Zotac ZBOX: Brazos Goes HTPCby Andrew Van Til on June 9, 2011 5:00 PM EST
With an outstanding form factor, including a slim-line slot loading Blu-ray drive, the ZOTAC ZBOX AD03BR-PLUS-U delivers on Fusion’s promise of an affordable, capable, low power HTPC. With an MSRP of $519 (street ~$512), it is possible to DYI an E-350 system with similar media capabilities for a bit less; however, but matching the size and overall attractiveness and flexibility of the ZBOX would be impossible to do economically. The form factor is demanding, with limited I/O and future expandability, so it is not the right fit for every scenario—especially those where a stronger CPU is required. That said, as a client HTPC or standalone media streamer the E-350’s balance of CPU + GPU provides a good mix of performance and power consumption.
- Form factor
- Power usage
- Multi-channel LPCM/HD Audio support from an AMD IPG
- Video levels can be difficult to get right
- Limited I/O ports and expandability
- Fan can get a bit loud under heavy load
- Heavy network use causes the NIC to stress the CPU
Thanks to ZOTAC for providing the review sample.