Honey, Zotac shrunk the nettop


— 10:32 AM on April 11, 2012

Zotac's Zbox Nano AD10 is one of the smallest nettops we've ever seen. It's a fantastic mini PC, and now there's new version with even tighter dimensions. The Zbox Nano XS AD11 measures a scant 4.2" x 4.2" x 1.5" (106 x 106 x 37 mm), which is 17% smaller than the old model. For reference, Apple's Mac Mini is about as thick but has a much larger 7.7" x 7.7" footprint.

Like its predecessor, the Nano XS has AMD hardware under the hood. The bite-sized PC features a Brazos-based E-450 APU with Radeon HD 6320 integrated graphics. 2GB of RAM is included, as is a 64GB mSATA solid-state drive. The XS is too small for even a 2.5" mechanical hard drive, it seems.

Despite its tiny chassis, the XS still has a decent array of connectivity options. There's an HDMI output at the rear alongside four USB ports; half of the USB ports are of the SuperSpeed variety, while the others offer more power to devices that support fast USB charging. The port array also includes an optical S/PDIF out, an eSATA/USB port, and a Gigabit Ethernet jack. 802.11n Wi-Fi is supported, of course, and there's a 6-in-1 memory card reader up front. Zotac throws in an MCE-compatible IR remote and a VESA mounting bracket that makes it easy to hang the Zbox off the back of a monitor or anywhere you can drive a few screws.

Unlike the old version, which can be had for as little as $200 in a barebones configuration, the Nano XS will be sold as a fully equipped Plus model. The device is set to cost $360 without an operating system.

 

While one could build a mini PC for cheaper, good luck cobbling together anything close to the same size. My only reservation is the system's tiny blower, which seems like the sort of cooler that could get louder over time and be difficult to replace. The cooling options are limited for such a tiny system, though.

   
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