Zotac Zbox ID42 Plus Review

Posted on Apr 4 2013 - 1:08pm by Christopher Allega

Zotac, a company traditionally known for its motherboards and graphics cards, has found success in the last few years with its Zbox range of barebones and all-in-one HTPCs.

Provided By: Zotac

Price: $399.99

 

Closer Look:

The Zotac Zbox ID42 Plus pc comes in a black box with yellow accents. On the front you have a large picture of the Zbox itself. Across the bottom a number of features are listed.

DSC01508

The back of the packaging tells you a little about the ZBOX. Additionally ZOTAC has included ther layout of the ZBOX in photos.

DSC01509

 Opening up the packaging, we find the user manuals and drivers are included in a nice envelope on top and under you will find your ZBOX packed securely for shipping.

DSC01511

Included in the box you will find the manual and driver envelope, Zbox with stand , VESA mount with screws, DVI to VGA adapter, two antennas , USB IR receiver, Remote with 2 batteries and power adapter.

DSC01512

The front of the ZBOX  is outfitted with a number of connections for your convenience first we have the touch-sensitive  power button accompanied by a couple of activity lights and an infrared receiver, following this we have USB 3.0 port followed closely by a 6 in 1 card reader , and of course the audio I/O.  Air vents on both sides of the ZBOX  allow for air to pass through the cooling assembly within.

DSC01513

The back of the ZBOX includes two wireless antenna connectors, Optical S/PDIF, two gigabyte LAN ports, two USB 2.0 ports, DVI and HDMI along with the power connector. Zotac supplies a USB 3.0 port on the right side of the machine (or at the top, depending on how it’s sitting).

DSC01515DSC01514

The bottom of the ZBOX houses the model number and product description along with four small rubber feet and a massive cooling vent.

DSC01517

The removal of two thumbscrews grants you quick and easy access to the internals of the ID42 Plus. This reveals a black cooler for the CPU and GPU chips, and next to this is the included 500GB hard drive, which can also be easily removed with a single thumbscrew. Doing so grants you access to the system’s memory slots, one of which is already filled with a single 4GB stick of RAM.

As you’d expect, the CPU and GPU are both soldered to the motherboard, and thus won’t be able to be upgraded. A single heatsink draws heat away from the pair of chips, and is cooled by a small fan. Air is drawn in from the underside of the chassis (when it’s resting horizontally), and then exhausted through the ventilated side.

The included CPU itself is an Intel Mobile Celeron 847 dual core processor, which runs at 1.1GHz. Although this 32nm based CPU is constructed on the Sandy Bridge architecture, it’s only an entry level CPU and as such lacks features such as Hyper-Threading. Its main appeal comes from its ultra low power consumption , as it has a rated Thermal Design Power of just 17W.

DSC01518

Features & Specifications:

 

Model ZBOX-ID42-PLUS-U
Assembly Configuration All-in-one (no OS)
CPU Integrated Intel Core 1.1 GHz Dual-Core
Chipset Intel® NM70 Express
Onboard Video NVIDIA GeForce GT 610 w/512MB DDR3
Onboard Audio Onboard analog stereo high-definition audio/ 8-Channel LPCM digital audio (HDMI)/ Digital S/PDIF audio output (Optical)
Onboard LAN 10/100/1000Mbps, 2 x WiFi 802.11n/g/b
Memory Size 4GB (Up to 16GB)
Memory Slots 2 x 204-pin SO-DIMM
Memory Type DDR3 1333 SO-DIMM
SATA 1 x SATA (6.0 Gbps)
Hard Drive 500GB 5400RPM SATA HDD
Video Ports 1 x HDMI 1.4a, 1 x DVI
DVI 1
HDMI 1
USB Ports 2 USB 3.0 (1 on top, 1 front)
2 USB 2.0 (2 on back panel
Power Connector DC19V
Extra Features Bluetooth 4.0
Package Contents 1 x ZOTAC ZBOX ID42 Plus
1 x MCE compatible remote
2 x CR2032 batteries (for remote)
1 x USB IR receiver
1 x WiFi antenna
1 x VESA mount
1 x AC adapter
1 x Power cord
1 x Warranty card
1 x User manual
1 x Driver disc
Dimensions 7.40in x 7.40in x 2.01in – 188mm x 188mm x 51mm
Weight 5.9700
Warranty 1-Year Standard

 

 Conclusion:

 

I don’t think I would pay for a Zbox ID42 Plus. Instead, I would probably grab the barebones ID42  and throw in a dual-channel memory kit and a 7,200-RPM hard drive or SSD. Given Zotac’s questionable choice of sluggish storage and single-channel memory in the ID42 Plus, not to mention its easy to crack open, the barebones option is more sensible.

Install Windows or even Ubuntu Linux with XBMC and Steam, and you could have a pretty solid (and pretty affordable) all-purpose HTPC and network-attached storage device. The system should support USB TV and CableCard tuners, and the presence of dual Ethernet controllers makes it a potential router substitute.

The ID42 is quiet, and its two-tone chassis looks pretty slick. Sure, the glossy black panels will accumulate dust, but shiny black plastic is almost standard fare for home-theater equipment.

That said, it’s pretty clear the ID42 isn’t for everybody. Folks looking for a serious couch gaming system will have to look elsewhere, as will those seeking something with ample storage and out-of-the-box TV tuning capabilities. The same goes for people who want their HTPC to double as a snappy desktop system. (Web browsing on our ID42 Plus was a tad sluggish, and application load times suffered from the slow bundled hard drive.) Such users will likely be better served by custom-built solutions with faster processors, Mini-ITX or microATX motherboards, and real desktop graphics cards. Everybody else ought to at least consider something like the ID42 for their home theater, though.

 

Xtreme