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Zotac Enters Steam Machine Fray With SFF 'NEN'

Zotac announced the release of the NEN Steam Machine, a tiny form factor gaming system designed for use in a living room entertainment system. The NEN Steam Machine includes an Intel Skylake i5 processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics, 8 GB DDR3L memory, and a 1 TB hard drive. 

Zotac said it designed the case to fit in with an entertainment center. Inside the 5.71-inch tall case, Zotac's engineers managed to fit dual radial coolers to keep the components cool. The company claimed this produces whisper quiet operation. The case also features the ability to disable to power LED on the front of the case if you so desire. 

Zotac equipped the system with an Intel Core i5-6400T 2.2 GHz processor, a single 8 GB stick of DDR3L memory, and a 2.5-inch 1 TB HDD. Zotac left room to add one memory stick for a maximum of 16 GB, and there is an M.2 slot available to upgrade to an SSD.

For the graphics, Zotac included an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 GPU with 3 GB of GDDR5. Unlike the desktop variant of this GPU, the outputs from this system are all HDMI 2.0 ports. You won't find a DisplayPort or DVI on the back of the NEN, but you will find four HDMI ports that are capable of outputting 4K resolutions to compatible TVs.

Zotac NEN Steam Machine
CPUIntel Core i5-6400T Skylake quad-core 2.2 GHz processor (turboboost 2.8 GHz)
GPUNvidia GeForce GTX 960 (192-bit, 3 GB GDDR5)
Memory8 GB Memory (single stick, expandable to 16 GB)
Storage1 x 1 TB 2.5-inch SATA HDD1 x M.2 SATA SSD Slot (unused)
Display Options4x HDMI 2.0
Card Reader3-in-1 (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
NetworkDual 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet
Wireless802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0
USB Ports3 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C, 2 x USB 2.0
AudioHDMI Audio, Headphone, Microphone
Direct X SupportDirect X 12
OSSteamOS Pre-installed
ControllerOne Steam Controller Included
Model NameZBOX-SN970-P-BE/U/J

The NEN Steam Machine naturally comes pre-installed with Valve's gaming-oriented operating system, SteamOS, and it includes one Steam Controller to control your games. The NEN also has the option of using a keyboard and mouse, although these peripherals are not included in the box.

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  • Brian_R170
    "Inside the 5.71-inch tall case, ..." Zotac's website says 210mm x 203mm x 62.2mm (8.27in x 7.99in x 2.45 in)
    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    16888405 said:
    "Inside the 5.71-inch tall case, ..." Zotac's website says 210mm x 203mm x 62.2mm (8.27in x 7.99in x 2.45 in)

    That's interesting.
    the brochure that Zotac sent us has different dimensions.

    • Length: 290mm (11.41in)
    • Width: 290mm (11.41in)
    • Height: 145mm (5.71in)
    Reply
  • Haravikk
    Any word on pricing? The extra 1gb video memory over the Alienware Alpha is nice, and the M.2 slot is especially welcome, especially if the board supports Smart Response (so you could just slap an M.2 SSD in later as a cache and speed up everything), but if it's much more expensive then I'm not sure how well it's likely to do; you'll always pay extra for the small sizes that only a manufacturer can achieve thanks to bespoke components, but there's a limit to how much that can be.

    Also, why 4 HDMI ports? I can't imagine there's much of a use case for a home-entertainment system/games console that's running four HDTVs; nice to be able to do sure, but I doubt many will, and anyone that wants that kind of setup would be better off getting a more powerful GPU (with more video memory) to drive it. Can any of them be used as pass-throughs for hooking up other devices into the same setup? Can it deliver separate video and audio (e.g- one to an HDTV, one to an AV Amplifier)?
    Reply
  • quilciri
    Looking at the relative size of the HDMI ports, the unit looks closer to 2.45" tall in the pictures.
    Reply
  • Brian_R170
    Took measurements from the picture of the back of the unit and based on the size of the Ethernet and USB connectors, the height scales to 2.43in, which is in-line with what Zotac's website says.
    Reply
  • Brian_R170
    Another website said... gulp... $999.
    Reply
  • quilciri
    Also, why 4 HDMI ports? I can't imagine there's much of a use case for a home-entertainment system/games console that's running four HDTVs; nice to be able to do sure, but I doubt many will, and anyone that wants that kind of setup would be better off getting a more powerful GPU (with more video memory) to drive it. Can any of them be used as pass-throughs for hooking up other devices into the same setup? Can it deliver separate video and audio (e.g- one to an HDTV, one to an AV Amplifier)?

    While 4 HDMI outputs is a bit silly for most people, I can see those of us that seriously miss local co-op and don't mind a bit of tinkering setting up a 4-player game of borderlands (or other less-demanding game) on a set of 1080p screens arranged around a card table :D
    Reply
  • Epsilon_0EVP
    Direct X compatibility is wrong
    Reply
  • kenjitamura
    Direct X compatibility is wrong
    Good catch. That should probably be corrected.
    Reply
  • penn919
    Good catch. That should probably be corrected.

    I'm surprised nobody else noticed. The defining characteristic of Steam Machines is that it runs SteamOS. The fact that the spec sheet mentions DirectX and snubs OpenGL (aka Vulkan) is inexcusable. OpenGL is actually compatible.
    Reply