Zotac has been selling tiny desktop computers for a few years, but most members of the Zotac ZBOX mini PC family are barebones units that ship without an operating system. Some models don’t even include storage or memory.
Now Zotac is adding Windows 8.1 with Bing to some of its most affordable models, which means you won’t have to install your own operating system to start using some of Zotac’s low-power miniature desktop computers.
Zotac will continue to offer barebones computers for folks who’d rather install Linux or a different version of Windows. But now that Microsoft is offering Windows licenses for cheap (or free) to makers of cheap systems, it’s not that surprising to see companies like Zotac start to offer the option of buying a computer that comes with Windows 8.1 with Bing pre-loaded.
Windows 8.1 with Bing, by the way, is a cheap version of Windows that’s almost exactly like Windows 8.1 standard… it just comes with Bing as the default search engine for Internet Explorer.
Systems that will be available with Windows include:
- ZBOX CI320 Nano Plus with an Intel Celeron N2930 Bay Trail quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB solid state drive in a fanless case
- ZBOX BI320 Nano Plus with Celeron 2957U Haswell dual-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage
- ZBOX CA320 Nano Plus with an AMD A6-1450 processor, Radeon HD8250 graphics, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage
- ZBOX ID18 Plus with Celeron 1037U Ivy Bridge dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM, and 64GB of storage
Each computer comes with Windows 8.1 with Bing 64-bit software and each features multiple USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, and dual display ports (either HDMI and DVI or HDMI and DisplayPort, depending on the model).
Zotac hasn’t announced pricing for the new models yet, but barebones versions of these computers tend to sell for around $130 to $270.
I have seen an increasing amount of Windows 8.1 with Bing. Lenovo’s ThinkPad 10 for example has that. Is there any difference between the “with Bing” and standard Windows 8.1? I’ve read that all it does is set the default to Bing and OEMs are not able to change that default. When the user first uses the machine Bing is set to the default without asking the user which search engine they want to use. However the user can manually change their setting later. If that’s the only difference it seems like a pretty good deal to keep costs down.
Yes, that is basically it, “with Bing” means Bing is set as the default search engine, and other microsoft services are set up as default aswell. They’re banking on the fact that most people neither know nor care that there are alternatives for stuff that was provided out of the box, kind of like IE is still the most used browser on the desktop today because it simply comes as default on Windows.
If you know what you’re doing, you can simply set your prefered services as default and otherwise have a feature identical windows to the “non Bing” Edition.
Easy enough to do as it isn’t costing them anything. And no one has to be all mad over being charged for an OS that they might not want or need.
Kinda win win actually.
Plus slapping the freebie onto so many devices lets Microsoft claim fantastic market penetration numbers for the horribly unpopular Windows 8.x.y.z OSs.
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