Computex 2014 - Zotac
Many of you may know Zotac best as an Nvidia graphics partner, and indeed we've seen some strong entries from them in the high end GPU market such as the [eurl=http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2013/11/28/zotac-geforce-gtx-780-ti-amp-review/1GTX 780 Ti AMP![/eurl] However, this year at Computex, there wasn't much new on show from Zotac in this department, due of course to a lack of new GPU releases – Titan Z is something Zotac sells, but it's not customised in any way.
Instead, Zotac's focus was on its Zbox range of mini-PCs, of which Zotac now has close to a hundred SKUs. A few models in particular caught our eye at the stand this year though.
Click to enlarge - The Zbox EN760
First up is the new flagship, the EN760, which uses the standard glossy black square chassis that, as you can see, is quite prone to picking up fingerprints. Nevertheless, it has heaps of connectivity and is dead simple to access using a pair of thumbscrews. It's powered by an Intel Haswell processor, the dual core Core i5-2400U at 1.6GHz (Turbo 2.6GHz), which is coupled with the Nvidia GTX 860M. This GPU is the same Maxwell one found in the ultra efficient GTX 750 Ti, and it even runs with the same core clock speed, though the memory clock is 5GHz rather than 5.4GHz. Even so, this processor combination means the EN760 will be capable of smooth frame rates at 1080p with high and occassionally ultra settings, which is awesome for something so small – it has lots of potential for LAN parties, for example, due to its portability. As usual, it's available barebones or as a Plus package, which includes a 1TB HDD and 8GB of dual channel memory.
Computex 2014 also marks the launch of a new range of Zbox PCs, namely the C-series, all of which are entirely passive and without moving parts. This has required a move to a new chassis, which has a metal exterior that is punctured with hexagonal holes on the top, bottom, back and sides so as to allow heat to naturally dissipate through it. The four rubber feet double up as the screws which hold things together so again it's very easy to access.
Click to enlarge - The Zbox CI540 Nano
Four C-series models are available: an Intel Core i5 model (CI540 Nano), a Core i3 (CI520 Nano), a Celeron (CI320 Nano) and an AMD A6 one (CA320 Nano), with prices ranging from $139 to $449. Naturally, the most expensive one is the Core i5-based Zbox CI540 Nano Plus, which uses a Core i5-4210Y paired with a single 4GB stick of DDR3L 1,600MHz memory and a 64GB SSD. The passive design and ample connectivity makes these particular mini-PCs very well suited to media PC functionality – the onboard graphics isn't really going to be suitable for gaming in any case.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge - The Zbox Sphere OI520
We also saw on display the funky Zbox Sphere OI520, a mini-PC that targets those for whom aesthetic design is a priority (as all future Zbox O-series PCs will also do). Whatever you think of it, there's no denying that the ball-shaped chassis is sure to stand out, and with almost every connector on the rear it will be easy to keep cabling tidy. Opening it up is as simple as gripping it and twisting the top section of the sphere to one side, so this functionality thankfully hasn't been lost.
What do you think of Zotac's latest mini-PCs?