Just in time to attract a few holiday shoppers, Zotac has announced a performance refresh for its Zbox Mini PC series. Armed with AMD's E2-1800 APU, the new Zbox AD06 supposedly offers about 10% more speed than its predecessor, the AD04. The AD06's Brazos 2.0 chip packs two processing cores that operate at 1.7GHz as well as Radeon HD 7340 graphics, which compares with the AD04's year-plus-old E-450 APU with two 1.6GHz CPU cores and an HD 6320.
Neither of those chips are powerhouses obviously. The E-450 teeters on the edge of 30fps in many games (on low, of course), and given AMD's disappointing rebranding of Brazos Zacate as Brazos 2.0, we wouldn't expect big things from the E2-1800 either. Nonetheless, every ounce of performance counts.
Besides the updated APU, Zotac's new arrival is relatively unchanged from its previous incarnation. It'll ship in two models: the barebones AD06 and the fully-outfitted AD06 Plus. The former lacks preinstalled DDR3 RAM and 2.5-inch storage, while the latter has a 2GB stick and a 320GB 5400RPM hard drive.
Both versions share the same basic features, including a 6-in-1 memory card reader, gigabit Ethernet, onboard 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, four USB 2.0 ports (at least one of which packs high-amperage charging), two USB 3.0 ports (both in back), HDMI and DVI outputs and digital optical S/PDIF.
Regardless of the package you choose, you'll also receive a VESA 75/100 mount as well as a Windows Media Center-compatible remote control with a USB IR receiver. Both iterations come without an operating system installed, but Windows 7 and 8 are supported. Pricing and availability are unknown.
The Zotac ZBOX HD-ID11 carries a dual-core 1.66GHz Intel Atom D510 with the NM10 Express chipset, and Nvidia's second-gen Ion GPU with 16 CUDA cores and 512MB DDR3 VRAM. The HD-ID11 is sold without system memory or a storage drive, but supports a single 1GB DDR2 800MHz SO-DIMM module and a 2.5-inch SATA 3Gb/s hard drive. It also includes HDMI, dual-link DVI, VGA, six USB 2.0, eSATA, gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n, a six-in-one card reader, and headphone/mic jacks.
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