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Zotac ZBOX ID84 Plus Mini PC

3
Posted September 17, 2012 by Jake in CPU & Motherboards
zotac_zboxid84_17

Rating

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Overview

Hardware:
 
Manufacturer:
 
Price at time of Review: $319
 

WHAT WE LIKED:

Sleek aesthetics, Small form factor, Great price, Strong connectivity, Quiet, Vesa mount
 

WHAT WE DISLIKED:

No optical drive for OS or Drivers installation, Runs warm, Slow write speeds on hard disk
 
BOTTOM LINE:
Affordable and sleek for basic HTPC usage.
Discuss in the Forum
by Jake
Full Article
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Introduction

We’ve seen quite a rise in the popularity of home theater systems, a reflection of the increasing media consumption in the world around us. Technology pushes forward, and a byproduct is things become smaller, so the need for towering desktop systems in homes isn’t what it once was, certainly not for multimedia usage.

And so we’ve then seen the rise of the Mini PC, a very smallform platform that can handle essential home tasks, such as email, browsing, music, perhaps some productivity work, and certainly video playback. In the context of the home theater setup, these mini PCs occupy an interesting position in the marketplace; not as powerful as a true a desktop, not as mobile as a tablet, not as integrated as a notebook.

Zotac may be known for gaming graphics cards, but the company is also well known for producing smallform mini PCs. The ZBOX ID84 Plus is the latest in a long line of these mini systems, and it comes with a very attractive price tag of about $319, perhaps a very affordable HTPC setup for those on a tight budget who lack the need of something fancy or expensive, but still want the versatility of managing daily uses a computer can provide.

The ID84 Plus looks like a sleek little unit, so let’s take a closer look and see how it fares.

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3 Comments


  1.  
    Mo

    Great review Jake. I just purchased one of these on ebay, and I’m waiting for it to arrive soon (hopefully before Christmas). I appreciate the detailed pics, especially the inside pics.

    I only have one criticism of your article…and that is how you went on & on about the lack of an optical drive, and the relevance of supplying a driver CD. I think that criticism was a little unfair being that this is a barebone mini-PC, and that they were trying to keep it as compact as possible.

    Had they added an optical drive, it would have added to the size & weight (not to mention the price). Personally, I’d rather not pay extra for this unit to have an optical drive. External USB cases or optical drives are quite common and inexpensive, and will easily do the job of installing an OS on this thing. Or as you mentioned in your article, you can do the flash drive method to install an OS (trickier, but still possible). Furthermore, whoever buys one of these will already know that they have to install an OS, so one would assume that the people buying these are a little more knowledgeable than the average user. That, or they know someone who promised to help them set it up.

    As for the driver CD, I think it was nice of them to supply that, so we have the drivers on hand without having to download them from their support webpage. Besides, it’s not hard to copy the contents on a flash drive (if you are not using an external optical drive already).

    Besides that, the review and presentation was excellent. Thanks and Merry Christmas.




    •  

      Thanks for taking the time to write that feedback and your opinions!

      It’s debatable, but I suppose the bottom line is that anyone who is computer illiterate will likely have some difficulty getting this up and running. The problem is that you are relying on other components, parts, hardware, whatnot that’s not in this package in order to get it up and running. If someone doesn’t have access to those parts, then there’s a big problem and the box will sit there without working. Fundamentally I think that’s a problem. That said, if people fully understand this is a barebones kit and some attention is needed to get it running, then it’s a good buy and can be done with a bit of patience. :)




      •  
        Mo

        Yes Jake, I agree that “anyone who is computer illiterate will likely have some difficulty getting this up and running”. And this would certainly be the case if they start selling these off-the-shelf to Mr Joe Average at Walmart for example.

        But as I said in my first response, the target audience for this product are people that are knowledgeable with computers. I am happy to be able to buy this cheaper because of the no optical drive, as I am planning to use this device for streaming media from my NAS to the living room, and won’t need an optical drive on it at all. With wifi, Bluetooth, and networking so established now, who really needs any detachable media these days anyway (besides flashdrives)? In the near future, physical mediums such as DVD’s and BluRays will go the way of the floppy disks. How many computers do you see these days that still have a Floppy Drive? That’s how I feel about optical drives.

        Seriously, it seems such a waste of resources to include an optical drive just so we can install an OS easier.

        If this unit all works nicely, I will be getting another one for my parents too, and setting it up for them.





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