Zotac announced last week that it has updated the ZBOX nano AQ01 series with a quad-core "Kabini" APU, the AMD A4-5000, providing home theater capabilities in a super small form factor. This chip also has Radeon HD 8330 graphics, meaning the updated ZBOX nano model should reap the benefits of PC games optimized for AMD's Mantle API.
"AMD Radeon HD 8330 graphics empower the Zotac ZBOX AQ01 series with integrated graphics capabilities that rival discrete add-in boards. The DirectX 11.1 compatible graphics provides the ZBOX nano AQ01 with stunning 3D capabilities and video playback capabilities for a superior HTPC experience that smoothly renders complicated user interfaces and decodes stunning high-definition videos," reads the company's press release.
As always, these units arrive in two SKUs: fully loaded "Plus" and barebones. In addition to the APU (which clocks at 1.5 GHz), the ZBOX nano provides one 204-pin DDR3 SO-DIMM slot supporting up to 8 GB, but comes with a 4 GB chip for those who purchase the Plus model. There's also support for one 2.5 inch HDD or SDD, but the Plus model comes with a 500 GB 5400RPM HDD.
"The quad-core AMD A4-5000 enables the ZOTAC ZBOX AQ01 series to excel greatly with multi-tasking. With four cores to work with, the ZOTAC ZBOX nano AQ01 series delivers first-class system responsiveness for every day computing needs," reads the press release.
The specs also show that the updated ZBOX nano provides an HDMI output port, one DisplayPort, a 7-in-1 SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless N and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, and a combo mini-Optical S/PDIF / analog output. There are also two USB 2.0 ports on the front, three USB 2.0 ports on the back, and two additional USB 3.0 ports on the back.
"Our ZBOX nano form factor is well-regarded for its compact size and energy-efficiency. With the latest AMD A4-5000 APU, we're able to boost performance all around while reducing maximum energy consumption compared to our previous generation with the Zotac ZBOX nano AQ01 series," said Carsten Berger, senior director, Zotac International.
For more information about the new ZBOX nano AQ01 series, head here.
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I'd love to do a custom build with this chip and see how it would underclock/undervolt, and how overclockable (and underclockable) the Radeon 8330 is. It's definitely got more than 500MHz, if they come out with mobos giving us the option to change its clocks. Then I'd want to see how overclocked performance is. With a good heatsink and solid mobo, I'm sure Alternately, if MSI's Afterburner software would work, I'd want to test out how long I could get idle and load voltages (and power draw) from this chip with undervolted CPU, or with undervolted GPU, or with both.
This could make a passable casual gaming system that 1) sips power, 2) emits almost no noise (with right HSF), and 3) takes next to no space.
With a passive heatsink and fanless PSU, this could be the perfect system for say the grandparents, who want no fuss. One strategically 120mm exhaust fan in a filtered-intake mini-ITX case would mean no dust or fan failure worries, and performance at stock would be more than adequate for their demands. Also if they ever had a problem with it, it wouldn't be too heavy for them to pick up and take to the store.
Sorry, everyone, just daydreaming here.
The E-450 was too slow. You couldn't want Netflix in HD, for example. It was much less responsive on some web pages too.
The main difference in setup is that this computer is using Windows 8.1, not the significantly slower Windows 7. Yes, Windows 8.1 is obnoxious, and you shouldn't have to work around the idiotic tablet interface. But, it's also a better OS under the absurd interface, and significantly faster. It's also cheaper ($110 for retail version, versus around $300 Windows 7 retail).
I just set up this computer a week ago, and there's just no way I can go back to the E-450, even with preferring Windows 7. The speed difference is too dramatic.
I wouldn't touch this A4 5000 though. Why suffer with 1.5 GHz when you can get 2 GHz? On top of that, the fan barely ever goes on with the A6 5200.
I do recommend the Kabini, and really like this machine a lot (fast enough, very low power, completely silent, tiny, attractive, etc...), but not in the A4-5000 version.
One caveat, be really careful about the memory you buy. I got some 8 GB DDR3 1600 at 1.35v CL8, and the motherboard (ECS KBN-I) can't use it unless I populate the other slot with memory (I had some 1333 memory laying around, but that certainly doesn't help the performance). So, make sure you check their site before you buy it, instead of a being a bone-head like I was and assuming it would work with quality memory.
Anyway, I wish they had announced pricing too, just because I'm curious.