Zotac’s Zbox mini-PCs products are ideal if you’re looking for a decent machine that does not take up too much space. After considerable success in this segment, Zotac is launching a new product line called the Zbox MI521 Nano XS series.
The basis for the Zbox MI521 Nano XS series is the same as other offerings in this segment – provide the most amount of performance in the smallest form factor. To that end, the MI521 series features an Intel Haswell-based dual-core i3-4030U CPU along with Intel HD Graphics 4400. Users can add in up to 16 GB of RAM thanks to two DDR3L-1600 SO-DIMM slots, and there is also the ability to attach an mSATA SSD.
In terms of connectivity, the latest Zbox offers a three-in-one card reader, gigabit Ethernet port, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.0 as well as HDMI and mini-DisplayPort connectors. There are two USB 3.0 ports at the back, and two USB 2.0 ports at the front. The Zbox is ready for 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8, and comes with Intel’s suite of technologies that include virtualization (VT-x and VT-d), Clear Video HD, InTru 3D and Quick Sync Video. The HD 4400 built-in video card supports Direct X11. Considering that the latest version of Windows also has the same set of hardware requirements as Windows 8, it should be relatively easy to load Windows 10 onto the Zbox should you wish to do so.
Zotac will sell a barebones version that just features the CPU as well as a kitted-out variant that comes with 4 GB DDR3L RAM and a 128 GB SSD. Retail availability as well as cost haven’t been announced yet.
With the Zbox line, Zotac has managed to differentiate its offerings to such an extent that it is covering all target segments. The vendor is not only catering to the enthusiast segment with the likes of the Zbox EI750, but also to consumers looking for a machine that can handle basic multimedia and browsing tasks with ease.