While most of the ITX enthusiast crowd (myself included) have settled on an H67-based motherboard for our gaming system, we are all still eagerly awaiting the day when we are offered a true enthusiasts motherboard that will allow us to overclock our K-series Sandy Bridge processors. It was disappointing that none of the manufacturers took a chance on a P67-based mini-ITX motherboard, but now with the imminent release of the new Z68 chipset, once again we can hope that an overclockable mini-ITX motherboard isn’t too far off.
With rumours already circulating of a Zotac Z68 Mini-ITX motherboard, it appears that at least one manufacturer has realized that the Z68 chipset, which offers the overclocking ability of the P67 chipset with the integrated graphics support of the H67, will make a very popular choice for high-end mini-ITX systems.
Besides allowing the ability to overclock our mini-ITX systems, the ability of the Z68 to utilize Intel’s Quick Sync technology in conjunction with Lucidlogix Virtu, offers another interesting feature for a mini-ITX system.
As many ITX gaming systems also do double duty as HTPC’s, Virtu will theoretically allow a mini-ITX systems to run on integrated graphics for basic tasks and transcoding and then power up the GPU when it’s time for some gaming. All without having to swap cables. I won’t get too far into the details of how this works, but for any of you who are not familiar with this technology, check out this article on TomsHardware for all of the details.
It certainly seems that the Z68 would be the ideal chipset for a mini-ITX motherboard. It offers the overclocking ability that enthusiasts want with the integrated graphics that the HTPC crowd needs. This combination would allow a single Z68-based model to appeal to the majority of the mini-ITX market.