Zotac has been offering tiny desktop computers for a few years, but this summer the company plans to add a few new models featuring passive cooling. That means they’ll have well-ventilated cases, passive heat sinks, and no noisy fans.

There will be at least two models of the Zotac ZBOX C Series desktop, one featuring an Intel chip and another with an AMD processor.

Zotac ZBOX C Series
Credit: HExus

The Intel model will be powered by an Intel Atom “Bay Trail” processor, while the AMD version will feature an AMD A6 “Temash” CPU.

While Bay Trail tends to offer better CPU performance than Temash, AMD’s low-power chip usually has the edge in graphics performance… although either model should be able to handle 1080p HD video playback and neither model is really up to the task of playing bleeding edge video games.

Other features include HDMI, USB 3.0, Ethernet and SD card slots, headset and mic jacks, an IR port, and room inside the case for a single memory SO-DIMM stick and a solid state drive.

According to Hexus, the Intel model will likely sell for around 250 Euros or more, which is about $350 US. The Zotac ZBOX C Series should launch in May or June.

via CowCotLand and FanlessTech

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9 replies on “Zotac will launch fanless mini PC this summer”

  1. $350 US for what is essentially a Bay Trail or Temash based NUC platform seems excessive, even if it is fanless At $250 US, it’s more tolerable but still a bit pricey. To put things into perspective Intel’s Bay Trail NUC (with fan) starts at $140. For the $110 (or $210) premium, you get 4 more USB ports, fanless cooling and a nice honeycomb motif case.

  2. My only issue with the shrinking of PC power is price continues to climb. $350 for a small pc not anymore powerful than my Llano based HTPC which is not weak-kneed at all. Idles at 10-13w and CPU/APU usage is never much over 20% no matter what file is being played. I spent $240 for APU, Motherboard and SSD (60GB) a bit over 2 years ago, reused my case and psu. Since then one of my externals had died but I have the image on my server, no worries, just less overall disk space now. I would be spending more, not getting more power just everything gets smaller and will require at least one external drive. The AMD will be cheaper by a few dollars but still if you compare to the Gigabyte BRIX, the least expensive AMD is $240 without an OS, memory or drive. I could take the 4GB so-dimms out of my Asus K55n, upgrade those to tighter timing and 8GB so-dimms and use the old memory in the new build, but that would cost $80-$90 to upgrade the laptop. A mSATA SSD could be $50-$60 but 128GB might be a better value ($90-$100). That brings the total cost of upgrading the HTPC again to around $180-$190 plus the pc ($240) = $430. $430 to shrink the size of my HTPC down to the size of a single CD case? Not sure its worth it.

    1. Why do you need to upgrade if your HTPC is still serving your needs adequately? Is it the looks that bother you?

      In your case, due to the large amounts of recycled parts, any kind of “upgrade” away from those freebie parts would look bad in terms of cost analysis. To go from your repackaged desktop to a Brix or a NUC would mean building a new machine from the ground up. Just about the only parts you might be able to recycle is your laptop memory. Everything else you’d have to buy. Why? Because these new micro-sized computers use primarily laptop components to make them as small as they are. If you want to upgrade your existing HTPC to reuse as much of your old components as possible, I would recommend shopping for a new embedded motherboard from newegg or wait for the AM1 socketed Kabini platform.

      1. My HTPC is fine actually. Its just in a standard Mini Tower which limits my options for housing it. With these small units (I know they are based on laptop parts) I can mount them on the back of the TV since I am not using the VESA to mount the TV to the wall (not possible without major reconfiguration around here).

        There are a few Mini-ITX Llano boards still being produced, combine that with a Antec VESA mount case it could cost about $190. But then I would need to invest in a Hauppauge HD-PVR for DirecTV ($152) which I would have to do anyway if anything is smaller than my current case.

        Like I said I could pull the so-dimms out of my Trinity based K55n Asus (typing on it) and stick them in a Zotac or Brix. Then upgrade the laptop to 1.35v, CAS 9 and 8GB same speed (1600 DDR3).

        I really don’t need to upgrade, but my server uses a P4 based Dell off -lease and while I haven’t put a meter on it, its idle the majority of the time, its draw has to be near 50w. Plus I am trying to shrink its footprint down. If I reuse my current case that houses the HTPC that would give me six mounting spots for hard drives. A6 Triple Core Llano is overkill for a server but its more than capable of transcoding which is a nice benefit.

        All this really was it thinking outloud. I still feel like Jeremy Clarkson when he complains that Porsche charges more for fewer options in its GT3 911 than a standard GT2 911 which has more HP and full power/luxury. I see the same thing, they are charging more for the size, not because its faster/more power or efficient.

        1. Well, that helps a bit more in seeing the whole picture. I ran into the same problem earlier last year when I started seeing the NUCs and similar platforms. It’s a viewpoint issue. You have to stop looking at things like NUCs like desktop PCs and more like laptops without screens. They’re not upgradable like PCs are and they are far more limited in what you can do with them inside the case.

          In your specific case, what you can do is replace the motherboard. Swap out that old P4 for a Kabini or a Ivy Bridge ULV mini-ITX. If you can wait a few months, look into the socketable Kabini motherboards which will be even cheaper and more upgradable. Why m-ITX? That way, in the future you can piecemeal upgrade to a smaller case if you decide to.

          Things like the NUC is more for people who want to build something now from the ground up.

          1. Well I’ve heard problems upgrading Dell’s and there’s really only room for two drives if I don’t get replacement housings to install instead of the CD-R and DVD drives in the machine now. For about $150-$160, I can rebuild the server around a mini-itx case that’s half the size of a mini tower.

            NUC with the Celeron is about $180 which isn’t bad, I’ve found them from less too.

  3. I like the idea too. However, you know with the name Zotac, you will be getting a total piece of crap.

  4. I like the idea, but in the open case, I don’t see any sort of heatsinking on the drive or ram (unless the the top of the case sticks down onto them).

    1. I think the picture shows the case upside down. You install drive and memory from the bottom, put the bottom back on and turn the case over. The heatsink is on the CPU and maybe the chipset, not on the drive or memory from the looks of it.

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