Review: Dell Inspiron Zino HD

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Review: Dell Inspiron Zino HD

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Nice review Andy!  Trust me, I know how much work a detailed review like this takes.

So with the issues you had with the 1080i AVC/H.264 & interlacing problems would you use this as an HTPC for your own purposes?  I have one of these running in my bedroom and am having some of these same issues.  The sort of trouble that keeps me loving extenders by the way Wink

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If price isn't a concern there are better options for 1080i AVC content; I would have liked to see how the Zino performed with the 4330.  I suspect that many of the DI issues both with AVC and other interlaced content would have been significantly reduced.  That said, cost is a big factor in selecting the Zino over other SFF HTPC so it's hard to ignore in the discussion.

It would be interesting to see how the market segmented on PCs like the Zino v. a standalone streamer.

Senior Editor | @babgvant

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We are going to buy a ton of these for work, using them for a media center type PC to display commercials in our facilities.  I'm still in the testing phase of things right now since I had to revert back to XP instead of moving to W7. 

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Why do you need to use XP?

Senior Editor | @babgvant

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Company doesn't want to spend too much money :)  We have a ton of XP licenses.  Plus I know it doesn't make a huge difference OS wise for a domain reasons.  We wanted to keep things uniform too.  We are using this front end software called http://www.eyemaginations.com/  Its nothing special but its easy to use. 

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Do companies have to pay extra for an OS license beyond what they pay the OEM for it?  SW licensing is such a dark art Smile

Senior Editor | @babgvant

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A lot of corporations haven't even implemented anything beyond XP as of yet.

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Yea we arent even close to pushing W7.  Heck we have barely even started moving to Server 2008.

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Quote:
osted by: babgvant
Do companies have to pay extra for an OS license beyond what they pay the OEM for it?  SW licensing is such a dark art Smiley

No, but in many cases it is a cross between consistency and support. 

The user interface changes between XP and Vista/W7 can be an issue. (on this machine (XP) I do it this way, on the other machine (Vista/W7) I do it another way.  Think Control Panel for one)  For some users this can be a big deal until they get used to it.

It's easier to support a single OS, even if they are all Windows based OSes.

 

Unencumbered by the thought process!

 

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babgvant wrote:

If price isn't a concern there are better options for 1080i AVC content; I would have liked to see how the Zino performed with the 4330.  I suspect that many of the DI issues both with AVC and other interlaced content would have been significantly reduced.  That said, cost is a big factor in selecting the Zino over other SFF HTPC so it's hard to ignore in the discussion.

It would be interesting to see how the market segmented on PCs like the Zino v. a standalone streamer.


I bought one of these during Dell's Black Friday sale last November.  The only upgrades I bought were the 4330 GPU and the 6850e CPU.  I upgraded it to Win 7 Home Premium and added a larger hard drive when I got it.  I had purchased a 3-pack of 32-bit Win 7 HP licenses and had an extra one.  Otherwise, it was actually cheaper to get the Win 7 upgrade at the time of purchase.

I had read a lot of preliminary reviews on the Zino in the massive thread at the AVSForums, most of them complaining about the lackluster video performance with the lesser GPU as well as some issues with the single core CPUs.  I figured the 4330 and 6850e upgrades were essential to good performance and my investment paid off.  I haven't use the Zino extensively but my son uses it all the time for streaming ripped Blu-Rays from my unRAID server to his 42" Samsung HDTV with smooth playback.  The moral is, if you expect good performance from this little gem then don't buy it on the cheap with minimal specs.  Bite the bullet and upgrade the GPU to the 4330 at the very least.  The 3250e CPU (dual core 1.5 GHz) may be adequate but I'd rather have the 6850e (dual core 1.8 GHz) and remove all doubt.

One other issue people reported was that the fan was too loud.  This hasn't been the case with my Zino so it's probably one of those hit or miss situations.  Small fans on computer components seem to fall into this category with many different components so I pretty much expect it these days.

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Looks like Dell is releasing an updated version: http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/31/dell-zino-hd-410-quietly-leaks-out-with-amd-quad-core-potential/

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