Zotac ZBox Blu-ray HD-ID34 Nettop / HTPC Review

Article Index

Performance Analysis and Conclusion



Performance Summary: We were duly impressed with the Zotac HD-ID11 when we reviewed it a few months back, and to put it simply, the new HD-ID34 is and even stronger product. We knew from our time with the Eee PC 1215N that Intel's Atom D525 was a step up from previous Atom chips in real-world scenarios, and when  paired with the next-gen Ion 2 GPU, the setup makes for decent performance with a low-end price. We were able to play back 1080p media clips, Blu-ray Discs and hi-res Flash videos on the Zotac HD-ID34 with ease. We could even game a bit with older titles. And our general computing (Web browsing, multi-tasking, etc.) never felt sluggish as it has in the past with less potent Atom CPUs.



Zotac has another winner on their hands with the HD-ID34. The new design is a huge step forward, and this machine is a perfect HTPC candidate. There's no HD tuner included, but the inclusion of a Blu-ray drive, two USB 3.0 sockets, a Mini-PCIe expansion slot, and integrated Wi-Fi make it perfect for plugging into an HDTV. Just toss an HDMI cable into the mix, and once configured, you have a sub-$500 Netflix, Hulu, Blu-ray, YouTube-watching machine. It'll handle any of those media tasks without issue, and those looking to use this as their main desktop as well will also likely be pleased with how it handles everyday chores. Overall performance doesn't compare to a true desktop system with a more potent CPU and GPU, but for everyday computing tasks (web browsing, office, etc), the HD-ID34 is fine.

 

Our only gripes with the otherwise solid machine are these: it gets warm, and the fans never completely shut off. It won't bother most people, but those needing a dead-silent media PC will have to look elsewhere, unfortunately. There's also no TV tuner, although one can be added using the Mini-PCIe expansion slot, so it can't be a full-fledged HTPC by definition out of the box. And finally, while the MSRPs on the ID33 (no RAM/HDD) and ID34 (250GB HDD + 2GB of DDR2 memory) are low at $399 and $499, respectively, neither build includes an operating system nor a keyboard/mouse. In other words, you'll need to budget for an OS as well as input devices. All told, you'll probably spend $650-$750 on this machine to get it running and get the pieces you need, so the intro MSRPs are somewhat deceiving.

 
     
  • Great Nettop Performance
  • Stylish Design
  • Two USB 3.0 Port
  • Avaialble Mini-PCIe Slot
  • Can Handle Some Gaming
  • Blu-ray Drive Included

 

  • No Bluetooth
  • Gets Quite Warm With Use
  • Bring Your Own OS/Keyboard
  • No Bundled Controller

 


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