Dell Zino HD 410 HTPC Reviewby Ganesh T S on February 19, 2011 7:08 AM EST
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|
AMD Phenom II X4 P940
(4x1.70GHz, 45nm, 2MB L2, 25W)
|Chipset||AMD M880G + SB820|
|Memory||1x4GB + 1x2GB DDR3-1333 (Max 8GB)|
ATI Mobility 5450 1GB DDR3
80 SPs, 675/675/800 MHz Core/Shader/RAM clocks
750GB 7200RPM 3.5" HDD
(Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AAES)
|Optical Drive||Blu-ray/DVDRW Combo|
802.11n (Dell WLAN 1520)
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|
THX TruStudio Pro Audio Certification
Interchangeable colour lid
IR receiver and MCE remote
Wireless Keyboard / Mouse
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.