Zotac ZBOX ID89 Plus Mini PC Review

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Introduction & Specifications

If you're a proponent of the desktop, don't worry, the sky isn't falling on your form factor. Yes, we've read the same reports you have, the ones pointing out how traditional PC sales are shrinking in the wake of a mobile revolution that has consumers turning to tablets and smartphones for surfing the web and logging into Facebook. There's no denying mobile is sexy right now, but when it comes to getting work done and playing games with more depth than Angry Birds, desktops haven't lost their swagger.

Desktops are evolving, however, and getting smaller and less intrusive. Zotac is a company that's been at the forefront of this evolution by offering up a constantly-expanding line of small form factor (SFF) mini PCs that have grown more powerful with each new generation. The compromise between raw performance and power efficiency lessens with each advance AMD and Intel make to their respective processor technologies.

In this vein, Zotac sent us its ZBOX ID89 Plus. This little system hardly takes up any space, yet it packs an Intel Core i5 3470T dual-core processor clocked at 2.9GHz (3.6GHz Turbo), 4GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, half a terabyte of HDD-based storage, and a plethora of complementary parts and features such as built-in Wi-Fi, dual Gigabit LAN ports, HDMI output, and more. If you'd rather configure the CPU, RAM, and storage on your own, you can opt for the non-Plus version.

At 13.19 inches by 10.43 inches by 3.74 inches, the ZBOX ID89 Plus isn't quite as small as Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC), though it is tiny enough to tuck out of sight in a nook or cranny in your home theater setup, or mounted behind a VESA monitor (all the hardware is included). Figuring out where to put it is the easy part; what to do with a mini PC is another story. Check out the full specs below and then flip through the pages to see how it performs in a variety of use-case scenarios.

Zotac ZBOX ID89 Plus
Specifications and Features (as tested)
  • Intel Core i5 3470T (dual-core, 2.9GHz; up to 3.6GHz Turbo)
  • 4GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM (SO-DIMM)
  • Intel HD Graphics 2500
  • 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive (2.5-inch, SATA 3Gbps)
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0
  • 1 x HDMI (HDCP); 1 x DVI (Single Link)
  • USB 2.0 x 2; USB 3.0 x 2
  • 2 x RJ-45 (Ethernet 10/100/1000)
  • Headphone / Mic jacks
  • 4-in-1 Memory Card Reader
  • Optical (S/PDIF) output
  • Media remote w/ USB IR receiver
  • VESA monitor mount (w/ four screws)
  • Wi-Fi antenna; Bluetooth antenna
  • Stand
  • 13.19" x 10.43" x 3.74" (Dimensions)
  • Price (as tested): $430 street
  • 1-year warranty

Zotac has always been generous with its product bundles, and that holds true for the ZBOX ID89 Plus. The company doesn't try and up-sell the consumer on supplementary accessories, and instead tosses everything you need in the box whether you intend to mount the system on a stand, on a wall, or behind a VESA monitor. Included in the bundle are the following parts:
  • Stand
  • VESA mount w/ four screws
  • DVI-to-VGA adapter
  • AC adapter
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas
  • Media remote control w/ USB IR receiver
  • Batteries
  • Power cord
  • Support DVD (driver disc)
  • Warranty card; User manual; Quick start guide

We're especially pleased that Zotac bundles in a remote and USB IR receiver. Even if you don't plan on taking advantage of its multimedia features right out of the box, the option is there.

Tags:  SFF, Zotac, HTPC, Core i5, ZBox, ID89

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