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Dell Inspiron Zino HD - Dell Inspiron Zino HD

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

With the outside covered, it’s time to check out the Zino HD’s internals. At the heart of this machine beats an AMD Athlon X2 E-series low-power dual core processor. Your choices are limited to the 1.5GHz 3250E found on our model or a slightly faster 1.8GHz 6850E, which is an £80 upgrade. Frankly, we don’t think the price difference is worth it as there is little the more expensive CPU will handle that its budget sibling won’t. It’s a fairly underpowered CPU either way, especially when compared to the lowest model Athlon II X2 used in the Mesh Cute, but it’s a sight more powerful than a dual-core Intel Atom as found in the Novatech Ion Fusion.

As the Zino HD’s whole platform is AMD-based, it comes as no surprise that you get an integrated DirectX10 ATI HD 3200 as standard for video duties. This can be upgraded to a discrete HD 4330 mobile GPU with 512MB of dedicated RAM. However, this is still quite a low power upgrade and will only be up to casual gaming so again there's little reason to go for this £61 upgrade. Our model did have this latter card, however, so to give you an indication of performance, in TrackMania Nations Forever it managed a smooth 31fps at 1,366 x 768, though moving up to 1,920 x 1,200 only got us 21.4fps.

Of course Blu-ray playback (using the included WinDVD BD with its Media Center integration) and other high definition video was not a problem, as the Zino HD kept CPU load well under 60 per cent on average, leaving plenty of headroom for other background tasks. This is helped by a fairly generous provision of RAM, as even the lowest configuration of the Zino HD comes with 3GB of 800MHz DDR2. As mentioned you can go all the way up to 8GB, but there’s really very little reason to go beyond the 4GB that came on our review sample.

It’s certainly more than adequate to keep the relatively clutter free installation of Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit happy. A feature unique to Dell installations is a Mac OS-like docking and launch bar, which while not adding too much to the Windows experience could be convenient on occasion.

Hard drive space, meanwhile, ranges from 500GB to 1TB, with the latter demanding a not too unreasonable £50 extra. It must be said that the 3.5in drive is the noisiest part of the system. In terms of extras there’s a wireless-N card for £20 though Bluetooth is not invited to this party, and as for software, you can add Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 for a discounted £40.

Xamph

February 11, 2010, 2:00 pm

You sure about the ethernet port not being gigabit? Every online reference I can find says it is. Not that it matters, the ones I saw in PC-City the other day were a bit too loud for me.

Keithe6e

February 11, 2010, 4:13 pm

@worth considering the likes of the Acer Aspire Revo. Though far less powerful, it’s adequate to run most HD material (barring YouTube HD)





I think even YouTube HD is now possible on the little Revo :)


http://www.nvidia.com/object/a...





Have to admit the Revo is a cracking buy, even if your not on a tight budget.

Chocoa

February 11, 2010, 5:26 pm

"Of course Blu-ray playback... high definition video was not a problem,the Zino HD kept CPU load well under 60 per cent on average"





60%, will tolerable seems quite high to me.





I have an ASRock ION ( 4GB RAM with 500mb dedicated to the Nvidia GPU) and I get less than 20% (12-17% on average) on Bluray playback. The ASRock instant boot is great and has all the major features of this unit, albeit no mouse/keyboard or OS but it will still be up and running for far less..





Flash 10 was even optimised around ION so that works well too.





Case proven m'lord

Keithe6e

February 11, 2010, 10:22 pm

@Chocoa, yes the Revo uses the ION and I have to agree 60% CPU seems very high.





Also when you consider you can get a Revo for £140 it makes the Dell seem very expensive.

TechVegan

February 25, 2010, 10:23 pm

@Xamph:


Thanks for pointing that out and sorry about that mistake. It does indeed have Gigabit Ethernet and the review has been corrected.





@Keith:


True, 720p Flash is now working, making the Revo an even more attractive alternative.


Don't forget to factor extras like an external optical drive into the Revo's price.





@Chocoa:


"Well under"; the actual average was lower.


Out of interest, what software do you use on the ASRock and what's maximum load?

gadgetmania

April 28, 2010, 5:18 pm

I really enjoyed this review! Not sure if the Mac mini is that interesting any longer...

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