ZOTAC ZBox HD-ID11 and Next Gen ION

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Interior Design, PCB and Vital Signs

The interior layout of the ZOTAC Zbox is so clean that it almost feels sparse.  The top lid of the system slides off very easily after you remove two simple thumb screws.  It's a virtually toolless design, whether you're just looking to get under the hood, or you're actually installing necessary system components like a 2.5" SATA  hard drive and system memory, both of which are not included in ZOTAC's current bare-bones offering of the Zbox.

 

 
Just adjacent to the CPU and GPU combination heat sink and fan assembly, you can see 512MB of DDR3 Samsung memory peaking out around the fansink's shroud.  This additional memory will offer a significant boost in performance versus the first generation of NVIDIA Ion and Intel Atom platform products on the market.  The downside is that even though this configuration offers a bit more horsepower, it's somewhat hampered by the fact that the NVIDIA next-gen Ion GPU must connect over a single PCI Express X1 lane to interface to system resources and the CPU.

In the right side shot you can see a single empty SODIMM socket, which we wish were a double-stacked design for accommodating two sticks of memory, and a 2.5" SATA hard drive mounting bracket and retention clip that pairs with a single SATA power and data connector, that is setup mezzanine style to the motherboard.

 
Intel Atom Pineview-D and NVIDIA's Next Gen Ion - Partners in crime.

The first generation of Intel Atom processors (even the dual core Atom 330) shipped with a 533MHz front side bus, however, Intel's new Pineview Atom processor is dialed in now at 667MHz.  Also, you'll note there are two physical cores and 4 processing threads available since this dual-core Atom variant supports Intel Hyperthreading technology. Also, this specific flavor of Atom, the Atom D510, does not come equipped with an Intel IGP on board, which is fitting since of course it's being paired up with next gen NVIDIA Ion technology, at least for this product implementation.   

Finally, we see NVIDIA's Ion GPU has been ramped up a bit in terms of core clock speed and memory interface speed, versus the previous generation Ion IGP core.  First gen Ion had a 450MHz core clock and an 1100MHz shader clock, while NVIDIA's eponymously named, "Next Generation Ion" graphics core runs at 535MHz core and 1200MHz shader clocks, along with a 790MHz or DDR3 1580MHz memory interface speed.

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