Zotac Zbox review
Author: Vedran Dakic
Date: 06 Oct 2010
Testing new and popular stuff is always a bit more fun - especially when you're dealing with market trends that happen only once every now and then. The same thing happened with laptops - at one point, they overtook desktops on the overall "interest scale". Then came netbooks and nettops. Both of those have one thing in common for NVIDIA - their Ion platform. Let's see what this Zotac's baby can do.
First and foremost, if you had a chance to play around with some of the first Ion-based netbooks/nettops, there are some changes here. First thing is the fact that NVIDIA has to "work their way around" the Atom CPU to give this platform the GPU solution it wants to give. In turn, that means some differences - first Ions were definitely cooler then Ion 2-based products. That also means a bit more noise coming out from the cooling system, which is actually a bit noticeable on the Zbox. It's still a very neat platform that gives you an awful lot of horsepower in a device that's really small. This especially goes for any kind of multimedia usage as this is what Ion 2 platform is kind of here for. HD Video playback is no hassle at all for it - as it was for the first Ion generation.
As far as hardware is concerned, this one has dual-core Intel Atom D510 (45nm CPU) ticking at 1.67GHz. Also, not being a number-crunching machine, it has NVIDIA's Ion 2 platform inside, which basically means that you have a HD-video capable device with CUDA support and 512MB of video memory to abuse. For whatever comes to mind. Also, it comes with no memory or hard drive so you can pick and choose. That's a cool concept although it kills the price-performance ratio a bit. But we appericiate the freedom.