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Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN1060

Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN1060

Gaming PCs are usually huge towers with flashy lights and lashings of power – or, at the very least, they’re mini-ITX or micro-ATX machines that still take up a fair amount of room beneath a desk.

The latest machine from Zotac aims to destroy that idea. The Magnus EN1060 is only 21cm square, but it still includes a Pascal-powered Nvidia GPU – so Zotac says it’s capable of 1080p, 1440p and VR gaming.


A machine like this is only possible because Nvidia has made huge efficiency improvements with Pascal – which means the GTX 1060 can do far more than its predecessors. This unit uses 4.4 billion transistors in a 200mm2 die; the GTX 960 deployed 2.9 billion transistors in a 227mm2 space.

That allows the GTX 1060 to be far more potent, although Zotac has made a concession to the Zbox’s tiny dimensions by downclocking the chip a little.

The GTX 1060 inside this machine runs at 1,405MHz with a boost peak of 1,671MHz – the proper desktop card runs at 1,506MHz and 1,708MHz. Still, that’s quicker than the vast majority of desktop cards from the pre-Pascal era, and the GPU here is still built using 1,280 stream processors and 6GB of GDDR5 memory.

Last year, that would have been a flagship, record-breaking specification – this year, it’s in a PC that’s smaller than a games console.

The GPU is the main component here, with the processor a more modest chip. The Core i5-6400T is the weakest mid-range part from Intel’s low-power range. It has the Skylake architecture and four cores, but it’s not Hyper-Threaded and it’s clocked to just 2.2GHz with an underwhelming Turbo boost peak of 2.8GHz.

Unsurprisingly, the Core i5-6400T has a peak power draw of 35W, which is one or two times as low as full-fat Skylake Core i5s depending on which chip you choose.

That’s not a recipe for blinding processor performance, but the i5-6400T won’t bottleneck any games and it won’t balk at general computing tasks.

There’s an 802.11ac wireless chip included, but that’s it as far as components go. The Zotac has a 2.5in hard disk bay, an M.2 connector and two memory slots, but you’ll have to provide the memory and storage yourself.

That’s great if you have those components lying around, but it adds cost if you don’t. The cheapest viable configuration would involve two 4GB DDR4 SO-DIMMs running at 2,133MHz alongside a small hard disk – expect to pay just over £80 for those components. If you’re feeling more flush, pair 16GB of memory with a 256GB M.2 boot drive and a 1TB, 2.5in storage drive for about £400.

And, of course, this machine doesn’t include an OS, so that’s something else to consider no matter which components you use.

Full Specification

CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-6400T
Memory: 2 x 2,133MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM sockets
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
Sound: On-board
Hard disk: 1 x PCIe M.2 connector, 1 x 2.5in SATA connector
Weight: kg
Ports: 2 x USB 3, 2 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x Gigabit Ethernet, 2 x audio, SD card slot, 2 x HDMI, 2 x Mini-DisplayPort, 1 x wifi antenna
Dimensions: (W x D x H): 210 x 203 x 62mm
Extras: Dual-band 802.11ac WiFi
Warranty: 1 yr RTB


The Zotac is smart, but it hardly stands out: it’s made from black plastic, with modest logos and a small illuminated ring around the power button. That’s no bad thing, though, considering that this machine is designed to sit in TV stands and on desks where flashing lights are an undeniable annoyance.

It’s a sturdy little box with loads of connectivity. The front panel has a card reader, USB 3.1 and 3.1 Type-C ports and two audio jacks, while the rear provides four more USB ports, two Ethernet connectors and pairs of HDMI and DisplayPort jacks.

Opening the machine is easy enough – just remove four screws from the base panel and lift the plastic away. The accessible side of the motherboard holds the memory and storage connectors, with the processor, graphics core and relevant cooling installed on the other side of the board.


We’ve tested this machine with a mid-range set of components: two sticks of 8GB DDR4 running at 2,133MHz and a Samsung 850 EVO SSD.

The Zotac is a reasonable performer, although its modest processor and mid-range GPU mean it can’t challenge proper, full-size desktops. Instead, its benchmark results are closer to what you’ll find in mid-range laptops.

Take the Zbox’s Cinebench CPU result of 422cb. That’s about the same as the Asus ROG Strix GL702VM, but it’s about three hundred points behind the Aorus X7 v6 and its Core i7 processor – and a further 300 points behind the CyberPower Infinity Luxe 805 GT, which had an unlocked and overclocked Intel Core i7-6700K processor.

The 2.2GHz low-profile processor returned modest results in Geekbench, too – its scores here were slightly behind that Asus laptop.

When it comes to applications, then, don’t expect a huge amount from this machine. It’s got enough oomph to run general daily software and most work tools, but high-end productivity software is going to struggle.

It’s gaming where this machine really excels. Its weakest 1080p average was a still-superb 60fps in Fallout 4, and it topped out with 92fps in Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

That means the GTX 1060 will play any game at 1080p – and it also means it can handle 1440p, too. It ran Fallout at 37fps at 2,560 x 1,440, and managed 55fps in Battlefield 1. The Zotac won’t handle any resolution higher than that, though, so be careful.

Those results are good, but there are signs that the Zotac’s cut-back GTX 1060 does occasionally struggle with the small confines of this system. It’s rated for a peak boost clock of 1,671MHz, but in every test we ran it peaked at just below 1,600MHz. That’s not a deal-breaker – it’s only a tiny bit of speed – but it’s worth remembering.

Benchmarks also suggest that the Zotac’s GTX 1060 isn’t quite as potent as the full-fat desktop version. Our sample scored 4,812 in 3D Mark Fire Strike Extreme – but the proper desktop card scored more than 6,000 points in the same test. The Zotac’s chip is more in line with the mobile version of the chip.

We expected the Zotac to fall down in thermal tests, but the low-power processor and efficient Pascal architecture performed surprisingly well. The Zotac was marginally quieter than the current consoles during stress-tests, and its CPU and GPU both peaked at 76°C – both fine temperatures.

The Zotac’s exterior got a little hot during tests, but it was never concerning. Just make sure that its sides and vents aren’t blocked and it’ll be fine.

Alternative Specs & Rivals

There’s a lot to like here, but the £890 price is undeniably expensive, especially considering that this is a barebones machine. That brings Zotac up against a host of tempting, traditional rivals.

If space isn’t important then a normal desktop will be far cheaper than the Zotac and the memory, storage and OS you’ll probably have to buy. Mini-itx systems from PC Specialist and CyberPower serve up GTX 1060s, Core i5 processors, SSDs and operating systems for a little over £900.

If you added equivalent components and software to the Zotac, you’re looking at a bill for more than £1,200 – although obviously the Zbox is significantly smaller than either of those mini-ITX alternatives.


There’s a lot to consider, then – not least the relative high price of this machine. The Zotac’s £890 price is high for a barebones rig, especially if you need to include storage, memory and an OS – once those costs are added the Zotac begins to look extremely expensive.

It’s better if you’ve got those parts to hand, of course, and there’s no denying that this is an impressive machine, regardless of the cost: its GPU is better than anything a console can offer, and it churns out solid 1080p framerates without proving too hot or loud. This chip isn’t quite as quick as the proper desktop card, but that’s a minor consideration when the system is so small.

If you’re comfortable paying the miniaturisation tax then there’s a lot to like about this machine – there aren’t many better options if you’re searching for a tiny and capable living-room system. Just be aware that more conventional systems can result in big cost reductions.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Zotac ZBOX Magnus EN1060
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About Author

Mike Jennings

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