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Zotac announces second-generation Zbox mini-PCs

Zotac announces second-generation Zbox mini-PCs

Zotac's second-generation Zbox mini-PCs include the choice of Celeron, Atom, or Fusion chips.

Zotac has announced the second-generation family of its Zbox mini-PCs, taking in chips from both Intel and AMD in an effort to offer those looking for a compact system the best possible choice.

Launched almost two years ago, the Zbox range has proven popular. Packing a low-power processor and plenty of connectivity into a sleek box that rivals the Mac Mini for style, it's been a successful move for a company more usually associated with graphics cards.

'We take feedback from our users and customers seriously,' claimed Carsten Berger, Zotac's marketing director, at the launch announcement. 'The new enhancements we're introducing with the Zotac Zbox ID81, ID80, AD04 series and the second-generation Zbox platform are the result of the feedback we received.'

There's certainly plenty of improvement to be found: the top-of-the-range ID81 series includes a full-fat 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Celeron 857 Sandy Bridge-family chip, which includes Intel's integrated HD Graphics technology and dual-display output capabilities. Alternatively, the ID80 series swaps the chip out for a dual-core 2.13GHz Intel Atom D2700 Cedar Trail processor paired with Nvidia's GeForce GT 520M graphics processor.

For those who prefer things from the red camp, the AD04 series includes AMD's dual-core 1.65GHz Fusion E-450 Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) with integrated AMD Radeon HD 6320 graphics for, Zotac claims, improved overall system performance compared to the last-generation Zbox product range.

All three families are being made available as bare-bones systems for those who already have memory and a hard drive, while the Zbox ID81 Plus, ID80 Plus and AD04 Plus include 2GB of DDR3 memory and a 320GB hard drive pre-fitted. No operating system is included as standard, with Zotac recommending Windows 7 - no surprise there - or the free OpenELEC Linux-based media centre OS for those on a budget or with a preference for open-source software.

All models include two SuperSpeed-compatible USB 3.0 ports, four High-Speed USB 2.0 ports, integral gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity, and bundled remote control and VESA mounting brackets. Display outputs vary by model,with the Intel-based systems offering HDMI and DVI connectivity and the AMD model featuring HDMI and DisplayPort outputs.

Sadly, there's one piece of information Zotac is currently keeping under its hat: the price.

Do you think Zotac is on to a winner with its latest generation of ultra-compact bare-bones systems, or do they lack the grunt you'd need to consider a purchase? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

10 Comments

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steveo_mcg 11th January 2012, 09:18 Quote
How have I never heard of these before, they look perfect for a living room pc.

Oh, just found this at the top of the googleing... http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/pcs/2010/10/27/zotac-zbox-hd-id34-mini-pc-review/1
MSHunter 11th January 2012, 09:43 Quote
I hope they fixed the fan noise issue. The last one had some negative customer reviews on Amazon due to noisy fan.
l3v1ck 11th January 2012, 09:52 Quote
Speaking of living room PC's.....
When was the last time we saw a new media case with a screen built in to the front. I'd be interested to see what the latest is on them.
M7ck 11th January 2012, 10:29 Quote
Quote:

I don't think that's what he meant.
----jimbo---- 11th January 2012, 10:30 Quote
I have one that I bought for my Bedroom as a HTPC, I needed to be quite obviously so I fitted a SSD. The fan noise is outrageously for such a small unit but I fixed it by simply leaving the side of the case off! That done you can hardly hear it at night, although annoyingly when on standby the LED flashes and is possible equivalent to a 10,000 watt bulb!
MSHunter 11th January 2012, 11:51 Quote
Ways to deal with LEDs:
Tip-ex, Duct Tape or dremmel :P
I used an Exact-o-knife to disconnect the power to LEDs in my case fans.

Though is you want fanless zero moving parts your better building your own. there are some Asus MB with giant coolers and if you need a fan then go quitepc they have some good ones with 9DB.
----jimbo---- 11th January 2012, 12:33 Quote
There are no LED wires as it's all built on the board however black insulation tape works (-;

Could have built my own, but it is a small well specced bit of kit that mounts to the back of my TV, unlike your recommendation of a "Giant Cooler"
MSHunter 11th January 2012, 13:35 Quote
True when I was looking at the E-350 I was more interested as using as media server. Hence big heat sing plus one huge slow spinning quite fan.
Mac_Trekkie 11th February 2012, 04:15 Quote
Awww, did Zotac drop the VIA Nano x2 option?
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