Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS EN970: A Gaming mini-PC Done Right

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Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS EN970 Review - A Gaming mini-PC Done Right

In the course of our coverage of mini-PCs, we have seen offerings from vendors such as ASRock, GIGABYTE and Zotac targeting the gaming market. Usually, ‘mini’ doesn’t fit the requirements of consumers in this space, but the appearance of power-efficient high performance GPUs have made the offerings in the gaming mini-PC space quite interesting. Zotac has been creating mini-PCs

with a gaming focus by tying a mobile NVIDIA GPU with a Core U-series Intel CPU for a couple of generations now. Today, we will be taking a look at the Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS EN970 – a system combining a Broadwell-U CPU with a NVIDIA Maxwell GM204 mobile GPU.

Introduction and Setup Impressions

The ZBOX E-series targets the gaming market. In the previous years, the E-series adopted a tried and tested industrial design (for example, the chassis of the ZBOX EI750 was very similar to that of the PCs in the ZBOX ID series). The MAGNUS EN970 adopts a radically different industrial design. The unit is not as small as the NUCs, even though the height is similar. The area of the top side is around the same as that of the ASRock Vision series. However, the absence of an optical drive slot enables a chassis with considerably lower thickness.

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The Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS EN970 kit doesn’t come with any pre-installed OS, but does come with a CD and a read-only USB key containing the drivers. In any case, we ended up installing the latest drivers from Zotac’s product support page. In addition to the main unit, the other components of the package include a 180 W (19.5V @ 9.23A) adapter, a US power cord, a single 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz antenna for the Wi-Fi feature, a driver CD / read-only USB key, user’s manual and a quick-start guide.

Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS EN970 Review - A Gaming mini-PC Done Right

Source: anandtech.com

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10 thoughts on “Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS EN970: A Gaming mini-PC Done Right

  1. Addendum:Also please add the dimension of the device, I can't find them anywhere and although I can go an pixel measure it, having either physical measurements of manufacturer measurements is nice for visualizing size.

  2. Yeah, I'm kind of curious to see how the cooling is configured too and slightly worried about the 102 degree maximum CPU temp. Yes, I get that Intel says everything is awesome up to 105, but there's not much room to wiggle before the poor little processor has to back off which will probably happen as the computer ages and collects some dust in the HSF or if it operates in warmer ambient air. I'd be happy to see it get a good 5-10mm thicker for a cooler running processor with more tolerance for those naughty dust bunnies to build up a little.

  3. Any reason as to why you didn't show the heatsink setup/MXM module?I'd be curious to see if you could squeeze in the new GTX980 MXM module in here, yes I know the 5200U is anemic for a GTX980.

  4. You wouldn't try any serious gaming on a Chromebox. Similarly, you wouldn't buy this if you just wanted to watch Netflix.

  5. HTPC for $800? My repurposed Asus Chromebox I bought used for $75 works great for me…

  6. Agreed. Most living room displays (TV/Projector) are 1080p, and this box performs very well at 1080p. It's small enough to put next to a TV, and should be very quiet as far as fan noise as well.I have an EN760 in my living room. It's an older version of this same box. It works great.My only complaint is that they raised the price from $500 to $800 (for the barebones) compared to previous generations. $500 was a more compelling price; $800 gets too close to laptop territory.

  7. I dunno, it seems like a compelling 1080p solution to me. I'm sure they put plenty of thought into their choice, between the pairing of CPU+GPU in such a small package, while also trying to reach a certain price point.Owning a SP3 with a pretty comparable 4300u, it's pretty impressive what it can do all things considered. Being paired with a 970m and put into a tiny $800 package is actually pretty enticing as an HTPC/Steam box solution for the living room.

  8. I am not sure if it makes sense to pair a decent graphic solution with a Ultra low power CPU to begin with. I believe the constraint is with the cooling solution, but I think I can live with a slightly bigger chassis.

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