Zotac has announced a new entry in its Zbox range of small form factor (SFF) PCs, and this time it's ditching the eponymous box shape entirely in favour of a more rounded approach: the Zbox Sphere.
The Zotac Zbox Sphere is certainly eye-catching, with all ports and vents moved around the rear of the case to keep the front smooth and uncluttered.
The Zbox Sphere OI520, to give the bare-bones system its full name, packs a dual-core Intel Core i5-4200U processor running at 1.6GHz - 2.6GHz under TurboBoost conditions - with 3MB L2 cache and HD Graphics 4400 GPU hardware into a spherical casing which is certainly eye-catching. A Plus variant comes ready-to-run, boasting 4GB of DDR3 memory and a 500GB mechanical hard drive, although no operating system as standard. Those planning to purchase the bare-bones variant will find two SODIMM slots and room for a single 2.5" hard drive, with an mSATA connection included for additional storage.
The rear of the rounded housing includes HDMI and DisplayPort graphics connectivity, wired gigabit Ethernet and wireless 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 connections, analogue audio inputs and outputs and four USB 3.0 ports, with a further three USB 2.0 ports also available - two rear, one side. The power button, card reader, air vents and jack for the external power supply are also all located around the rear of the case - leaving the front completely free from any visual distractions.
'Zotac is expanding the Zbox line-up to go beyond the traditional square form factor and the Zbox Sphere is our first design concept that we’re putting into production,
' explained Carsten Berger, the company's senior director. 'The new Zbox Sphere form factor is also one of our easiest to customise too, [as] the top twists off for tool-less upgrades.
Both the bare-bones Zbox Sphere and its Plus variant with pre-installed hard drive and memory are due to launch in June, with UK pricing yet to be confirmed.