Zbox Magnus EN970 puts discrete GPU power in a tiny box

— 8:16 AM on September 8, 2015

Zotac has been making tiny PCs for a long time, and today, the company has updated its Zbox E-series of gaming blades. The company's Zbox Magnus EN970 packs a Broadwell CPU and an unusual graphics configuration into a little barebones box. 

The Magnus EN970 is built around a dual-core, four-thread Core i5-5200U CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 graphics card. This isn't the same GeForce GTX 960 as you find in traditional desktops, though, since the GM206 GPU in that card has a 128-bit path to memory and 1,024 shader cores running at up to 1,178 MHz. This mini gaming box's GPU has a 192-bit path to memory, 3GB of RAM, and 1,280 shader cores at an undisclosed but presumably slower speed, which makes this iteration of the GTX 960 more like the GeForce GTX 970M than any desktop card.

Four HDMI 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports on the rear provide plenty of peripheral connectivity, and another pair of USB 3.0 ports sit next to an SD card reader up front, too. For network connectivity, the Magnus EN970 has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 built in. This pint-sized PC measures 8.3" x 8" x 2.1," though those measurements don't include the Zbox's external power brick.

Despite the diminutive size, a pair of 2.5" SATA drive bays and an M.2 slot offer more room for storage in this Zbox than one might expect. A pair of SO-DIMM slots can handle up to 16GB of memory. Zotac will offer a Plus model with 8GB of memory on a single DIMM, along with a 120GB SSD in the M.2 slot.

Zotac hasn't announced pricing or availability for the Magnus EN970 family yet. We've asked the company for more information.

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