This week, Zotac International introduced a new series of nano-style mini PCs that pack Intel Broadwell processors. More specifically, the ZBOX MI522 nano includes a dual-core Intel Core i3-5010U processor clocked at 2.1 GHz, and the ZBOX MI542 nano rocks a beefier dual-core Intel Core i5-5200U (2.2 GHz, 2.7 GHz Turbo). Both include Intel HD Graphics 5500, which is capable of a 3840 x 2160 display output at 60 Hz.
Both ZBOX M-Series units are nearly identical. They include two dual-channel DDR3-1600 slots supporting up to 16 GB of memory, a slot for a 2.5-inch SATA HDD or SSD, a 3-in-1 card reader, Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, and dual gigabit Ethernet. There's also HDMI 1.4a output and DisplayPort 1.2 output, four USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, headphone and microphone jacks.
The beauty of these two Zotac products is that they're small enough to remain out of sight, hiding behind a desktop monitor or a large HDTV. They measure just 5 x 5 x 2 inches, small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. But don't let the size fool you; there's plenty of processing power packed into each unit to run many DirectX 11.2/OpenGL 4.3 games and your favorite desktop apps.
Jacky Huang, Director of Product Management at Zotac International, said that customers get the best of both worlds thanks to the new M-Series of nano PCs: speed and power efficiency provided by the Broadwell chips. "We are always forward looking and pleased to introduce the latest technology into our mini-PCs so our users can enjoy all the innovations that come with the times."
Like most mini-PCs offered by Zotac, there are two versions of each ZBOX model. There's a barebones kit (no RAM, no HDD) and a fully-loaded "Plus" version. The completed M-Series versions include 4 GB of DDR3 dual-channel memory and a 500 GB 2.5-inch SATA HDD for a higher price. All four models are Windows Vista/7/8.1 ready, meaning you will have to provide your own operating system with these models.
We've reached out to Zotac to find out when they will be released in North America and for how much.
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I would love to see such a small form factor pc that adds a bit of height and a more powerful power brick that allows you to use a itx gpu. Don't know how well it would sell but if you had a full fledged gaming pc at the size of an xbox with the gpu suiting your needs maybe more gamers would go for them. The Alienware alpha is pretty much useless with the limited gpu and itx cases can be bulky.Reply
"The beauty of these two Zotac products is that they're small enough to remain out of sight, hiding behind a desktop monitor or a large HDTV"Reply
I think even a full tower PC is small enough to hide behind even a modest 40" TV LOL!
Falcon Northwest, Origin, iBUYpower, and a whole slew of of the other factory "gaming" brands make systems that are the size of a blu-ray player that can fit full size gpu. SilverStone Raven RVZ and Milo series are the smallest itx boxes you can get with full gpu support.Reply
... there's plenty of processing power packed into each unit to run many DirectX 11.2/OpenGL 4.3 gamesIntel graphics have come a long way but it's beyond wishful thinking (from either Zoltac or Intel) that the integrated GPU on a 15w mobile i3 processor, fan-less or otherwise, in a SFF box, will put a decent dent in any modern DX11 game.
Even the ones they cherry-pick :)
Maybe Intel hit a transistor-density sweet spot, but this is likely marketing frou-frou.
I would love to see such a small form factor pc that adds a bit of height and a more powerful power brick that allows you to use a itx gpu.Or, an actual, simple, plug&play self-powered external GPU. There is a 'Thunder-Bolt' HD 5570 (I think) but it's hot, convoluted and expensive to set up.
Remember: We are dealing with the Mobile graphics and a 15w 'ULV' chip. From a graphics standpoint, I suspect they would be happy in the range of the AMD A8-6410 APU.
Zoltac has made some 35w or so ZBOXs with nVidia discreet mobile graphics which would be a nice step above the i3-5010U.
A 15w Kaveri FX mobile APU in dual-graphics could do some serious damage, here.