Zotac ZBOX ID89 Plus Mini PC Review

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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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JeffGreen one year ago

I'm not convinced that a $400-$600 price point makes me want one of these. Don't get me wrong, compared to something like a WYSE terminal, these things rock but as a traditional tower owner, I can't take them seriously - yet. With the steambox and things like that coming out, it will be interesting to see what smaller kits can do. Viva la mobile revolución!

AlexandreGaudette one year ago

Worst thing I have ever bought, three months after purchase board went dead, have been calling email for the last six months nothing but the run around. Every conversation was kept, they can never find anything and hope you will give up and they will not have to honour the warranty. If I was you I would not purchase this product unless you want to waste your money.

heapstack 11 months ago

Had happily bought a Zotac a while ago, and loved it ....until the fan started to wear out (which will happen pretty soon, google for it you'll see). Now, the thing is Zotac DOESN'T sell replacement fans, and they are custom made. So, after a while, you might as well throw the box. Never again a Zotac, at least not until they fix this burning issue. And I recommend you to buy something else.

zaax 9 months ago

Are you sure it not just dust muck on the fan and general dust?

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