Small Wonder: Zotac's HD-ND01 Nettop Review

Exterior Design

The system's front panel is on display here. The only two audio jacks are up here, as are a card reader and single USB port. There's an additional solitary USB port on the top of the system as well (not pictured).

The system's rear-mounted outputs are plentiful. Here, we've a single eSATA port, four more USB ports for a total of six, both video ports (VGA+HDMI) an optical audio out, and the power jack. The notch  below the VGA port isn't a port of any kind, even though it's cut to look like one. Details on the next page.

Finally, our included accessories (such as they are). As we noted on the specification page, Zotac ships the system sans an operating system of any kind; the company doesn't even include a Linux-powered boot disc...but it includes a driver CD. And speaking of discs, this is a good time to discuss one of the system's key omissions—it lacks both an integrated CD/DVD and any internal headers where such a device could be attached. That means you'll either need a bootable flash drive (1GB will do for Windows XP, but you'll need 3-4GB for a Vista / Win 7 image), or an external CD-ROM. External optical drives—at  least the ones offered in a discrete package—appear to universally rely on USB 2.0—it may or may not be possible to roll your own external eSATA enclosure, depending on the characteristics of the bridge chip that's used.

Normally, a USB 2.0 device is more a physical inconvenience than anything else, but Atom doesn't exactly have a lot of processor power to spare. Media playback from a USB-connected optical drive is no issue, but disc-based installations and burning can both lag a bit (neither helped by the underpowered hard-drive, something we'll touch on later.)

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