Real World Testing (Blu-Ray, YouTube HD, Power Use and Overclocking)
Blu-Ray Playback: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs is encoded in High Definition 1080p format using MPEG4 AVC compression and comes on a dual layer (50GB) disc. The aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is used with letterbox bars at the top and bottom of the 16:9 image. This portion of the movie has an average video bitrate of around 35MBPS and regularly peaks above this making it one of the most demanding Blu-Rays on the market. For comparison, a movie such as Casino Royale has a bitrate of 24MBPS.
When playing back a Blu-Ray title at 1080p there are no issues with performance on the Zotac based system, it offers excellent playback which is smooth on 1080p YouTube clips also. This is partially down to the fact that the Zotac board allows us to use the GPU on our i3-2100 processor to assist with the video processing, maximising the potential of our system.
As with other mini-ITX boards the Zotac model offers a lower power requirement than larger boards and when we combine this with a high efficiency PSU and i3-2100 the system offers great figures in this test. Essentially we are getting a desktop PC performance for 100w and under.
Our final test for this page is overclocking where we have moved to an i7-2600K CPU as the i3-2100 cannot be overclocked to any great level. With the i7-2600K installed we were able to increase the CPU speed to 4.5GHz, that’s over 1GHz above stock without any issue on the Zotac board. We could boot higher than this but the system didn’t offer the 100% stability which we experienced at 4.5GHz.