The ZBOX comes in a small package, about the size one would expect for a mid-range graphics card. In making up for the small size of the PC, Zotac has put in all sorts of add-on peripherals into the package. The external PSU is rated for 65 W. Apart from the main unit, the setup guides, user manuals and driver CDs, the package contained the following:

  • VESA mounting plate with mounting screws
  • MCE remote with 2 CR2032 batteries
  • 65W (19V at 3.42A) AC - DC adaptor
  • USB 2.0 based Wi-Fi (150 Mbps 802.11n) adaptor
  • mini-Optical SPDIF adaptor
  • USB 2.0 based extensible IR receiver (allows users to utilize the MCE remote even when the ZBOX is VESA mounted)

The main unit has a sleek rounded finish and is definitely aesthetically pleasing. The various external features of the unit have already been tabulated in the previous section. The gallery below has some photos of the unit.

The underside of the unit can be easily removed by unscrewing the four rubber risers. This gives access to the SO-DIMM as well as the mSATA slot. These are the user replaceable components. After voiding the warranty, it is possible to take a look at the other side of the board. It is quite surprising that Zotac has managed to put a fan on top of the board in such a small system. Given the space constraints, the fan is indeed short in diameter. When the system isn't being stressed much, the fan is pretty quiet. However, once the fan starts to increase the RPM, the noise dampening is not effective at all. While I would have preferred a fanless system, I do see that the target market for this PC might include people who don't understand the necessity to keep a passively cooled system in a well ventilated location.

After putting the system back together, I proceeded to boot up the system. The BIOS is quite basic, and very similar to what Ian saw in the Zotac Fusion350-A-E review except for a custom background. My main gripe with the BIOS is that there is no way for the users to set the amount of memory to keep allocated to the integrated GPU. It is set to a very inflexible 384 MB.

Once past the BIOS, I went ahead and installed Windows 7 Ultimate x64 off an USB flash drive. The install went smooth, albeit not as fast I would have wanted for a SSD based system. After installation, I found that a number of peripherals were not working (including the Ethernet and the Wi-Fi). All the drivers to be installed were on a couple of CDs, and this was a system with no optical drive. I had to hunt down another machine with an optical drive and then copy over the CD's contents onto a flash drive to proceed with the installation. After this stage, Windows took care of updating itself. It is really irritating to see companies shipping units without optical drives, but still supply drivers on a CD.

The Zotac ZBOX Nano XS AD11 Plus in Operation
(Note that the bright green ring can be turned off in the BIOS)

SSDs are meant to get things done fast on a machine. Reduction in boot time is one of the purported advantages. However, on the ZBOX unit, a Win7 SP1 clean install took around 31 seconds to boot. This is nothing to write home about. In the next section, we will take a look at the general performance metrics.

Introduction General Performance Metrics
POST A COMMENT

43 Comments

View All Comments

  • dealcorn - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    The form factor has appeal and will increase sales because it is cute. However, the relevant, missing comparative data point should be Intel's dn2800mt which provides a lower cost, more efficient alternative to the Atom Ion boards of old. Reply
  • markq - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    This machine is directly comparable to an atom based nettop. Why were the performance numbers not compared to an atom machine? My wife curently has an atom based unit and I would like to be able to determine if this is a suitable replacement for it. Reply
  • Matias - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    I had an ID11 before the AD10, and the E350 is way better than the 510+ION for video playback, and CPU is a little faster. There are other reviews that compare them. Reply
  • Spunjji - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    Because that would make Brazos look good. ;) Reply
  • msroadkill612 - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    not my cup of tea - always a big price for such excessive miniaturisation

    am interested in brazos tho

    a review of a brazos mini itx board would be interesting to see what problems go away - the review judges the barazos package based on a sample of one

    no mention of memory used - i hear 1600~ ram helps heaps on llanos anyway - cos it is used by the gpu also

    not surprised by fan noise in such a small package

    in short - we should reserve our judgement & hunt up other brazos reviews

    some of the flaws dont sound right - the dropped frames e.g

    power numbers v impressive

    Idle 14.1 W
    Prime95 + Furmark (Full loading) 31.4 W
    1080p24 MKV Playback using DXVA 24.4 W

    as a thin client on a cloud - a lot for the boss to like - a big cost can be aircon w/ all those hot overpowered PCs pumping heat into the office in summer

    imagine 40nm brazos at 32nm (now running smoothly for amd) or 28 nm, (next node for their now 40nm gpuS) tweaked a bit
    Reply
  • Tralalak - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    W will waiting to ZOTAC ZBOX nano VD-series with VIA QuadCore procesor and all-in-one chipset VIA VX11 MSP with DirectX11 VIA Chrome 645 IGP. Reply
  • R3MF - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    i like, i really do, but i will put cash on the table when Zotac show me a model sporting an AMD Trinity Fusion APU........... Reply
  • adityanag - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    The pictures are pretty poor (not the internal ones in the gallery, those are OK). It looks like you took them with a phone. I'm not suggesting that you need to get a $5000 camera, but at least something that is in focus?

    Not trying to be too negative or anything, rather liked the review, and that's why I wish the pictures were better.
    Reply
  • adityanag - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    I saw another comment that explained why the pictures were poor, so I take it back.. a little... even pictures shot in a hurry should be focused! Reply
  • NerdMan - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    Agreed.

    A 1st rate site should definitely have quality photos, no matter how quickly the review is done!

    I loved AnandTech back in its heyday, but it's fast becoming a 2nd rate review site.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now