ZOTAC ZBOX $250 mini-PC teardown
by Bill Detwiler | October 11, 2010, 6:15am PDT | Image 34 of 54
Hard drive clamp
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
Hard drive clamp - Image 34 of 54
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Own one and it is pricey but perfect
Not what it is made out to be.
My non-scientific test consisted of testing several different video files for playability on different hardware as compared to current hardware under consideration.
I tested it under winxp 32 + 64 bit versions and Win7 ultimate 32 bit version. Also tested on a standalone media player with 640gb external Seagate FreeAgent hard disk drive. The hardware consisted of the motherboard under sonsideration + 2 x 2gb Kingston DDR2 800 dimms + 2 x 2.5" 500 gb
Seagate drives in Mini-ITX cabinet.
A 16 gb 1080p h256 8 mbps 5.1 AC3 mkv file on the FreeAgent drive through my media player on a 42" HD LCD TV via HDMI connection. Played absolutely flawlessly. This led me to conclude that FreeAgent drive was up to the task without missing a single heartbeat. Best of all the FreeAgent drive was NOT DEFRAGGED !
Next I tried to play this very file on the hardware under consideration through HDMI port. It practically died. All kinds of pixellations, n number of dropped frames.
I tried this with all the 4 versions of windows. Same results.
I then proceeded to copy this file on to a freshly formatted partitioned Seagate 2.5" internal sata HD drive. Tested it once again with some marginal improvemnts but certainly far from usable.
I then gradually reduced the file specs to see what was playable. The best it could do was play a 720p, h256, 5.1 ac3, 2.5 mbps mkv file properly. This too only on WinXP x64. Neither the WinXp x86 nor Win7 x86 could cope with the load. This applies to both the PC monitor as well as the HD TV.
In conclusion I have only one thing to say. DO look for honest reviews ! Or take it with a fistful of salt.
BTW the media player can accommodate 1x2.5" internal sata drive, with 2xUSB 2.0 ports, 1x5.1 optical audio output, 1xHDMI 1.3 output, composite video output and supports RTL8187/B chipset based USB wifi dongle. It cost me US$ 95/= with a free 2 meter HDMI cable including shipping by FedEx. Plays all media files - video, audio and photos.
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