Dec 11 2015

News - Zotac Zboxes Skylake

Very few OEMs have embraced the SFF like Zotac with their Zbox line of mini-PCs, so it's great to see them expanding the lineup with Skylake. It looks like they've opted to start with a very capable CPU; the 35W quad core Intel Core i5-6400T. The good stuff doesn't stop there however, with M.2, a 2.5" drive slot and support for up to 16GB of DDR3L packed into the ZBOX-MI551-BE. Meaning you could barebones your way into a very capable HTPC system.

Apr 08 2012

News - ZOTAC ZBOX Blu-ray AD05 Plus Reviewed

I recently had a Blu-ray player die right in the middle of family movie marathon night, leaving me wishing that my HTPC was equipped to take its place. An HTPC like the ZOTAC ZBOX Blu-ray AD05 Plus would have come in mighty handy. The AD05 is the latest in ZOTAC's line of Blu-ray equipped mini-PCs. The base model is a barebones system equipped with an AMD E-450 with its integrated Radeon HD 6320 GPU, but the plus model is a complete system with 2GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive. Both versions include a remote control and IR sensor, as well as a VESA mount for installing the system to the back of a TV. Just add your own OS and the result would certainly be better than the replacement Blu-ray player I ended up with.


Starting with the build quality of the ZBOX AD05 Plus we have a unit which feels sturdy in the hands thanks to parts which fit well together, thick rigid plastic and a nice brushed metal finish. The overall design is also nice with the system looking like it would fit into most home theatre environments. It certainly looks like a Blu-ray player more than a PC.

Hardware Heaven

Mar 12 2012

News - ZOTAC Announces New ZBOX PCs at Cebit 2012

Cebit is usually one of my favorite tech trade shows. CES may be fun, but shows like Computex and Cebit are when the real hardware is unveiled. Unfortunately, between the Windows 8 Consumer Preview release and the new iPad announcement, this year's Cebit kind of fell through the cracks for me. It's unfortunate too, because there was some neat stuff on display such as AFOX's single-slot 7850 graphics card or the ROCCAT Power-Grid app. On the HTPC front, ZOTAC announced some new entries into their line-up of ZBOX mini PCs. At the high-end is the new ZBOX ID82 sporting a Core i3 2330M processor. Intel also gets its first opportunity to provide a processor in the extra tiny ZBOX nano line with the Celeron 867-packing ID61. Finally, ZOTAC also announced the ZBOX Blu-Ray AD05 based on AMD's E-450 processor. As usual, all three new ZBOXs are available in a standard barebones and in a Plus version with preinstalled memory and hard drive.

Zotac AD05 Plus

 ZOTAC International, a global innovator of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today starts CeBIT 2012 with three new mini-PCs in standard, nano and Blu-ray form factors. The new ZBOX ID82, ZBOX nano ID61 and ZBOX Blu-ray AD05 series mini-PCs are perfect matches for users seeking a powerful tower PC replacement, home theater PC or energy-efficient PC.


Mar 11 2012

News - ZOTAC ZBOX ID80 Plus Reviewed

ZOTAC kicked the new year off at CES with the announcement that would be unleashing a new line of ZBOX mini PCs in both AMD and Intel flavors. We've seen a review of the AMD E-450-based AD04, but if Intel Atoms are more your speed, then the ID80 may be worth considering. Under normal circumstances, an Atom-based system would be hard-pressed to keep up with a Fusion-based system for HTPC duties, but the ID80 has a trick up its sleeve. The ZBOX ID80 comes equipped with a 2.18 GHz Intel Atom D2700 processor paired with an NVIDIA GT 520M GPU. That Nvidia GPU means the ID80 should offer considerably better performance where it counts for HTPC fans. The ZBOX ID80 Plus is a pre-assembled version of ZOTAC's systems, and comes equipped with 2GB of memory and a 320 Gb hard drive, but Zotac also offers a barebones, non-Plus version for those who want to bring their own memory and storage.


The Zotac ZBOX ID80 Plus Mini PC is an energy efficient system utilizing the latest Intel Atom D2700 processor with an NVIDIA GT 520M GPU. The Zotac ZBOX ID80 Plus Mini PC also comes with a 2GB DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM memory module, as well as a 320GB 5400rpm HDD, requiring an OS installation to be functional right out of the box. For display connectivity, the Zotac ZBOX ID80 Plus MiniPC has a dual-link DVI and an HDMI 1.4 port so you can connect it to your HDTV or 3DTV.

HiTech Legion

Jan 27 2012

News - ZOTAC ZBOX AD04 Plus Reviewed

ZOTAC got the ball rolling early at CES this year by announcing their 2012 lineup of ZBOX PCs and barebones. The ZBOX systems are extremely compact mini-PCs, well-suited to use as HTPCs. Indeed, the ZBOX AD04 Plus reviewed here even comes with a WMC-compatible remote control and a bracket for mounting the system to the back of a monitor or TV. The ZBOX AD04 is an AMD E-450 based system and the Plus designation indicates that this particular model comes fully equipped with 2GB of DDR3 memory and a 320GB hard drive. The packed in remote control does not appear to be anything to write home about, but the system did handle all of the HD content thrown at with aplomb and might be a solid choice for folks looking for a compact, low-power HTPC. It might also be worth opting for the barebones version of the AD04 and slipping in a faster hard drive.


Now we are starting to see a number of ultra small systems updated with the latest AMD E-450 dual core APU which features CPU and GPU in one compact design. A front runner in this market is the latest ZBOX from ZOTAC, the AD04 Plus and we have one of the first samples on our review bench today.

Hardware Heaven

Jan 11 2012

News - Zotac Unveils New Zbox Lineup

Zotac Zbox

Zotac's Zbox line of mini PCs have always been aimed square at the HTPC market and Zotac is making clear that they plan to continue to chase that market with their 2012 lineup. They have three 2nd-generation Zbox variants on tap this year, the ID80, ID81, and AD04. As in the past, the three Zbox models will come in a barebones version and a fully assembled "Plus" version already outfitted with memory and storage. This year's models will also continue to pack a remote control, intergrated Wi-Fi, and a whole heap of connectivity options. No word yet on pricing or availability.

Despite sharing the same brand, each system packs different internals. The ID80 touts Intel's power-sipping Atom D2700 Cedar Trail platform which is aided by an Nvidia GeForce GT 520M GPU. The ID81 relies on a Sandy Bridge-based Celeron 857 for general and graphics processing, while the AD04 mixes things up with a dual-core AMD E-450 Zacate Fusion APU.


Jun 10 2011

News - Zotac ZBOX: Brazos Goes HTPC

How did I miss posting this review of the latest SFF by our very own Andrew Van Til over at Anandtech. As we've come to expect the review is extremely thorough and Andrew does a great job of analyzing it's performance which he deems is worthy of your living room (as long as your CPU requirements aren't too demanding).

Zotac ZBOX: Brazos Goes HTPC

Looking at both the ZBOX and its specifications, including a 2GB SO-DIMM and a 2.5” 5400 RPM hard drive, it should be clear that this mini-PC has more in common with a laptop than a “normal” HTPC. Unlike most laptops, there is still a small window for upgrades with one mini PCIe slot (the other is filled with a 2.4GHz 802.11n card) and a free SO-DIMM available. The system is very compact, which pays obvious dividends in size, but this is also a limitation with the cooling solution being the most tangible, immediate artifact. As with most laptops, the ZBOX is very quiet under minimal load but fans quickly spin up when the system is stressed to produce an audible hum in environments with a low noise floor. That said, the form factor is generally a good match for an E-350 Fusion based system, but ZOTAC’s [understandable] preference for product flexibility influences the placement and availability of external ports that hampers the execution more than I prefer in a dedicated SFF HTPC.


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