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One thing Zotac says it always wanted to do was to offer a pint-sized PC capable of playing games. Little things always got in the way of that -- you know, things like performance and heat dissipation. In that way, Intel's Haswell architecture and integrated Iris Pro 5200 graphics are quite literally game changers. Using those parts, Zotac entered CeBIT 2014 wielding a pair of new Zbox E-Series mini PCs designed for gamers.
The first is the Zbox E1730. It comes with an Intel Core i5 4570R quad-core processor (2.7GHz to 3.2GHz, 4MB L2 cache) featuring Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics, two DDR3L SO-DIMM slots supporting up to 16GB of DDR3-1600 memory, a single 2.5-inch drive bay, 128MB eDRAM for video memory, 4-in-1 memory card reader, SATA 6Gbps and mSATA 6Gbps ports (one each), two DisplayPorts and DVI-O ports, two GbE LAN ports, onboard 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, four USB 3.0 ports, and onboard audio.
Zotac's other E-Series Zbox is the E1750. It's configured the same as the E1730 except that it has an Intel Core i7 4770R quad-core processor that runs a bit faster at 3.2GHz to 3.9GHz, and contains more L2 cache (6MB). Both models are also available in "Plus" configurations, which come pre-populated with 8GB of DDR3 memory and a 1TB hard drive (5400 RPM). In our experience, Zbox machines are much better served with a solid state drive as opposed to a slow spinning hard drive.
"Intel’s latest Haswell architecture with quad-cores and Iris Pro 5200 graphics hits that sweet spot we need to fit in a Zbox chassis," said Carsten Berger, senior director, Zotac International. "The new Zbox E-series will deliver a smooth medium quality gaming experience and be perfect for LAN party-goers and gamers that want a compact gaming system."
Zotac also rolled out a palm-sized Zbox Nano AQ02 for general computing chores. This tiny PC comes with an AMD A8-5545M quad-core APU (1.7GHz to 2.7GHz, 4MB L2 cache), a single DDR3 SO-DIMM slot, AMD Radeon HD 8510G graphics, 7-in-1 memory card reader, DisplayPort, HDMI, a single 2.5-inch SATA 6Gbps drive bay, eSATA, GbE LAN, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and onboard audio. The Plus version comes with 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 500GB HDD (5400 RPM).