Zotac Zbox Nano AD10 (Plus) - Connectivity, Specs and Performance

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Connectivity is where the Zbox Nano AD10 Plus (now try

saying that ten times fast) really shines, by offering everything we could have

asked for and more. At the front, we have an IR receiver which works with the

included remote, an SDXC card reader, and 3.5mm headphone plus microphone

jacks.

The rear hosts two USB 2.0 ports, two of the faster USB 3.0

variety, an eSATA port, Wi-Fi antennae input and Gigabit Ethernet. Video is

comprehensively covered by both HDMI and DisplayPort. On the wireless side of

things, meanwhile, Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth 3.0 round it all off nicely. Our only

minor quibbles are that we would have liked at least one USB port on the

machine’s front and a dedicated digital audio output, though the Nano will

happily pipe up to eight channel audio over HDMI. And while we’re being picky,

a TV tuner would have been an awesome addition.

When it comes to specifications, the Nano AD10 (the ‘Plus’

addition designates the model that’s preconfigured with RAM and a hard drive) sports

an AMD ‘Fuzion’ CPU and GPU combo, similar to that found in some netbooks,

tablets and of course rival nettops. Specifically, there’s an E-350 dual-core

processor that runs at 1.6GHz, which should provide performance that just about

tops a dual-core 1.8GHz Intel Atom. Essentially then, it will be adequate for

many people’s computing needs, as long as you’re not the impatient type, a

heavy multi-tasker or run CPU-intensive apps.Zotac Zbox Nano AD10

The graphics side of things is also interesting, as the Radeon

HD 6310 should get you playable frame rates in very undemanding games –

though it didn’t fare too well in our TrackMania Nations Forever test,

achieving a barely playable 25.3fps (frames per second) average on medium

detail and at 720p.

However, for video duties it will handle everything its

dedicated desktop siblings can manage, including online and offline 1080p video

in any format. The closest equivalent is probably Nvidia’s ION2, which we often

find pairing Atom CPUs. However, AMD’s solution uses slightly less power than

an Atom/ION combo while providing slightly more performance.Zotac Zbox Nano AD10 (Plus)

Getting to RAM and storage, you can either go the

preconfigured ‘Plus’ route, or buy the vanilla AD10, which lets you stick in

any DDR3 SO-DIMM and a 2.5in hard drive or SSD of your choice. Though the E-350

platform can support up to dual 1066MHz DIMMS in theory, in the Nano’s case

(pun intended) you’re limited to a single stick of ‘laptop’ memory. The AD10

sells for £189, while the AD10 Plus will set you back £255 with 2GB of RAM and

a Samsung 5,400rpm 320GB HDD.

Considering you can buy 4GB of laptop RAM for under £30 and

a 1TB 2.5in HDD for around £50 these days, you’re definitely better off

installing these yourself, but it’s nice to have the option for those

disinclined to tinker with their PCs’ innards. You could even go so far as to

stick in an SSD, though that will likely be overkill compared to the rest of

the system.

Speaking of tinkering, Zotac’s Nano provides very easy

access. Merely undo four screws to remove its base, then two more for the hard

drive cage, and both memory and storage can be installed in mere minutes.

Regardless of your configuration choice, you will need to install an operating

system yourself, so if opting for Windows – instead of a free alternative like

Linux – you’ll need to factor in that cost too.

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