Zotac ZBOX Nano XS AD11 Plus

25 thumbs up
To test video decode and playback capabilities of the Zotac ZBOX Nano XS AD11 Plus, we attempted to play back a wide variety of 1080P H.264-encoded QuickTime clips, numerous 1080P MKV files, and HD Flash videos, both locally and streamed over the web or LAN. We also used both the wired and wireless network connections while streaming. We then fired up Windows Task Manager take a look at CPU utilization in all instances.

HD Video Playback and CPU Utilization
HD Video Decode Performance



1080P YouTube Video Full Screen


SD Hulu Content, Full Scaled To Full Screen


SD Hulu Content, Windowed

Our experiences playing back various file types on the ZBOX Nano XS AD11 were mostly good. When playing back SD or HD .MKV files locally, the system performed flawlessly. Our experiences were also very good while playing numerous different file types from a NAS device using the Nano XS AD11's wired network connection. When using the included USB WiFi controller to stream files over the network, performance was generally good with SD content, but we did run into some framerate issues and wireless connection stability when playing large HD videos. If you plan to stream HD content from a NAS or server on your network, using a wired connection is preferable.

Streaming content from the web was mostly good as well, but we did have some issues with content from Hulu. Our system had a fresh Windows installation with the latest Flash Player and AMD Catalyst drivers installed (v12.3), and YouTube content played back flawlessly. We'd see high CPU utilization during initial playback of 1080P HD content from YouTube, in the neighborhood of 60% - 70%, but once the vide completely downloaded utilization would drop into the teens. With Hulu, however, CPU utilization remained somewhat high regardless of the video resolution. If we played back SD content and scaled it to full screen, for example, CPU utilization hovered in the 70% - 80% range. Scaling the video down to a small window, however, would reduce utilization significantly.

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Nice form factor - just wish it was about twice as powerful.

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I want it to fit into a watch,.........

Actually not a bad little PC for screening movies.

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this would be good for my GPS system I use in my car/truck. Right now I use a laptop mounted in the back seat.

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Thanks for the review on this one Marco. Pretty good features and perfect fit for any home theater system.

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I am looking into an HTPC with an external Silicondust HDHomerun Tuner. Does this thing have the horsepower to encode HD over the air signals?

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@mattlr81 - yes, it definitely does.

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I am a tad of a novice to these boxes.  Is it easy to load a Linux distro onto this device?

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Yes, it's a basic PC platform under the hood.

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Hi,

Regarding your query about loading Linux, I have Linux Jolicloud running on the VDO1.

I tried a few different Linux distributions first - SUSE loaded in just 14 Minutes but the sound would not work - this is typical with newly installed Linux.

But SUSE had been previousely patchy with Youtube streaming on my tower case so I tried a few more.

Ubuntu failed to install...

Finally Jolicloud installed in a snap and yesterday I used the same CD to put it on my friends alongside his Windows 7 - it worked immediately. You can even prepare a USB drive version to install or run it live from CD before you install it in order to try it out.

But assuming you are installing any operating system from CD/DVD, you will net to get an external USB DVD drive. So if you are buying one of these PCs you should allow for that. 

Also, before you install any OS, you will need to connect a USB keyboard into one of the USB 3.0 ports - not the USB 2.0 ports as the BIOS won recognise the device before the OS is installed.

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I just got the ad10 (I had a ssd 2.5" already) and i can say it works very well with plex, wmc and the hulu desktop client. My next step is to get the Silicondust tuner and plex plugin for it.

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