We’ve been testing Zbox systems for a number of years now. From model 1 they offered some impressive design and decent performance for their class, although in more recent times their size has grown a touch. At least in most cases. For those who need a compact system there is however good news, that’s where the Nano range sits. With a CPU which many would expect to find in an Ultrabook and drive configuration which allows for a standard desktop SSD there should be some impressive performance on show here. Welcome to our Zotac Zbox Nano Review CI543.
Zotac Zbox Nano Review CI543 – Packaging and Bundle
The latest Zbox Nano arrives in a compact box which notes that Zotac were the creators of the original mini-PC. We also get some info on the key specifications. Inside there are a number of bundled items which start with product documentation and software disc with brackets, 65w PSU, Screws, mains plugs and wifi antenna also included.
Zotac Zbox Nano Review CI543 – The Mini PC
The CI543 is black with a matt finish and measures 146.4mm x 126.5mm x 60.5mm. The top and sides are perforated to ensure the components inside get plenty of airflow and on the front we find our first batch of ports. These are 2x USB 3.1, 1x USB 3.0, 3.5mm audio in and out and a 3 in 1 card reader. The power button and status LEDs are also found here.
The rest of our connectivity can be found on the back of the system and running from left to right we have wifi port, 2x USB 2.0, GB LAN, USB 3.0, DisplayPort (4k@60Hz), HDMI (4K@24Hz) and power in.
Flipping the machine over we find four rubber feet which also happen to be screws that allow us to access the inside of the system.
By removing the bottom panel we get access to our SSD/HDD location, capable of holding 2.5″ devices and towards the front edge, two memory slots. These are compatible with DDR3L SODIMMs with a total capacity of 16GB. Elsewhere inside are an i5-6200U (2.3-2.8GHZ Skylake, dual core (Hyperthreading) with Intel HD Graphics 520). Our wifi is wireless-ac spec with Bluetooth 4.0 also present.
Zotac Zbox Nano Review CI543 – Performance
m Testing was completed on the Zbox Nano with 2x4GB of DDR3L-1600 and a Samsung 850 Series SSD. Windows 10 64bit and the latest drivers/patches at the time of writing were installed.
Zotac Zbox Nano Review CI543 – Conclusion
Starting with the design and build quality of the Zbox Nano we have a system which certainly looks and feels rather interesting. The finish Zotac have used is quite different to their other series of Zbox machines which usually offer something rather glossy…acting like dust magnets. Here the finish will be less prone to looking grubby and we like the more industrial look. The choice of connectivity which Zotac have gone with is good, future proof USB 3.1 ports, some USB 3.0 for good measure and USB 2.0 which will no doubt be used for our keyboard/mouse. GB LAN is always good to have and we like that Zotac have gone with Wireless-AC for the Wi-Fi.
In terms of the CPU, no complaints there. This system is essentially an ultrabook in a different form factor and experience tells us that all normal day to day media and productivity tasks should be no issue for the processor used here. Looking at the test results, that proves to be the case. The Nano was able to encode music at decent speeds, playback 1080 video without issue and in some real world tests of Photoshop and Lightroom, the system was responsive with only the more demanding actions taking a little time which is to be expected.
As far as cost goes. At a little over £300, or just under $400 it seems fairly well priced. Adding in an SSD, memory and the cost of the OS will take things a little higher but for less than £500/$600 we’ll have a functional system which seems very reasonable.
Summary: Decent looks, good performance and super compact. A solid little PC for day to day media and productivity tasks.