Looking for a gaming PC but don't want the bulk of a monstrous desktop? Zotac may have what you're looking for with the launch of the ZBOX EN760 mini PC. This device combines the graphical power of a Nvidia GPU with an Intel "Haswell" processor, providing a PC capable of producing 1080p gaming that can fit into the palm of your hand.
"It's the perfect time for a high-end gaming mini-PC," says Carsten Berger, senior director, Zotac International. "With a combination of the highly energy-efficient Nvidia Maxwell GPU architecture and Intel Haswell CPU architecture, we created the Zotac ZBOX EN760 series mini-PC to deliver a smooth and phenomenal 1080p gaming experience."
The new Zotac ZBOX EN760 Series comes in two flavors: barebones and "Plus." Both are packed with an Intel Core i5-4200U dual-core processor (1.6 GHz, 2.6 GHz), and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M "Maxwell" GPU with 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM (1020 MHz base / 1097 MHz boost). That's quite a bit of punch in a palm-sized form factor.
In addition to the CPU/GPU specs, the EN760 provides two 204-pin DDR3L SO-DIMM slots supporting up to 16 GB of DDR3-1600 memory, one SATA 3 (6 Gbps) connection and one mSATA (6 Gbps) connection. The more expensive "Plus" model will have 8 GB of DDR3 memory and a 1 TB hard drive already installed.
The new Zotac mini-PC also provides a 4-in-1 SD card reader, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, on-board Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, four USB 3.0 ports (two on the front, one on the back, one on the top), HDMI and DVI-I video output, and analog output. The device is Windows 7 and 8 ready, although you'll be required to provide the OS.
Zotac indicates that this new ZBOX EN760 mini PC is "the ultimate gaming mini-PC for demanding gamers." This system rides between the minimum and recommended specs for Watch Dogs, and should run the game at a decent frame rate. The game's minimum specs include an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 (2.66 GHz) and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 460. The max requires an Intel Core i7-3700 (3.5 GHz) and a GeForce GT 600-series GPU.
"Just think of it as a preview of the [Steam Machine] hardware," a rep told Tom's, referring to the new EN760. "The ZBOX Steam Machine will come with SteamOS plus [the] controller, but that's launching later when SteamOS is ready."
The pricing for the new ZBOX EN760 mini PC is $549.99 for the barebones version, and $699.99 for the "Plus" model. Both will be available in mid-June at Amazon, CDW, Newegg and a host of other online retailers.
Having said that, anyone buying one of these should clearly go barebones and install your own 2TB ($85 newegg)+8GB ($72 newegg) for basically the same cost as the plus. Or Seagate 1TB ($55 newegg), and the same memory then go buy a few games from gog or steam with the leftover change. The 10 minutes to install this stuff is worth it and from the vid at hexus is very easy to do (two screws pops the top). $7 and 10 minutes is worth an extra TB in HD space IMHO. I wish they'd just make these a little bigger so you could go quad with a fan or something right now. Just another inch high should get a fan and more room to dissipate the heat. A dual core isn't going to be worth much for long even an Intel one. I wonder if it would take a broadwell later?