Dell Inspiron Zino HD - Dell Inspiron Zino HD



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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.

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