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The appearance of nettops around 2008 kick started the small form factor HTPC craze. Until that point of time, SFF HTPCs were restricted to the DIY crowd. However, the anemic nature of the Atom platform on which most nettops were based was a downer for many. The ION platform led to the appearance of a slew of SFF HTPCs which garnered widespread market acceptance. However, the core Atom processor left many people still disappointed.

A couple of years back, mobile CPUs from both AMD and Intel began to achieve the required performance within approximately the same power envelop as the processors being used in the nettops. Acer took the plunge first, introducing the Acer X1200 mini-PC in 2008, but it wasn't in the mini-ITX form factor.

Dell was, in fact, the first to introduce a mini-ITX SFF HTPC build with their first generation Zino 400 HD HTPC. The mobile CPUs, combined with the AMD chipset having an integrate GPU (3200) / option of a discrete 4330 mGPU created a lot of interest amongst the HTPC enthusiasts. Despite being well received, the units did have problem with poor thermal design.

Between the appearance of the Zino 400 and the Zino 410 that we are currently reviewing, companies like ASRock caught on to the trend and started offering mini-ITX SFF HTPCs with varying degrees of capability. Dell seems to be committed to AMD for their SFF HTPC solution, and the approach they have taken for the Zino 410 is the same as the one for the Zino 400. The Zino 410 is offered in various configurations, and users can pick and choose components as they see fit.

Let us take a look at the configuration of the review unit sent to us by Dell:

Dell Zino 410 HD HTPC Specifications
Processor AMD Phenom II X4 P940
(4x1.70GHz, 45nm, 2MB L2, 25W)
Chipset AMD M880G + SB820
Memory 1x4GB + 1x2GB DDR3-1333 (Max 8GB)
Graphics ATI Mobility 5450 1GB DDR3
80 SPs, 675/675/800 MHz Core/Shader/RAM clocks
Hard Drive(s) 750GB 7200RPM 3.5" HDD
(Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AAES)
Optical Drive Blu-ray/DVDRW Combo
Networking Gigabit Ethernet
802.11n (Dell WLAN 1520)
Audio Microphone and headphone/speaker jacks
Capable of 5.1/7.1 digital output with HD audio bitstreaming(SPDIF/HDMI)
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Extras THX TruStudio Pro Audio Certification
Interchangeable colour lid
IR receiver and MCE remote
Wireless Keyboard / Mouse
Pricing Starting Price: $300
Price as configured: $775

Dell maxed out their Zino 410 HD specifications in the review unit. It comes in at $775, and lies in between the ASRock Core 100 and the ASRock Vision 3D that we had reviewed earlier.

Do the capabilities of the system fall in between the two? Is the Dell system worth the cost? Before we get into the details, let us take a look at the unboxing impressions.

Unboxing Impressions
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  • funtasticguy - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    Great and thorough review as always. I just purchased one of the these just yesterday when I noticed their new upgraded chips (P960 & P360). Anyway, does anyone know how easy is it to upgrade the hard drive? Reply
  • ganeshts - Sunday, February 20, 2011 - link

    Hard drive upgrading should be pretty straightforward. Just make sure the drive you put in doesn't dissipate more than 8.4 W under full load (just to ensure you don't run into issues with overheating of the unit) Reply
  • tkpmep - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    I bought a Zino 410 a few months ago that was configured almost exactly the same way as is the review unit, and found that it came without an IR receiver for a Windows Media Center Remote. It appears that you have to purchase Dell's own Media Center remote when ordering the unit in order for them to install the IR receiver. I now have to use a USB receiver to control WMC. This is disappointing. Also, the USB receiver for the wireless keyboard works a lot better when plugged into a port in front of the unit than into the rear. Apart from this, its a very nice machine. Reply
  • pirspilane - Sunday, February 20, 2011 - link

    just get a USB extension cable from monoprice.com Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Sunday, February 20, 2011 - link

    It seems a little funny at the top of the unboxing page.

    The paragraph that starts... Of all the SFF HTPCs I have seen, the Dell Zino 410 HD HTPC has the best industrial design....
    seems like it should be the first paragraph.

    because as it is now, the first paragraph ends with... Apart from the main Zino 410 unit, the package also contains:

    but then it starts another paragraph.

    seems like they got reversed.
    Reply
  • hvakrg - Sunday, February 20, 2011 - link

    Ok, so one could buy this and then upgrade the graphics by purchasing a new graphics card on ebay?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ATI-Mobility-Radeon-HD-5650-DD...
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    Need to handle the TDP properly. I think the 5650 is rated for 15-19W, while the 5450 is 11W max. If you don't game at all, it should be pretty OK to get past the video decoder limitations. Reply
  • leftyleno - Sunday, February 20, 2011 - link

    $90 SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX HTPC Computer Case GD05B
    $80 AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz
    $88 Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
    $60 SAMSUNG Black Blu-ray Drive SATA Model SH-B123L LightScribe Support
    $50 4 gig g skill ram
    $55 Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000 Keyboard and Mouse Set - Black
    $80 Radeon hd 5670
    $54 SeaSonic S12II 380B 380W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
    $100 ASUS M4A88TD-M/ USB3 SATA 3 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
    $100 Windows
    $20 Intel 622AN.HMWWB Mini PCI Express 6200 Centrino Advanced-N Wireless Adapter

    =$ 780

    Beat that Dell!
    Reply
  • GeorgeH - Sunday, February 20, 2011 - link

    SilverStone GD05B Dimensions:
    5.91"x17.32"x12.79", 1300 cubic inches
    Del Zino 410 Dimensions:
    3.4"x7.8"x7.8", 200 cubic inches

    The Dell is well over six times smaller.

    Radeon 5670 Power Consumption ~ 60W
    Zino 410 Power Consumption ~ ~60W

    The entire Dell system consumes as much power as one component.

    Not only did Dell already "beat that", they did so by a very large margin.
    Reply
  • geok1ng - Sunday, February 20, 2011 - link

    "$80 AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz"

    If you wanna do this, do it the right way; use an e series CPU from AMD for better thermals, or simply go the i3 way.

    "$54 SeaSonic S12II 380B 380W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply"

    That is A LOT of unused power, simply go the picoPSU way. Better thermals and small form factory. A well built sistem would use a notebook power brick to save space and move heat generation away from the SFF case.

    "$100 ASUS M4A88TD-M/ USB3 SATA 3 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard""

    With AMD integrated graphics, i would rather use a custom cooling solution and overclock the hell out of the IGP. 900Mhz core is not an impossible goal for 785G and better IGPs. AND there are smaller ITX MOBOs for this plataform.
    Reply

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