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Zotac Announces Tiny PC With An Nvidia Desktop GPU

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.

ProductZotac Magnus EN970Zotac Magnus EN970 Plus
SKUZBOX-EN970ZBOX-EN970-P
Memory2 x DDR3L - Up to 16 GB 1600 MHz1 x 8 GB DDR3L - One slot free, Up to 16 GB 1600 MHz
Storage1 x M.2 SATA slot2 x 2.5" SATA HDD/SDD slots120 GB M.2 SSD2 x 2.5" SATA HDD/SDD slots
RAIDRAID 0/1 Support
CPUIntel Core i5-5200U - Dual-Core 2.2 GHz (Up to 2.7 GHz)
GPUNvidia GeForce GTX 960 (3 GB GDDR5, 192-bit)
Display Options4 x HDMI 2.0
Card Reader3-in-1 (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
EthernetDual 10/100/1000 Mbps
Wireless Networking802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0
USB Ports4 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0
HDCPYes
Dimensions210 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
ProductGigabyte BRIX GB-BXi7G3-760MSI Cubi-029BUSIntel NUC NUC5i7RYH
CPUIntel Core i7-4710HQIntel Core i7-5500UIntel Core i7-5557U
GPUNvidia GeForce GTX 760Intel HD GraphicsIntel Iris Graphics 6100
Dimensions128 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.

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  • TechyInAZ
    Actually the gigabyte BRIX BXi7GE-760 runs a GTX 870M instead. There is no way you can run a desktop 760 in such a small package, so gigabyte opted for the gtx 870M which is the mobile equivalent to the 760. You can find it online.
    Reply
  • wicketr
    So basically their Steam Machine without Steam? http://www.tomshardware.com/news/zotac-steam-machine-skylake,28688.html
    Reply
  • TallestJon96
    Yeah Zotac is going to launch a similar product as a steam machine.

    It's going to feature a 970m, which is a tier above the 960, but below a 970, a skylake CPU (unspecified), a 64gb m.2 drive, 1tb hard drive, and 8gb ram. Seems like a well rounded machine to me, similar to this en970.

    Also a 3Gb 960? When did that come out?
    Reply
  • Duncan3601
    Unless if it's a typo, I'm very happy to see a 3GB 960! For the 1080p performance point, 2GB isn't going to be enough for much longer, but 4GB is too much- Both AMD an NVIDIA messed up with the 960/380 by not making them 3GB cards like the 280/280X. Hopefully there will be an aftermarket stand-alone desktop card from Zotac that is a 3GB 960.
    Reply
  • FearfulSPARTAN
    Unless if it's a typo, I'm very happy to see a 3GB 960! For the 1080p performance point, 2GB isn't going to be enough for much longer, but 4GB is too much- Both AMD an NVIDIA messed up with the 960/380 by not making them 3GB cards like the 280/280X. Hopefully there will be an aftermarket stand-alone desktop card from Zotac that is a 3GB 960.

    While agree that 3gb is the sweet spot right now, 4gb gives some headroom and some games can use it. What I find most interesting is that it says it has a 192 bit bus which indicates that it cant be gm 206 so maybe its a further cut down 970?
    Reply
  • photonboy
    Almost as powerful as my i7-3770K + GTX680 (for most games). Most games will run max or get pretty close visually (if tweaked properly).

    Pretty impressive assuming the price is reasonable and the noise under load stays low enough.
    Reply
  • Duncan3601
    Unless if it's a typo, I'm very happy to see a 3GB 960! For the 1080p performance point, 2GB isn't going to be enough for much longer, but 4GB is too much- Both AMD an NVIDIA messed up with the 960/380 by not making them 3GB cards like the 280/280X. Hopefully there will be an aftermarket stand-alone desktop card from Zotac that is a 3GB 960.

    While agree that 3gb is the sweet spot right now, 4gb gives some headroom and some games can use it. What I find most interesting is that it says it has a 192 bit bus which indicates that it cant be gm 206 so maybe its a further cut down 970?

    Yea that is a bit odd- I think that Zotac modified the gm 206 somehow, or are using some variant (possible pre/proto 960ti? -just speculation) to provide better interfacing for the additional ram.
    Reply
  • ragenalien
    If you look closely this 960 is identically spec'd to the 970m with only half the VRAM.
    Reply
  • Bloob
    Even with DX12 or Vulkan, wouldn't that CPU be a bottleneck?
    Reply
  • dezonio2
    Somebody done goofed up in Zotac. That has to be a GTX 970m inside.

    So basically their Steam Machine without Steam? http://www.tomshardware.com/news/zotac-steam-machine-skylake,28688.html
    That steam machine had a 50w 970m GPU. That's way more likely than a 120w desktop part. The chassis also look pretty similar. And both have "970" in the name.

    So basically their Steam Machine without Steam? http://www.tomshardware.com/news/zotac-steam-machine-skylake,28688.html
    Unless if it's a typo, I'm very happy to see a 3GB 960! For the 1080p performance point, 2GB isn't going to be enough for much longer, but 4GB is too much- Both AMD an NVIDIA messed up with the 960/380 by not making them 3GB cards like the 280/280X. Hopefully there will be an aftermarket stand-alone desktop card from Zotac that is a 3GB 960.

    While agree that 3gb is the sweet spot right now, 4gb gives some headroom and some games can use it. What I find most interesting is that it says it has a 192 bit bus which indicates that it cant be gm 206 so maybe its a further cut down 970?
    192 bit bus is on the 970m. The 3GB denominations of VRAM is done on the mobile GPUs.

    Anyway I love my desktop Zotac GTX 970. Even though it doesn't seem to support PCIe M.2 drives, if it's priced right, I will seriously consider it for my next LAN PC.
    Reply