Miscellaneous Aspects and Concluding Remarks

The power consumption at the wall was measured with the display being driven through the HDMI port. In the graphs below, we compare the idle and load power of the ZBOX OI520 Plus with other low power PCs evaluated before. For load power consumption, we ran Furmark 1.12.0 and Prime95 v27.9 together. The unit could have been more power efficient compared to the Intel NUC kit if it had come with a SSD instead of the hard drive.

Idle Power Consumption

Load Power Consumption (Prime95 + FurMark)

Given the active nature of the thermal solution, it is no surprise that the unit is able to handle full loading without any throttling. In fact, even after a hour of processor-intensive tasks (30 minutes of full CPU loading + 30 minutes of full CPU and GPU loading), the maximum temperature of the cores was only 71 C (as show in the gallery below).

Coming to the business end of the review, it is heartening to see motherboard / mini-PC vendors sit up and build upon Intel's NUC efforts. The OI520's performance is very similar to the high-end NUC, but it has additional I/O options (extra USB 2.0 ports, card reader etc.). For users looking to get a mini-PC that is not just a plain rectangular box, the ZBOX Sphere OI520 makes for a very good choice. Pretty much the only downside is that the Plus model makes for a questionable choice as it come with hard drives instead of SSDs and only one SO-DIMM slot occupied. Readers would be better off grabbing the non-Plus model and putting in a SSD / two SO-DIMM sticks for better performance.

HTPC Aspects - Network Streaming and Local Playback
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  • Sushisamurai - Friday, August 01, 2014 - link

    It would almost seem like a 65W Kaveri would have been a better fit in this system... Especially considering local file playback Reply
  • Sushisamurai - Friday, August 01, 2014 - link

    Oops, didn't notice this was a 15W watt part... Kaveri doesn't really fit then... Or does it ^_~ Reply
  • BMNify - Friday, August 01, 2014 - link

    no amd soc meets these soc as AVX2 and Intel® Quick Sync Video are pretty much a base requirement in 2014/15 for high quality video playback and real time video capture/streaming. Reply
  • BMNify - Friday, August 01, 2014 - link

    OC saying that , even this dual core/quad thread intel soc doesn't really cut it for me, i cant even remember the last dual core anything i bought, even with intel in 2014/15 even if the OEM's are buying loads of intel soc for the next mobile/static blitz this holiday season , im not interested in buying as an end consumer unless its got quad core, and the said AVX2+ and Quick Sync... Reply
  • Assimilator87 - Friday, August 01, 2014 - link

    <blockquote>no amd soc meets these soc as AVX2 and Intel® Quick Sync Video are pretty much a base requirement in 2014/15 for high quality video playback and real time video capture/streaming.</blockquote>

    BMNify, I'm not arguing against your love for AVX2 and Quick Sync. On the other hand, you've overlooked some details. Haswell is not an SoC. That honor belongs to the Saltwell based chips. Also, both AMD and nVidia have equivalents to Quick Sync, being VCE and NVENC respectively.
    Reply
  • xdrol - Sunday, August 03, 2014 - link

    Mobile Haswell _is_ an SoC.

    But AVX2 as base requirement? lol.. there are practically no programs for AVX2 because Intel decided to leave it out 70+% of all sold devices (Celerons, Pentiums). And QuickSync as "high quiality"? Have you even seen what blurry shit it makes?
    Reply
  • emn13 - Sunday, August 03, 2014 - link

    That's just nonsense. You certainly don't need quicksync for even high-end video playback - a single CPU tends to be enough (and you've got more than one, right?). I suspect AMD has a "iGPU" accelerated playback mode too. Though again, you don't need it (and the quality of quicksync is inferior to that of software decoders/encoders).

    AVX2 is neat, but similar truly not a requirement.

    I recently got smoothvideo to run... smoothly on an ancient Q6600 with an ancient 9600GT card. I would certainly recommend more, but note: you really don't need quicksync.
    Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, August 01, 2014 - link

    Gigabyte build a Brix based on AMD's last-gen Richland core. Now that a 45watt Kaveri chip is available they may decide to build one with that.

    For perspective the i7-4770R in the Brix Pro, which is both larger and runs hot is a 65watt chip so I can't see zotac fitting it in here.
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, August 01, 2014 - link

    I was going to say "wait for Carrizo", but that will likely be a 28nm part (at this rate), so I don't think they'll get their power/heat issues resolved. I like these little systems, but they are all just too weak in GPU power to justify moving away from my current setups. Reply
  • Sushisamurai - Friday, August 01, 2014 - link

    Yeah, little systems attract me too. But I agree with subpar GPU performance. I still remember my netbook struggling to run a 1080p mkv file... *sighs* Reply

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