One of the downsides — or “downsides”, depending on your point of view — to living in the United States is that we don’t get a lot of the weird electronics gear that exists elsewhere in the world. Here, motherboards tend to exist in distinct and static categories, without much in the way of “unusual” products.
Chinese manufacturer Zeal-All has an example of one such board that they’ve recently launched — an Intel B150 motherboard, from the Skylake / Kaby Lake product family. What makes it interesting are the standards, features, and outputs it supports.
The large secondary heatsink on the bottom of the board cools an integrated GTX 1050 Ti, while the board itself measures 9.25″ x 7.75″ (235cm x 197.5cm). That doesn’t quite match any ATX-derived form factor on the market — ironically, it’s closest to AMD’s defunct DTX standard in total size, but reverses the ratios (DTX was 8″ x 9.6″, this board is 9.25″ x 7.75″).
Charmingly, the fun doesn’t stop there. Even after consulting the manual, I’m not quite clear on which direction this board is supposed to be oriented in.
What we would think of as the motherboard backplate is actually the front plate, according to a diagram in the motherboard manual. There’s a decidedly non-standard backplate with a DC 19VC input power plug rather than a conventional ATX plug on the board. It’s not even entirely clear which edge of this board is the rear and which is the front. If we position the motherboard by socket placement convention, in which the CPU socket points north, then the rear panel of the board is an HDMI port, two SATA ports, LVDS connections, and USB headers, while the “front” plate of the motherboard contains most of what we’d think of as conventional hardware.
The Zeal-All board isn’t particularly price-competitive; at $350 you could buy a cheaper GTX 1050 Ti + B150 board separately (or at least, you could have when they were new — B150 motherboards are now difficult to find). But it’s interesting to see how motherboards can be constructed along very different lines than they typically are — in this case, with a full GTX 1050 Ti with its own dedicated VRAM onboard already. There’s no information on the GPUs clock speed, RAM clock, or rated TDP, sadly. But this is presumably intended for gaming cafes needing to build cheap integrated systems for customers who don’t want to dedicate a lot of room to high-end components or large towers.
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