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ZOTAC ZBOX EN760 Plus Review – Featuring GTX 860M and i5

ZOTAC ZBOX EN760 Plus Review – Featuring GTX 860M and i5

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Zotac use their “traditional” style Zbox chassis on the EN760 and go with an all-black colour scheme on this occasion. The top surface has a glossy finish with Zotac logo and glowing orange LED circle. Our base is also glossy with a large perforated area for airflow and four rubber feet mean it will sit still on our desk. The front surface of this Zbox has various items on it which start with 2×3.5mm audio, a card reader, USB 3.0, status LEDs, IR receiver and power button. Two sides of the chassis are perforated, one featuring a USB port and the other a slot for the desktop stand and our other connectivity is on the back. Round there we find the power input, 2x WiFi antenna connectors, HDMI, DVI, 2x USB 3.0, dual GB LAN and optical audio port.

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In terms of Software Zotac don’t provide an OS with the likes of the EN760 or the Plus edition which we are reviewing here. We don’t get any significant applications either but we do get a reasonably feature complete BIOS. No CPU overclocking is present but we can tweak our memory, save profiles and BIOS updates are able to be completed from USB drives.

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performance

zotac-zbox-en760-plus_light

For those looking for a compact system to use in the home/office there is a lot to like about the design of the Zbox EN760 range. The all black styling is much more discrete than the older black/silver variant and the fact we can turn the orange LED off if desired helps it blend in. For port layouts there is little to complain about here. We have a decent layout front and back with plenty of USB 3.0 ports for faster devices.

Component choice is also decent although pre-built compact systems like this are always cause for debate. For example having 8GB as standard is great, having it on one stick has pro’s and con’s. For example we can easily add a 2nd stick at some point for 16GB. But until then the memory bandwidth is half what 2x4GB sticks would be. The same goes for the drive used… great that we have plenty of storage on the 1TB mechanical drive but this system really benefits from a SSD so it would be good for that to be a base option. Wi-FI choice was also good, Intel-ac always works well and of course all of the above is easy to change by just removing a few screws.

So in terms of value it depends what you want from a system. We can go barebones with the EN760 for £435 (which includes the CPU/GPU) or we can go with the spec as reviewed for £565. Both are reasonably priced and the warranty is decent, we just need to keep in mind the Operating System cost and that a drive upgrade will be beneficial.

The reason for the enhanced drive, which ideally would be mSATA for ease of install, is that it offers a more responsive experience in Windows/Productivity as well as benefiting load times in games and applications. Of the CPU/GPU configuration in the EN760 the CPU is the “weaker” part. It does enough to allow for a good gaming and multimedia basis but in more demanding tasks such as image work and video processing there are noticeable differences between it and some of the more expensive i5’s. That said the benefit of the CPU used here is some great power figures which allow the system to idle at 20watts. Load power never rose above 106w during our testing and other than when we stressed all of the system components at the same time it ran near silent. With 100% load across the system the system was by no means loud or intrusive but it was noticeable in a quieter room.

In terms of a comparison with a desktop system, we get lower power use here (usually lower noise) smaller footprint and comparable SATA/Wi-Fi/USB performance but less flexibility on CPU performance/scalability and although it doesn’t matter so much in this case, higher temps on the Zbox.

So that brings us to the key aspect of the EN760 series, its GPU. Overall the choice of the GTX860M is a good one. It gives us a compact system which is one of the first, if not the first, which feels like a proper gaming system. Games like League of Legends and F1 2013 run flawlessly on maximum detail and then we can move to the more demanding AAA FPS games like Battlefield 4 and with a tweak in detail to high, get some perfectly playable framerates at 1920×1080.

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Compact, quiet, plenty of connectivity and some reasonable CPU performance. The highlight of the system is its ability to offer 1920×1080 gaming in popular, modern titles.

performance

Recommended Award

Price: RRP £434.99 (Barebones) – £564.99 (As Reviewed)

About Author

Stuart Davidson

Stuart Davidson is Senior Editor at HardwareHeaven having joined the site in 2002.

10 Comments

  1. Gavin

    Where can I purchase one of these?

  2. This MIniPC Sounds very good, i hope this is a sign of the things to come (in the gaming market)

  3. I’ve heard that there are driver issues due to incompatibility between the i5-4200U and the GTX 860M resulting is BSODS. Have you had any such problems? I’m looking to purchase this but that worries me.

  4. Manni

    all told, a cool idea and system – but why only the Core i5-4200U? I guess it is soldered and so I can´t upgrade it in the future. I like the Haswell ULV CPUs, but there are newer ones available. @Zotac, add the newer i5-4310M or the i7-4510U (a moderate surcharge for them would be ok), and I will buy it instantly.

  5. Manni

    Correction of my above comment: I mean i5-4310U, not M.

  6. Ken

    Does anyone have links to more benchmarks? I’d like to see how well this machine performs in other games. Perhaps more AAA titles.

    • Hey Ken, if you look for any laptop review using a 860M that will give you more options results wise. This isn’t too different from taking a laptop and shrinking it into a compact desktop chassis.

      • Ken

        Thanks for the quick response Stuart! I have no idea why I didn’t think to look up some laptop benchmarks.