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Tom's Hardware's 2011 Gift Guide: Part 2, Last-Minute Extras

Mini PC: Zotac Zbox nano AD10 Plus


Looking for a gift for the gadget lover on your holiday shopping list? Check out the Zotac's ZBOX nano AD10 Plus, a miniature computer that literally fits in the palm of your hand.

The ZBOX nano AD10 Plus is powered by AMD's E-350 APU, which combines the serial processing power of a traditional CPU with the parallelism of a GPU. The result is an SoC that can handles desktop apps and graphics workloads with similar adeptness.

Unlike compact computers, such as Apple's Mac Mini, which isn't supposed to be user-serviceable, the ZBOX can not only be opened, but disassembled with ease thanks to a tool-less design. Four thumbscrews are all that stand between you and the back of the unit, where you'll find an SO-DIMM memory slot, a 2.5" hard drive bay, and a PCI Express slot. 

Zotac's ZBOX ships with 2 GB DDR3 memory and is expandable to 4 GB. There's a 320 GB SATA hard drive occupying the hard drive bay, which can be easily upgraded to a higher-capacity disk. The PCI Express slot is populated by a Wi-Fi card enabling 802.11 b/g/n, plus Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity. Fortunately, you don't have to worry about discrete graphics, since the E-350 APU includes Radeon HD 6310 graphics built-in, facilitating DirectX 11 and accelerated video decoding support.

The back of this little machine delivers a surprising amount of connectivity. You get an IR port, two USB 2.0 connectors, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, and eSATA, in addition to audio (headphone/mic jacks) and video outputs. Additionally, you can get eight-channel sound through box's HDMI connector. A second display can be added via DisplayPort, too. 

The ZBOX ships with a Windows Media Center-compatible remote (batteries included), a USB infrared receiver, a Wi-Fi antenna, a four-way VESA mount, AC adapter, power cord, user manual, and driver CD. Zotac's hardware accommodates Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Linux.