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Zotac's Zbox Nanos stand out for their extremely small size and surprising potency. The AD11 includes AMD’s 1.65 GHz E-450 APU with Radeon HD 6320 graphics able to run as fast as 600 MHz. Selling for $380 on Newegg, this is the least-expensive system in our story with a processor, hard drive, and memory.
Measuring 4.25” x 4.25” x 1.5”, the tiny Zbox's largest dimension is even smaller than the length of my hand. Like other Zboxes, when the AD11 is powered on, a ring-shaped light inside the top cover comes on. Because this is an AMD-based configuration, that light is green.
Together with the black top/bottom and brushed metal sides, this Zbox nano XS AD11 looks sharp.
Room for I/O is limited, so Zotac choose HDMI as the only display output option around back. Additionally, you get two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, and a power supply interface. Considering the Nano AD11's size, we weren't expecting much more. It's really just nice to get four total USB ports.
The front panel hosts a combo eSATA/USB port (the sticker under it is removable), an infrared sensor for the included MCE remote, a power button, a card reader, and a couple of 1/8" audio jacks. Again, given this product's size, that's plenty of I/O. Though, if we wanted to nitpick, more front-accessible USB would be nice.
Zotac’s Zbox nano XS AD11 includes an external power supply, software CDs, a manual, a quick-start guide, a VESA bracket for attaching the system to the back of a monitor, a secondary IR sensor on a long cable (which is extremely useful if the system is, in fact, mounted behind a monitor), a wireless dongle, and a Windows Media Center Edition remote with two batteries. We’ve complained about other Zboxes that don’t come with a remote, so we’re happy to see Zotac take this into consideration with its AD11. No operating system is included.
Zotac’s MCE remote is the same model we’ve seen bundled with ASRock's machines. It’s a functional piece of hardware that gets its job done, despite buttons that are smaller than we'd like. This one is painted black and has the company’s logo at the bottom. We observed about 180 degrees of usable area, and the remote worked at the farthest point in our room, about 15 feet from the AD11. Of course, you could also set up the secondary, wired sensor for even more flexibility with reception.
Getting to the AD11's hard disk and memory is easy. The rubber feet on the bottom of the unit are actually screws, and you don't need any tools to remove them. Inside, we see Kingston's mS100 64 GB SSD and a 2 GB memory module running at 670 MHz. The RAM can be upgraded to 4 GB, and the SSD does wonders for this tiny PC's responsiveness, despite otherwise-modest system specifications.
Zotac's Zbox nano XS AD11 BIOS is about what you’d expect from a configuration based on a platform designed for mobile applications. It includes a number of feature settings, but nothing to alter performance. You can tweak the memory voltage, though.