusing it with XL-ATX which is the massive form factor used by EVGA and Gigabyte and would easily accomodate another expansion slot.



D'oh, forgot about that, thanks for the correction. :)



Not a problem if you buy the right card: http://www.techpowerup.com/144424/PowerColor-Readies-Single-Slot-4-way-CrossFireX-Ready-HD-6850-Graphics-Card.html

Also I'm certain the 6800 series could easily do tri- and quad-CrossFire over the PCIe bus (i.e. without CF bridges), it's likely just a driver limitation on AMD's part.
I was about to ask if that single slotted cardw as ever released and its on newegg

PowerColor AX6850 1GBD5-I2DH Radeon HD 6850 1GB 25...
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#20
Steven B
TiN said:
epic fail :D


Who will be first with 32 phase? GBT? MSI? Zotac! :D
Marketing win.

NF200 also fail, all lanes from CPU go to input on NF200, so VGA perf will be few % lower than GBT UD5/ASUS MIVE/EVGA boards :)
you mean your EVGA board?
lol

Anyways UD7 has same amount of phases, and this board doesn't say 4 way SLI anywhere.
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#21
[H]@RD5TUFF
Zotac making non m-ITX boards... oh what times we live in . . .:wtf:


One thing I love about Zotac is that they put wireless on their boards, so I don't have to use a USB device to add it.
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