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Zotac Magnus ER51070 PC Review

Zotac Magnus ER51070 PC Review

Zotac Magnus ER51070 review 1The Zotac Magnus ER51070 is a tiny gaming PC that packs a big punch. It’s barely bigger than a shoebox, but it’s locked and loaded with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card and an AMD Ryzen processor. It’s a barebones system, though, which means you’ll have to provide your own storage and memory after you’ve paid the asking price of £972. Can this pint-sized PC punch above its weight against competition like the Corsair One Elite, CCL NebulaX and MSI Vortex G25? Read our Zotac Magnus ER51070 review to find out.

Zotac Magnus ER51070 Review – Design

The Magnus ER51070 is tiny and well-made. The side panels are made from smart, sturdy metal, and the top is decorated with a honeycomb design and a subtle Zotac logo. Beneath the plastic honeycomb you’ll find a dark mesh and a metal frame that braces this top panel.

The underside is made from plastic, but it offers reasonable strength. The Zotac is certainly strong enough to slip into a bag and take to LAN parties and gaming events. The metal on the outside will probably get scuffed along the way, but the Zotac will only suffer cosmetic damage.

Zotac Magnus ER51070 review 5The dimensions help its portability. The Zotac is 225mm wide and 128mm tall, and it weighs 3.5kg. That makes it smaller and lighter than most of its rivals. The Corsair One Elite was more expensive than the Zotac, but larger too: 280mm tall and 7.4kg in weight. The CCL NebulaX was even taller still. The MSI Vortex G25 offers comparable size, and it was a kilogram lighter – but that machine is a glorified laptop that doesn’t offer the build quality of the Magnus.

This small, compact system offers up impressive connectivity. The front has a USB 3.1 port and a Type-C connector – rare on full-size PCs, let alone tiny ones. There’s a full-size SD card slot and two audio jacks. At the rear you get four USB 3 ports, two Ethernet sockets and pairs of HDMI and DisplayPort outputs. The Zotac ticks the boxes on the inside, with dual-band 802.11ac wireless and Bluetooth 4.2.

The Zotac’s four rubber feet also function as thumbscrews. Remove these, and the plastic base panel pulls away. Once that’s removed, you get access to the connectors that accept memory modules and storage drives.

The Magnus provides a single 2.5in SATA 3 connection for conventional SSDs, and an M.2 connector for faster storage. That latter connector uses the full bandwidth of the PCI-E x4 connection, so it’ll accept the fastest NVMe SSDs on the market. There are two SO-DIMM memory slots, but they only accept DDR4 at a maximum speed of 2,400MHz – a little disappointing, given that 3,000MHz kits are available.

Those are the only accessible parts of this PC. This side of the motherboard is protected with another metal brace, which makes it virtually impossible to reach the underside without a lot of effort – and several screwdrivers. That’s where the processor and graphics card are located.

That won’t bother the vast majority of people, who’ll load the Zotac up with storage and memory and be on their way. However, if you do require more internal access, the Corsair and CCL machines are based around more conventional mini-ITX designs and they allow users to reach more components.

Zotac Magnus ER51070 review 7Zotac Magnus ER51070 Review – Components

The key gaming component inside this machine is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070. It’s the entry point to Nvidia’s top-end GPUs, which means a solid specification. The card has 1,920 stream processors and 8GB of GDDR5 memory. It’s got a tiny overclock, too, although the leap from the base speed of 1,506MHz to 1,518MHz won’t make any difference in games. It’s a cosmetic change, rather than a functional one.

The GPU is paired with an AMD Ryzen 5 1400. It’s AMD’s entry-level mid-range processor from 2017’s debut range of Ryzen chips.

The chip has four cores that support eight threads. Its stock speed of 3.2GHz rises to 3.45GHz using AMD’s XFR Boosting technology. That’s fine, but it’s outpaced by other machines. The Corsair rig – which is admittedly far more expensive – has Core i7-8700K inside. The MSI Vortex G25 has a Core i7-8700. And the CCL NebulaX has an AMD Ryzen 5 1600 processor – a chip that takes a couple of steps up in the same range as the Zotac’s part.

The Zotac is a barebone PC, so you’ll have to supply memory and storage yourself. If you’ve got those parts lying around already, that’s great – but, if not, it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

It’s possible to get a basic dual-channel memory kit for around £60 or $80, and a small, SATA-based SSD won’t cost much more. You could also get a 1TB 2.5in mobile hard disk for £35 or $50, which would be ideal for games storage.

You could, of course, spend a lot more. Loading the Zotac up with 32GB of 3,000MHz DDR4 will set you back £360 or $480, and you could spend a similar amount on a lighting-quick M.2 SSD with 1TB of space.

Want to know more about AMD Ryzen processors? Check out our in-depth guide right here.

Zotac Magnus ER51070 review games benchmarksZotac Magnus ER51070 Review – Gaming Performance

The GTX 1070 is fantastic when it comes to 1080p gaming. It waltzed through our five gaming benchmarks with average framerates that ranged between 71fps and 117fps, and its minimums never dipped below 35fps.

It’s great at 1440p gaming, too. In these tests its averages ranged between 55fps and 90fps – so, on these larger screens, the latest titles will be smooth. That doesn’t just bode well for standard 1440p screen: it means the GTX 1070 will handle VR headsets and high refresh-rate panels, too.

However, the Zotac’s card can’t handle 4K. It got beyond 30fps in a couple of games, but its minimum framerates regularly dipped below that figure – which means gameplay will stutter and prove disappointing.

However, rival machines were consistently faster. The CCL rig has a GTX 1070, too, but its better processor and speedier memory saw it outpace the Zotac regularly. And the Corsair, while being far more expensive, packs a GTX 1080 Ti inside – and so it’s streets ahead.

Zotac Magnus ER51070 Review – Application & Thermal Performance

Zotac Magnus ER51070 review application benchmarksThe mid-range Ryzen chip is fast enough to run every modern game without issues. It’ll also handle the most common work applications, and general-purpose computing tasks.

However, its rivals all have faster processors. The Zotac’s Cinebench CPU sore of 685cb is fine, but the MSI Vortex G25 was around twice as quick. The Corsair One Elite was a little faster still – no surprise when those machines relied on Core i7 processors. The CCL NebulaX deployed a Ryzen 5 1600, and stepping up in AMD’s range saw that machine deliver a Cinebench score of 1,118cb.

This pattern continued in the Geekbench test. The Zotac’s single- and multi-threaded results of 3,637 and 11,778 are fine, but still lag behind. The Corsair’s Core i7-8700K was around twice as quick in the multi-threaded test. Even the CCL with its Ryzen 5 chip scored 17,654 in the same benchmark.

Of course, these scores will be affected by the memory and storage hardware that you deploy in your machine. My test rig, for instance, had a middling 16GB of memory and a modest Plextor SATA SSD. However, this is still worth remembering if you want a machine for work as well as play.

The Zotac’s key components didn’t have any temperature issues. The graphics card hit a peak temperature of 77°C with the clock at around 1,800MHz – fine figures. The processor topped out at 85°C at 3.2GHz across its four cores. That, again, is a solid result.

The noise levels did occasionally become disappointing. During gaming, the Zotac produced a low but noticeable rumble. That’s easy enough to drown out during gaming events, or if you’re using speakers or a headset. It also won’t arise when you’re playing easier titles, like esports games.

The noise doubled, however, when we added a CPU stress-test. It’s unlikely that both components will be stressed in this way, but it’s worth remembering if you want to push this system in a quiet environment.

If that’s an issue, the Corsair machine – while far more expensive – was also much quieter.

Need more news on the latest kit? Click here to check out the latest headlines.

Zotac Magnus ER51070 review 4Conclusion

Few companies have as much experience with tiny PCs than Zotac – and it shows in our Zotac Magnus ER51070 review.

This machine is small, sturdy and easily accessible, and its GTX 1070 graphics card delivers enough pace to handle most gaming tasks while keeping the price down. The Ryzen CPU is fine, and the price is good – it still makes financial sense even when you add memory and storage, which isn’t always the case with barebones machines.

It’s not without issues. Other machines are faster in graphics and application tests, and it’s a bit too loud on occasion. But to fix these problems you’ll have to spend a lot more money, or settle for a much larger machine.

If you’re looking for a system for LAN parties, frequent travel or a small room, though, the Zotac Magnus ER51070 is excellent, and worth considering.

The Zotac Magnus ER51070 costs £972 in the UK.  Discuss our Zotac Magnus ER51070 Review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or click here to read about the best desktop PCs.  

Recommended AwardThe Good

  • Small, smart and sturdy build
  • GTX 1070 is rapid in most situations
  • Processor has enough power
  • Easy to add memory and storage

The Bad

  • Rival systems have more CPU and GPU power
  • Can be a little loud in certain situations
  • Other machines offer more internal access

The Specs

CPU: 3.2GHz AMD Ryzen 5 1400
Memory: 2 x 2,400MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Graphics: Zotac GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
Storage: 1 x NVMe PCI-E x4 slot, 1 x SATA 3 slot
Warranty: 2yr RTB

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Zotac Magnus ER51070

About Author

Mike Jennings

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