Radeons find a home in Zotac's Magnus ERX480


— 12:13 PM on November 2, 2016

Zotac keeps finding ways of fitting beefy hardware into its diminutive Zbox Magnus mini-PCs. In the past, the company relied on Nvidia's GPUs and Intel's integrated graphics to drive displays. Now, for the first time, consumers can buy a Zbox powered by a Radeon card. For the new Magnus ERX480 line, Zotac turned to AMD's Radeon RX 480. In fact, this appears to be the first implementation of the RX 480 outside of a desktop.

Zotac says the card in the Zbox has 2304 shader cores and a 256-bit path to memory, so this looks like the full-fat RX 480 that we reviewed last June. The card has access to 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and supports all the features we expect from a modern Radeon, like 4K display output and FreeSync. Zotac paired up the RX480 with Intel's Core i5-6400T processor. This Skylake chip is a low-power quad-core, four-thread unit with a 35W TDP and a 2.2GHz base clock that can turbo up to 2.8GHz.

Zotac's decision to equip the ERX480 with a low-power processor is an interesting one. In the Magnus EN1080 released just last month, for example, the company used a 65W part in the form of the Core i7-6700. Perhaps using power-sipping parts allowed Zotac keep the ERX480 slim and trim. While the EN1080 stands 5" (12.8 cm) tall partly due to its closed-loop liquid cooler, the air-cooled ERX480 is only 2.45" (6.2 cm) tall.

As we've come to expect from Zotac's Zbox mini-PCs, the ERX480 is available in three flavors. The first is a barebones system for which users will need to supply memory, a storage device, and an operating system. In the ERX480 Plus, Zotac includes an 8GB stick of DDR4-2133 RAM, a 120GB M.2 SATA hard drive, and a 1TB 2.5" mechanical hard drive. Finally, Zotac sells a model that includes all of the above plus a Windows 10 license. The ERX480 models haven't yet shown up in online retailers, nor has Zotac revealed the units' pricing. 

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