Small-form-factor Zino HD gets quad-core, Blu-ray upgrades

For close to a year, Dell’s Zino HD has offered a colorful, AMD-based alternative to Apple’s Mac Mini. Now there’s a fresh version that can be built up with a Blu-ray drive, quad-core CPU, and discrete Radeon HD graphics. Oh my.

The new Zino shares the same 7.8″ x 7.8″ x 3.4″ footprint as its predecessor, but the glossy plastic top panel of the original has been replaced with what looks like brushed metal. The selection of available colors has also been pared down from a veritable rainbow to just four: black, silver, red, and blue. Matching the system to a room’s color palette will cost you, though; color options other than black are a $39 upgrade.

Base Zino HD configurations now start at $299, which gets you an Athlon II V140 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, Radeon HD 4250 integrated graphics, plus a 250GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM, DVD burner, keyboard and mouse, and Windows 7 Home Premium x64. The Zino can also be hopped up with a Phenom II X4 P940 running at 1.7GHz, an MXM-based Radeon HD 5450 GPU, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and an optical drive that can read Blu-ray discs and burn DVDs. Total cost? $825 after an instant discount of over $300.

The Zino is taller than Apple’s current selection of Mac Minis, but it has a similar footprint, and you get a lot more hardware for your money. Shocking, I know. What’s perhaps more surprising is the fact that the base configuration is only a little more expensive than Zotac’s CULV-based Zbox, which is sold without an optical drive, hard drive, memory, or operating system.

Comments closed
    • oMa
    • 9 years ago

    Is it possible to upgrade to a more powerful mxm grafics card? Like mobility 5650 or 330m/435m?

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      In theory: yes. In practice: don’t count on it.

    • kvndoom
    • 9 years ago
    • stmok
    • 9 years ago

    I wonder if Dell will introduce an AMD “Llano” based version in 2011?
    (It seems Zino uses 25W TDP CPUs.)

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 9 years ago

      That sounds like a nice machine.

    • Voldenuit
    • 9 years ago

    Price is good. I’m sourcing parts for a uATX/mITX build for the wife, and they’re coming up to $800 even before the OS.

    The deal breaker would be if those Zinos were loud, though. Hopefully someplace like spcr will test them.

      • Bauxite
      • 9 years ago

      The thermals/acoustics are probably not a whole lot different than the current 400 zino, which is pretty quiet.

    • cygnus1
    • 9 years ago

    l[

      • Goty
      • 9 years ago

      It’s probably a lot like the M301z. It looks like nice, brushed metal, but it really just painted, glossy plastic.

      Looks nice otherwise, though.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      No, the colors cost more than black on the previous model also and they were glossy plastic.

      Though early on Dell offered a couple of “color packs” that included several different colors that you could swap in and out at your whim; four color options in a pack wasn’t that much more than one non-black option.

    • Synchromesh
    • 9 years ago

    What I don’t get is why can’t this thing support more than 1TB? It uses desktop drives for crying out loud! The whole point of using them is to have more storage in one box. If it wasn’t for that limitation I would buy it again.

      • Bauxite
      • 9 years ago

      Its has a 3.5″ hard drive, so you are perfectly able to shove a 2TB inside it, they simply chose to not have that option when configuring it.

      I hated their wireless card choices on the previous model, so I ordered one without it and put in a much better dual band chipset. It saved me $20 too. They didn’t leave in the antenna leads like every laptop I’ve had from them though, but I thankfully had superior hirose paddles left over from modding a laptop.

      Due to the industry wide forcing of OS bundling with consumer sales, unfortunately they won’t do the same with hard drives. I would’ve done that as well, but it was still dirt cheap for a SFF dual core computer for its intended use.

        • Synchromesh
        • 9 years ago

        Actually you are wrong. I had a Zino before it was stolen recently and tried to put in a 2TB WD drive I acquired. While it powered up it refused to load Windows. After calling up Dell I found those things have a physical chipset limitation of 1TB max. Which is what pisses me off immensely and negates usage of desktop drives which make the enclosure larger than it could have been to begin with.

        The website still says “up to 1000GB of storage” implying they didn’t fix it on the machines either.

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          meh. i don’t have more than a tb in my computer and i survive.

          • Bauxite
          • 9 years ago

          Its a drive/windows/bios problem, there is no real hardware reason for a limit at 1TB and having an issue with a specific configuration doesn’t make it so. Even the ~2.2TB boot limit is a windows/bios/drive architecture problem.

          The chipset is 780g, amd doesn’t make different versions of it that magically break at >1TB. The new one looks like the 880g.

          l[

            • vargis14
            • 9 years ago

            I have a zino hd with the 3250e 1.5ghz dual core 250 gig hd 4 gig ram and hd4330 512. 375$ outlet price with win 7 64. i see no problem with storage it has 2 esata connections on back and using my thermaltake blackX dual hotswap esata dock and 2 2tb WD green drives ….a 9 gig mkv file transfers as fast as if the drive was mounted in the case 90+mb sec bursts and averages 60mb sec transfer speeds…..btw typing with one hand so pardon my lack of writing skills.
            plus i wouldnt want to put a heavy 2 gig drive in the zino the cpu heatsink pipe just about touches the hardrive heavy hot hardrive = premature eja err i mean failure……anyway i have 2 zinos they are snappy and great htpcs and i just happened to get my 45$ 4850e 45watt am2cpu in the mail yesterday if i can find my artic silver tube i cant wait to see how snappy it is with a 2.5 ghz dually

    • jackbomb
    • 9 years ago

    Dell should offer Zino mini-ITX cases. I’d buy one, like right now.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 9 years ago

    USB 3.0 would’ve been a nice touch, though admittedly that is pretty rare on laptops.

    • Spyder22446688
    • 9 years ago

    I love how the ultra slim wireless keyboard showcased in the Dell Zino HD media gallery is actually not available for purchase when buying said Zino HD. Smooth move, Dell.

    • Sunburn74
    • 9 years ago

    Really nice looking box. Really nice.

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    1.7 GHz ? is that correct?

    I’d much rather have an Athlon II X4 at 2.6 or 2.8 than anything stuck at 1.7

    Other than that, those are some darn slick little things.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 9 years ago

      They’re mobile processors.

        • flip-mode
        • 9 years ago

        Kinda sucks. I just looked at the options and I may rather go with the 2.3 GHz X2 rather than the 1.7 GHz X4.

        Edit: it looks like the mobile Phenom II p940 is really just an Athlon II X4 (2 MB cache).

          • FuturePastNow
          • 9 years ago

          The base V140 processor is a single-core. Looks like a 2.2GHz X2 is only a $23 upgrade, though. That and integrated graphics are probably the best buy.

            • Bauxite
            • 9 years ago

            Yep taking the base and upgrading to the X2 gives a decent and small computer thats quite cheap ($322) yet not utter slow garbage like all the atom nettops.

            • FuturePastNow
            • 9 years ago

            Indeed. I wonder if the base 2GB of RAM leaves a slot open…

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 9 years ago

      What is this going to doing that requires one fast core?

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    “color options other than black are a $39 upgrade.”

    I won’t consider any device that does this. It’s color, and the differences are measured in penniesg{<.<}g Reminds me of Jiffy Lube.

      • 5150
      • 9 years ago

      Businesses try to make profit on upsells. More at 11.

        • axeman
        • 9 years ago

        You might get sunburned from the sun. More at 11.

      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      Honestly, that’s not entirely true. It can be a significant cost as you now have to manage inventory for more individual parts. By putting a cost on the options that “cost pennies” you push people toward the standard option which gets you a couple benefits. The standard option can then be made cheaper as you’re selling more of it and the inventory management gets much easier.

        • UberGerbil
        • 9 years ago

        You are correct. It’s unlikely to be $39, though, particularly for a company that manages its supply chain (and minimizes inventory) the way Dell does.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      The Spouse Approval Factor is worth $39, easily. Just ask arround, if you don’t have a spousal equivalent yourself.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 9 years ago

        In theory: yes. In practice: don’t count on it.

    • wira020
    • 9 years ago

    Looks good, definitely deserve a place in the living room…

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    I’m glad they’re using mobile parts, and giving you options. Most desktops sold in places like Best Buy really have no reason to be using higher power parts.

    What I am not exactly excited by is that they are literally selling you a laptop without a screen or battery at higher than the cost of the real deal. This whole “small = expensive” game OEMs are starting to play is completely ruining the potential that desktops still have in the face of rising laptop sales.

      • Sargent Duck
      • 9 years ago

      It’s a media box. It gets hooked up to your tv and is designed to be fit inbetween your Xbox and cable modem. A screen and battery are uneeded, unwanted and useless.

        • StuG
        • 9 years ago

        He’s not saying that. He’s saying that its ridiculous that it costs more than a regular laptop when it has less parts.

          • Skrying
          • 9 years ago

          He’s said this multiple times, but he’s been a bit misleading on the “premium.” Like with the Asrock computer the components of the $825 model are similar to what you would find in a laptop at the same price. A Blu-Ray drive and a laptop without “Intel HD” in the graphics line cost just as muc if not more. There might be a slight premium but it’s not massive.

          On top of that using only hardware specifications to judge value is a mistake. Looks have value and shape have value. It’s perfectly reasonable to charge more for a product with similar specifications but looks better or has a more functional shape.

      • fent
      • 9 years ago

      That doesnt seem to be the case. Looking at newegg, the cheapest laptop with the AMD Athlon II dual-core is just over $500. With the quad-core the cheapest looks to be $600. But once you add in the blu-ray drive and discrete graphics its a pretty good deal.

      • Voldenuit
      • 9 years ago

      Not may $299 laptops to go around. And a Phenom II X4 laptop with 8 GB of RAM and a Blu-Ray combo drive would cost a great deal more than $825, methinks.

      I think the prices are pretty decent.

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