Zotac has been offering small form-factor computers for the past few years, but the company typically sells computers without an operating system. Recently Zotac announced that it would begin offering a handful of models with Windows 8.1 and now the first one is available.

You can pick up a Zotac ZBOX BI320 with an Intel Celeron Haswell processor and Windows 8.1 software for $220.

zotac zbox bi320

The computer features a 15W Intel Celeron 2957U dual-core processor, Intel HD graphics, DVI and HDMI output, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of solid state storage.

You can upgrade either the memory or storage: the system has a 2.5 inch drive bay and a single memory slot.

The Zotac ZBOX BI320 also features a flash card reader, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 4 USB 2.0 ports, and Gigabit Ethernet. It doesn’t have WiFi built-in, but USB wireless adapters are pretty cheap.

Zotac pre-installs Windows 8.1 with Bing… which is basically the same as the normal Windows 8.1 operating system. The only difference is that device makers agree to keep Bing as the default search engine in Internet Explorer in exchange for better pricing from Microsoft. Users can always change the default search engine once they purchase a computer running Windows 8.1 with Bing.

Zotac also has new Windows PCs on the way with Intel Celeron 2930 Bay Trail, AMD A6-1450 Temash, and Intel Celeron 1037U Ivy Bridge processors. Priced at $220, the Zotac ZBOX BI320 might be the one to beat though: It doesn’t cost much more than a Chromebox, but it’s a full-fledged Windows PC in a compact, relatively low-power package.

 

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7 replies on “Zotac’s first mini PC with Windows 8.1 now available for $220”

    1. From what I can see, there is no requirement to keep the memory at 2GB, and it would be extremely churlish of MS to void a valid Windows license just because you upgrade the hardware. If MS agreed to give away Windows on a device with expandable hardware, then they must know some percentage of users will do it.

      In reality, very few customers are likely to upgrade the memory anyway — you always have to remember that enthusiasts are a small percentage of the overall market for turnkey devices like this. And maybe the memory is soldered to the motherboard anyway.

  1. So the 2957U (ZBOX) is almost exactly the same as the 2955U (Chromebox)? In that case, if it can easier run Linux, it becomes quite attractive. More memory would be nice though…

  2. Too bad the 64GB SSD isn’t on a separate M.2 or mSATA slot b/c I would love to put in a secondary 2.5″ HDD for holding downloads. But I still want Windows on the SSD for the performance. I tried Win8.1 on an Acer E11 w/ Bay Trail Celeron and HDD and the lag was intolerable.

    I wonder when the Haswell Asus VivoPC’s are coming out. Those have the nifty 2.5″+3.5″ HDD caddy for dual storage options.

  3. It’s the included 64 GB SSD at this price that makes this stand out. If I can easily boot Ubuntu on it I’ll get it.

    1. Shouldn’t be a problem for the Intel Celeron 2957U… It’s a Haswell based Celeron, basically an update to the previous 2955U but the 2957U supports Wireless Display (WiDi) as well as Quick Sync…

      Normally, Quick Sync is one of the features disabled on a Core based Celeron but looks like Intel is easing their restrictions for these budget range offerings… The Quick Sync Support also means it can probably support Miracast as well as WiDi, since hardware acceleration support is one of the requirements for Miracast support and just depends on what WiFi options this comes with and/or can support…

      The SSD is a 2.5″ drive, as you mainly only have to worry about embedded with mobile SoCs like the Bay Trail T series but the Core based Celerons definitely don’t support eMMC and thus it’s definitely a SSD in this thing…

      All of which, again, as long as you’re going for the 2957U model, also means it should have the 64bit UEFI and that should mean proper Linux support…

      Intel has already started pushing updates for its open source drivers and made changes that will supposedly make them easier to work with for Linux developers… Also, the Linux Kernel 3.17 update already included the upcoming next Gen Intel ATOM Braswell update that will replace Bay Trail next year for driver support update for Audio, which suggest Intel is keeping on top of the driver support and we should soon not have to worry so much about x86 support for at least the latest distro releases…

      Though, for now, anything with mobile SoC and less than 4GB of RAM is likely to still be released with only 32bit UEFI, which would make booting a Linux distro harder as mainstream support is primarily for 64bit UEFI… So that’s the main thing to watch out for…

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