ASRock, ASUS, Zotac Intel Atom N330 + NVIDIA ION Head-to-Head

asrock asus zotac intel atom n330 nvidia ion product showcase

AnandTech has a battle royal of reviews up pitting the ASRock ION 330 vs. ASUS AT3N7A-1 vs. Zotac IONITX-A-U. So, if you’re enamoured by the Intel Atom N330 + NVIDIA ION combo, you’re going to want to read up. But, I’ve got to tell you… my head feels like it’s going to burst with the data the review sifts through. Reason being, AnandTech is comparing products that are so similar that it’s the minor details that set them apart.

My take on the results:
ASRock ION 330 (Street: $379.99) – Perfect for someone who wants a pre-built, barebones PC. Just add your OS of choice and start playing. The negatives: comes packaged with a SATA drive standard (not good if you want to go the SSD route) and the fan sometimes makes a droning sound (but it does have a silent mode option which will quiet things down but it will run hotter). The ASRock ION 330 is also the best for overclocking. It was able to go from 1.6Ghz all the way up to 2.04Ghz without issue.

ASUS AT3N7A-1 (Street: $159) – This the new kid on the block; however, it’s not quite ready for production — though it does have potential to compete with Zotac (and it’s $10-30 cheaper). Currently, the fan noise of this product is the loudest of the bunch due to a small 40mm fan running at 3,500-6,000RPM and a small heatsink. While it doesn’t offer built-in Wi-Fi, you get Bluetooth standard and a PCI expansion slot (not offered by the competition). Unfortunately, the Windows drivers for Bluetooth aren’t working as well as one would expect at the moment. Oh, and this board uses an ATX power supply instead of a mini external power supply used by both ASRock and Zotac.

Zotac IONITX-A-U (Street: $189) – From everything that was posted in the review, this is the board to buy. It’s the best engineered, includes Wi-Fi standard, has the better cooling setup of the bunch (large quiet fan, large heatsink), and, in most cases, it squeezed the lead for most of the test results. It’s also the only board product that includes DVI along with HDMI and VGA out.

What to buy?

  • The no-fuss, no-brainer option: ASRock ION 330
  • The ultimate enthusiast option: Zotac IONITX-A-U (customize until your heart’s content)

Pricing… it’s pretty much all comes out to the same price in the end — if you buy similar components. See AnandTech’s price showdown for a closer look.


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