Small Wonder: Zotac's HD-ND01 Nettop Review

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The market for nettops—small, highly-integrated, mini-ITX desktops, typically based around Intel's Atom—didn't explode off the block the way netbooks did in the past 18 months, but an increasing number of manufacturers from Acer to Dell have released new designs built around the standard, and the systems in question are steadily becoming more powerful. Zotac is no stranger to the mini-ITX market, but the company's line of mini-PCs aims to provide more than just a motherboard. Zotac now has two complete systems on the market—the HD-NS01 (Atom 270, 1GB RAM) and the HD-ND01 (Atom 330, 2GB RAM). We'll be evaluating the latter system today, with an eye towards the features and capabilities Zotac has packed into its MAG (Mini All-in-one Giant).


 
Zotac Mini All-in-one Giant (HD-ND01)
System Specifications

Processor
Intel Atom 330 (Dual-Core, 1.6GHz)

Motherboard

Zotac Custom-built ION

Operating System
None

Memory
2GB DDR2-800

Graphics Cards

NVIDIA ION

CPU Cooling

Heatsink/Fan

Audio

Onboard

Hard Drive

Toshib MK1652GSX (160GB, 5400 RPM)

Accessories
VESA-compatible monitor chassis
System Stand

Case
Custom Zotac design

Optical Drive
None


Power Supply
External

Available Expansion Slots
1 Mini-PCIe (in theory)

Front Panel I/O Ports

1 USB 2.0
1 Card Reader
1 Headset
1 Mic

1 USB 2.0 (Top)


Rear Panel I/O Ports
1 eSATA
4 USB 2.0
1 VGA 15-pin DSUB

1 HDMI

1 RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet
1 SPDIF Digital Output

Warranty and Support

Limited


Price:
$299



In terms of specifications, the ND-01 is impressively capable for a system this small—let's take a look at how it's built, configured, and fitted out.

Article Index:

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It looks so cool mounted behind an LCD monitor! But it is a bit pricey when you consider it has no OS installed, nor does it have a DVD drive installed (to install the OS)!




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SuperDave,

I think the latter is more of an issue. A barebones system, by definition, doesn't come with an OS--and the Zotac has a lot more functionality baked in than your typical barebone. Given the fact that the system *does* lack both OS and DVD, however, I wish Zotac included a 4GB flash drive. The drive would add very little to the unit's total cost, and it would give the buyer enough storage to load any OS image he pleased.

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I think the Viewsonic version of this thing looks better. Its $500 though with Windows 7 & a 320GB HD, otherwise identical.

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I like both. The Win 7 license is a decidedly better deal than ~$200 for an HDD. My kingdom for an optical drive, though.

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Joel H:

I like both. The Win 7 license is a decidedly better deal than ~$200 for an HDD. My kingdom for an optical drive, though.

Optical drive isn't necessary, all software could be installed via download or USB thumb drives. and if you need Blu-ray USB just doesn't have enough bandwidth to get good frame rates sans skipping.

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DigitalDD,


Who told you that you can't want a Blu-ray over USB2?  You can watch 1080P off an HD-DVD via USB2 whether the video is encoded in VC-1 or H.264. Blu-ray discs are not encoded or processed in any way that would change that. If the Atom 330 can drive HD-DVD playback flawlessly, virtually any other (reasonably-specced) system can as well.

If the Zotac couldn't handle the playback, I wouldn't have bothered testing it. :P

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Good thing it has eSata :-) Just sayin

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That's one thing I'd have really liked to do if I had the appropriate enclosure--see how ION performs if you jam a Raptor inside it. :P

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I think I'd rather have an HTPC and a larger display.

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