Zotac ZBOX Intel Atom D525 1.8 GHz Dual-Core Barebone Mini-PC ZBOXSD-ID12
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- 6-in-1 Memory card reader (MMC/SD/SDHC/MS/MS Pro/xD), 5 USB 2.0 port, 10/100/1000 Ethernet (RJ45), Digital S/PDIF output,
- HDMI (720p), HDCP compliant, VGA
- 1 2.5-inch SATA 3.0 Gb/s hard drive connection, 2 204-pin DDR3-800 SO-DIMM slots
- Intel Atom D525 CPU (1.8GHz, dual-core), Intel NM10 Express chipset, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150 GPU
- Intel HyperThreading technology, Intel ClearVideo (SD) technology, Microsoft DirectX 9 compatible, OpenGL 1.5 compatible, Energy-efficient computing
- Chipset: Intel NM10 Express
- Memory: 2x 204Pin DDR3-800 SODIMM, Max capacity Upto 4GB
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Take the first step to living green with the energy-efficient ZOTAC ZBOXSD-ID12 mini-PC powered by Intel Atom technology combined with Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150 graphics. The ZOTAC ZBOX SD-ID12 mini-PC delivers phenomenal performance and compatibility for a full Microsoft Windows 7 experience with Aero user interface while maintaining best-in-class energy-efficiency. The ZOTAC ZBOX SD-ID12 mini-PC is easy to master with only two thumb screws in place to unlock the internal expansion capabilities. Inside the ZOTAC ZBOX SD-ID12 mini-PC is space for a 2.5-inch SATA hard drive and 204-pin DDR3 DIMM module while USB 2.0, eSATA and a6-in-1 memory card reader (SD/SDHC/MS/MS Pro/xD/MMC) provide external expansion.
Top Customer Reviews
+ CPU is Atom D525 (1.8GHz Dual core with hyperthreading - appears as 4 cores to the OS). If you're comparing this box to other similar ones that have an AMD E-350 CPU note that the D525's Passmark CPU benchmark is 735 vs the E-350's 764. The D525 seems to benchmark higher than the newer Atom D2xxx CPUs according to Passmark CPU benchmarks.
+ Wired Ethernet capability is via the Realtek 8168 Gigabit PCI-E chip. Note that this is Gigabit Ethernet which is a good choice for HTPCs and other media server applications.
+ WiFi is built-in (802.11b/g/n) via Atheros chipset. Unlike some other PCs there is no external antenna.
+ Audio is Realtek HD audio (ALC888 chip). There is also an Optical S/PDIF port. There are audio out & mic jacks on the front panel.
+ Supported operating systems allows wide choice. The included Driver CDs support good old WinXP and newer. Newer Linux distros are supported "out of the box" (Ubuntu & derivatives)
+ There are front panel LEDs for both hard drive access and WiFI activity. Personally I dislike PCs without a HD LED so I am glad to see one.
+ There is also an eSATA port for fast connection to external storage devices (although I would expect that most people would connect via Ethernet to a NAS).
+ There is a front panel card reader (supports full size SD/SDHC/MMC as well as MS/MS Pro).
+ There are 6 USB2.0 ports - 4 at the back, one at the top, and one on the front.
+ A VESA mount is included so you can mount the PC behind your monitor.
- I believe you might only be able to enter the BIOS setup on a POWER-ON reset (press DEL). You can also use F11 to display the device boot menu (after BIOS completes).
- Even though there are 2 SODIMM memory sockets maximum memory is 4GB in total. You can get a single 4GB DDR3 SODIMM (I used Corsair 4GB (1x4GB) DDR3 1333 MHz (PC3 10666) Laptop Memory (CMSO4GX3M1A1333C9)). However remember these PCs are usually used for specific purposes (HTPC or general purpose browsing/email etc) so lots of memory isn't really required.
- HDMI out is 720p, probably due to limitations of the Intel 3150 Graphics. 3150 is not the latest and greatest and you wouldn't want to game on this box but the flip side is that Intel graphics tend to be well supported in various OS (especially Linux).
- Atom D525 CPU exhaust gets warm in operation. D525 Thermal Dissipation is listed as 13 watts (remember it is a dual core CPU) and there is a small fan inside the case to cool the CPU. This is NOT a fanless PC, although the fan is pretty quiet in operation.
OVERALL it is a decent small form factor PC for the price. I am glad to see GB Ethernet and "n" WiFi on this box. The interesting thing is that there are different versions of the ZBOXSD and at the time of this writing this version (-ID12) that has WiFi is actually cheaper than the version without! Recommended if you need an extra PC for general use or Linux experimentation (especially if you don't have a lot of space).
I hope you have found this review helpful!
At first sight it is the perfect solution for a home or home-office environment, and also works nicely as an entertainment centre. I added to this device a 250GB-7200RPM hard disk for $50 and 4GB RAM for another $30 (it was a little cheaper than other ZBOX that came with same hard disk and 1GB RAM).
Installing the hard disk and the memory was as easy as removing three screws by hand, placing the devices and put the screws back (no more than 5 minutes, taking into account that you took 2 minutes admiring such a tiny thing that has everything well placed and secured)
Installing an operating system is not a problem, it detects external CD/DVD drive through USB or eSata Ports, I used an USB stick with a Linux Live Image of UBUNTU (this is not a review of linux, but I can tell that there is some difficulties installing the wireless card, have to use ndiswrapper).
I know that the start-up times and shut-down times are OS-dependent matters but I really like the 15 second start-up and the 10 second shut-down times that I got from UBUNTU.
As I said before making wireless work it is really painful and frustrating (I am a linux newbie) but going through some guides and walkthroughs about ndiswrapper (this tool allows using WindowsXP drivers in Linux environments) made it work, I own a Buffalo Wireless Dual Band router and the ZBOX' wifi gets the top speed 300Mbps.
Noise: I hardly hear noises from the fan (a little at start up).
Heat: I thought that an Atom D525 processor could be too much for this little CPU, but I was wrong, I have worked about 4 to 5 hours continously without feeling it over-heating (my laptop heats more and is a Centrino 2).
I hope you can find this review useful and as me give this product a try.