Zotac Announces New Next-Generation Ion ZBox - HotHardware
Zotac Announces New Next-Generation Ion ZBox

Zotac Announces New Next-Generation Ion ZBox

Zotac gave details on the next system in its line of mini-PCs today, the HD-ID11. Externally, the HD-ID11 is nearly identical to the HD-ND01 we reviewed last year, but the manufacturer has made a number of small upgrades to add a few of the features we had on our wishlist for the original MAG. There have also been a few subtractions; we'll have to wait for a hands on review to determine how the new system's balance compares to the original.



First, the hardware. The new ZBox is built around an Atom D510 SoC and an NVIDIA NG-Ion GPU with a 512MB frame buffer. External connectivity is provided via six USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, one HDMI output, a 6-in-1 memory card reader, and a dual-link DVI output. Both wired (gigabit) and wireless (802.11/b/g/n) are also included. The only external downside is the continued lack of any sort of CD-ROM option—you'll need to plan ahead and purchase either a USB2 DVD drive or a flash drive of sufficient size in order to load the operating system.


The HD-ID11's DVI port is a hoped-for addition; the fact that it's dual-link is an added bonus. Similarly, the board's new GPU should be significantly faster than the original Ion, and the new Pineview Atom is a touch faster than the old Atom 330 at the heart of the HD-ND01. Missing this time around, however, is any sort of bundled hard drive (the HD-ND01 included a 160GB Hitachi) and a second DIMM slot. We won't be able to judge the impact of these removals until Zotac releases an MSRP for the new system, but the hardware upgrades to the original design give the HD-ID11 a sexy sheen out of the gate. We were fans of the original ND-01—hopefully this update raises the bar even higher.

Editor's update 3/3/10 11:15AM EST:  Zotac just informed us that the new ZBox will sell for an MSRP of $209.99 -- a great price actually come to think of it.  We're excited to get a unit in for testing.
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I think building my own htpc would be a much better option, and it is relatively cheap as well.

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As I said in the original review, one of the features of the HD-ND01 (and this little box) is the form factor, peripheral outputs, and feature set. Rolling your own HTPC around an mATX board probably *will* be cheaper, but there are advantages to using a system like this.

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I know I just like the mATX idea better because I can configure it how I want at least as long as I deal with the size constraints. The big thing about this is for an HTPC to be unseen or as unnoticeable as possible. So the size does not really matter as long as you can make it disappear for all intents and purposes. The thing I don't like about this unit is the limits placed by RAM limits, CPU strength, and GPU capabilities. I can have all these things for within 100 dollars of the price of this unit. Then I have a better functioning component to my wants and needs. I know the point of this is it size, as it can be portable, but that is not the main aim. Plus it has no storage space whatsoever, which I could easily incorporate into a mATX unit externally or internally, and do so for roughly the same price line I was speaking about initially.

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I have a MAG ND01 (Newegg - $299.95) and I've upgraded the HDD to a 500GB WD. The Overall package is very very neat and I have installed it as a CarPC. I am hoping to use the HDMI to power additional screens to fully exploit the ION platform.

I think, I am the first guy to install the MAG as a CarPC. Stick out tongue Playback of content and Centrafuse is smooth. I would possibly consider upgrading the RAM, if need be. Extremely satisfied with the setup.. Have the JBL Amp mounted on the left wall in the trunk and have the Zotac on the right..Smile

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That is a very cool idea Xylem, and I bet you beat one of those pre-installed options like this by a mile. Especially seeing the storage size as well as operational and control, specification's you have. This I imagine is considerably cheaper than getting the dealership option as well as way more functional.

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