A couple of years ago when NVIDIA announced the ION platform with a reference design that easily sat in the palm of our hand they caused the release of a new, more powerful range of compact systems. Manufacturers such as Acer and ASRock immediately got on board with this concept and created several interesting systems which were ideal for basic use. The sales numbers must have been good because it also caused manufacturers like Dell to try low powered desktop CPUs in their own mini-PC’s such as the Zino but it wasn’t until the release of AMDs Fusion platform last year that there was a truly competitive product to compete with the Atom/Ion combination.
Now we are starting to see a number of ultra small systems updated with the latest AMD E-450 dual core APU which features CPU and GPU in one compact design. A front runner in this market is the latest ZBOX from ZOTAC, the AD04 Plus and we have one of the first samples on our review bench today.
Packaging and Bundle
ZOTAC package their ZBOX Plus in a box which gives a clear view of the product on the front and lists a number of the key features with it. On the back we find more product information and inside the system is well protected by foam, cardboard and protective plastic covers.
Bundled with the ZBOX we find a selection of documentation, software CD, 65w PSU, remote (with USB receiver) HDMI to DVI convertor and a Wi-Fi antenna. Also provided are a stand to sit the unit vertically and a VESA mount to hang it on the back of a monitor.
Zotac have been through many evolutions of their Zbox, starting with the original model around 5 years ago and bringing things into a new, orb style chassis more recently. Today we take a look at a Zbox which has familiar styling but brings the internals into the latest generation by using the...