Zotac announced a new SFF PC, the Magnus EN970, which utilizes a mobile 5th Gen Intel Core (Broadwell) CPU. The surprising feature of this new SFF PC is that it offers a desktop Nvidia Maxwell GPU, giving the system considerable graphics power for such a small system.
Zotac plans to offer the Magnus EN970 in two different models. One is a barebones system, while the other is a complete, ready-to-use PC. The complete system, the "Magnus EN970 Plus," includes 8 GB DDR3L and a 120 GB M.2 SSD.
|Product||Zotac Magnus EN970||Zotac Magnus EN970 Plus|
|Memory||2 x DDR3L - Up to 16 GB 1600 MHz||1 x 8 GB DDR3L - One slot free, Up to 16 GB 1600 MHz|
|Storage||1 x M.2 SATA slot2 x 2.5" SATA HDD/SDD slots||120 GB M.2 SSD2 x 2.5" SATA HDD/SDD slots|
|RAID||RAID 0/1 Support|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-5200U - Dual-Core 2.2 GHz (Up to 2.7 GHz)|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 (3 GB GDDR5, 192-bit)|
|Display Options||4 x HDMI 2.0|
|Card Reader||3-in-1 (SD/SDHC/SDXC)|
|Ethernet||Dual 10/100/1000 Mbps|
|Wireless Networking||802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0|
|USB Ports||4 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0|
|Dimensions||210 x 203 x 52.5 mm(L x W x H)|
Given the nature of SFF PCs, most of these systems tend to rely on low-power components that are easily cooled inside of a constrained chassis. Taking advantage of new low-power desktop and mobile hardware, however, Zotac was able to fit a desktop Nvidia GTX 960 inside of the system.
Comparing the Zotac Magnus EN970 to similarly-sized devices such as Intel's NUC, MSI's Cubi, Gigabyte's BRIX and Asus's VivoPC, the Zotac Magnus EN970 easily has the highest-end graphics hardware. Intel uses only its integrated graphics inside of its NUCs, and the fastest GPU Asus uses in its products is an Nvidia GeForce 820M.
Some of Gigabyte's BRIX systems have relatively high-end graphics cards, with the fastest ones rocking a desktop Nvidia GeForce GTX 760, but it can't quite match the performance of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960. The Magnus EN970 also benefits from the new features introduced in the Nvidia 900 series of GPUs, such as HDMI 2.0, allowing it to push 60 fps at 4K resolutions.
Although the Zotac Magnus EN970 has the fastest graphics card among its competitors, it is lacking a little in the CPU department. Zotac opted to pair the GTX 960 with a relatively limited dual-core Intel Core i5-5200U. It is questionable if this CPU will allow the GPU to run at its full potential, as it may bottleneck the system. Other SFF PC makers, as well as Zotac itself, have several systems with quad-core mobile i7 CPUs, but for some reason Zotac didn't include one here.
|Competing SFF PCs|
|Product||Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi7G3-760||MSI Cubi-029BUS||Intel NUC NUC5i7RYH|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-4710HQ||Intel Core i7-5500U||Intel Core i7-5557U|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce GTX 760||Intel HD Graphics||Intel Iris Graphics 6100|
|Dimensions||128 x 115.4 x 59.6 mm(L x W x H)||115 x 111 x 32.5 mm(L x W x H)||115 x 111 x 48.7 mm (L x W x H)|
Our initial thought was that it could be because of power and thermal restrictions, but one of Gigabyte's BRIX systems uses the much faster quad-core Intel i7-4710HQ in conjunction with a desktop GTX 760. Not only does the i7-4710HQ (47 W TDP) consume more energy and produce more heat than the i5-5200U (15 W TDP), but the desktop GTX 760 also consumes more power and produces more heat than the Nvidia GTX 960. According to our tests on these GPUs, during a torture test the GTX 760 consumed 157 W of power, while the GTX 960 topped out at only 119 W. Gigabyte's system does this inside of a smaller chassis than the new Zotac systems, too.
Currently, there is no word on pricing or availability for these systems.