Zotac International introduced on Wednesday a new line of small form factor PCs, the ZBOX Sphere "O" series. As the name implies, Zotac ditched the box form factor and went with a sphere/orb design for consumers who want something a bit more stylish hanging out on the desktop, shelf or other platform. The OI520 is the first in the series, packing a fourth-generation Intel "Haswell" processor.
As with Zotac's other small form factor solutions, the company provides two SKUs: one that's fully loaded and a "barebones" version that doesn't ship with memory or a hard drive. The base specs of both include a dual-core Intel Core i5-4200U (1.6 GHz, 2.6 GHz), integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400, and two 204-pin DDR3L SO-DIMM slots supporting up to 16 GB of memory.
In addition to those specs, the new ZBOX includes one SATA 3 (6 Gbps) port, one mSATA port, a 4-in-1 memory card reader, three USB 2.0 ports (two on the back, one on the side), four USB 3.0 ports (on the back), HDMI output, DisplayPort output, Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. The "Plus" model comes loaded with 4 GB of DDR3 memory and a 2.5-inch 500 GB 5400 RPM hard drive.
"Support for Intel Smart Response Technology makes supercharging hard disk drives in the ZOTAC ZBOX Sphere OI520 series easy," states the PR. "By combining accelerating the internal hard disk drive with an mSATA SSD, the ZOTAC ZBOX Sphere OI520 series provides the lightning-fast boot and application load times of an SSD with the large capacity of a hard drive."
Zotac indicates that the OI520 is easy to modify; just twist off the top to gain access to its innards. Unfortunately, the company doesn't provide pricing or availability. However, Amazon, Best Buy, CDW and Newegg are among a longer list of vendors that carry Zotac products in the United States.