The Zotac ZBOX CI660 nano is compact desktop computer that measures 8″ x 5.1″ x 2.7″ and features a fanless design: there’s ventilation on every side of the computer and heat sinks to help keep the computer cool during operation.

Zotac first unveiled the ZBOX CI660 nano at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and it should be available for purchase in the US soon. The company will sell the little computer as a barebones unit that comes with a 15 watt Intel Core i7-8550U quad-core processor, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, and plenty of I/O ports… but you’ll need to supply your own memory, storage, and operating system.

Fortunately it’s extraordinarily easy to install those components: you don’t even need a screwdriver to open up the case or put memory in the computer. You may want to use one when installing an SSD though.

When Zotac asked if I’d like to review the CI660 nano, I was pretty excited to try out this modern fanless computer. I use my home office to write most of the content you read on Liliputing, but I also use it to record and edit podcasts and other audio projects from time to time — and doing that with a noisy laptop fan whirring inches from a microphone is less than ideal.

The Zotac ZBOX CI660 nano has a more powerful processor than my 2-year-old laptop and it’s quieter.

The computer supports up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and there’s a 2.5 inch SATA 6.0 Gbps connector for a hard drive or solid state drive.

Unfortunately I didn’t have any DDR4 SODIMMS lying around when the CI660 nano arrived, but the folks at Patriot offered to help out: they sent me two sticks of Viper 4 series 8GB DDR4 RAM, plus a Patriot Burst 2.5″ SATA III SSD.

So those are the components I’ll be using when I review this computer. Thanks to Zotac for lending me the computer and to Patriot for sending memory and storage to make this review possible.

Performance will probably vary depending on the memory, storage, and operating system you choose — but 16GB of DDR4-2666 RAM and 240GB of storage should be more than sufficient for the blogging and audio editing I plan to use this computer for. It should also allow the system to work as a media center, a home network file server capable of running silently 24/7, or for a variety of other purposes.

I’m just starting to test the computer, so I’ll hold off on offering any thoughts on real-world performance for another article. But I wanted to share a video and some photos showing just how easy it is to transform this system from a barebones PC to full-fledged computer.

The CI660 nano’s other features include an HDMI 2.0 port with support for 3840 x 2160 video at 60 frames per second and a DisplayPort 1.2 port which can handle resolutions up to 4096 x 2160 pixels at 60 Hz.

There are two USB 3.1 Type-C 10 Gbps ports on the front of the computer, along with mic and headphone jacks and a USB 3.0 Type-A port.

On the back there are four more USB 3.0 Type-A ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, and an antenna connector.

Zotac also plans to offer several other ZBOX CI600 series models including the CI620 nano with a Core i3-8130U dual-core processor and the CI640 nano with a Core i5-8250U quad-core CPU.

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22 replies on “Zotac ZBOX CI660 nano mini PC – First look & setup”

  1. +1 for being Fanless. +1 for two memory slots. +1 for using a REAL 2.5in SSD, instead of tiny practically unusable 32gb eMMC storage soldered to the motherboard. No mention of Wifi though.

  2. does it use the same DP to HDMI chip that the NUC uses – which has a lot of problems ?

  3. I actually like the fan on my laptop. It doesn’t run that often, but when it does I know something has probably gone awry, or that maybe a backup is running. For example, this week the printer spooler started doing something odd, and the service needed to be stopped and restarted. But for the fan running when it shouldn’t have been I would have never known. That’s particularly important to know if you’re on battery, but good to know at any time.

    1. So your fan is functioning like an alert beacon to some trouble. I understand the pragmatic aspect of that, but it’s really not supposed to be that way.

    1. Yes Brad…I’m also very interested in this question. Especially the electrical noise. Usually comes from around the chipset area. You can also run the idle/load heat tests in HWinfo64 or CPUID’s HWMonitor. Usually run celsius…

      1. Seems inconsistent — I didn’t notice any at all on day one, but it’s pretty noticeable today. I have to put my ear close to the computer to hear it, but it’s certainly there. I’ll make sure to monitor it more closely over time and include more details in the review.

        1. Can you find out where the noise is coming from? Maybe Zotac can fix it if they knew which part causes the noise. I certainly wouldn’t buy a Zbox if it makes high pitched noises and most potential customers of a fanless computer are probably the same. Also, is it possible that the SSD makes the noises?

  4. Whenever you do the real-world performance review, I’d really like to see some thermal information included. Zotac has had a history of substandard cooling solutions on their fanless computers, but this new generation of machines is supposed to have completely redesigned cooling systems. I love the concept of the fanless nettop, but the execution has kept me away in the past.

    1. Well first, I need to open it up and take the plastic off the thermal pad covers before I power it up 🙂

      Then I’ll see what I can do. I don’t have a thermal camera, but I will keep an eye on the CPU temperature as reported by Speccy. Any other tools you’d suggest I run?

      1. I’m not picky; CPU temperatures are a good proxy for overall thermal performance IMO. If you include idle and load temps, I’m happy.

        1. Sounds like a plan! I just get jealous when I see other sites with those pretty thermal photos. Not jealous enough to go out and buy a camera that I’d use like 2-3 times a year though.

          1. wow 213F for the mother board but the CPU is just fine ? where exactly on the motherboard,im guessing the PCH ?

          2. This does make me wonder if Psensor and/or Speccy is confusing the mainboard with the SSD — note that in Linux the Patriot Burst is said to be running at 211 degrees F, while in Windows it’s running at 92 degrees, but the Motherboard is running at 213 degrees.

          3. You should check your local library. You’d be surprised what they might have that you can check out!

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