New Zbox systems get Ivy Bridge, desktop GeForce

This week's news will be filled with product news from CES. The Consumer Electronics Show doesn't begin officially until Tuesday, but press releases are already hitting our inbox. Today, Zotac unveils two new additons to its Zbox family of small-form-factor systems: the ID42 and ID83. Both feature Core-based Intel processors, and the former comes wrapped in a third-generation chassis.

The new chassis has grown 7 mm thicker to accommodate the combination of a 1.1GHz "dual-core Intel Core processor" and Nvidia's GeForce GT 610 GPU. The ambiguously named CPU is a mobile chip. The GeForce comes from Nvidia's stable of desktop parts, although it's still pretty much the bottom of the barrel for the 6-series Fermi lineup. Zotac doesn't hype the GPU's gaming potential, but it does point out the GeForce's support for Blu-ray 3D decode acceleration and bitstream audio output. I can't help but be curious whether this little box has enough horsepower to handle all those indie games I've accumulated over the past few years.

Along with its CPU-GPU tag team, the Zbox ID42 sports dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and a pair of external antennas for its 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The exterior is lined with all kinds of connectivity, including dual USB 3.0 ports, dual USB 2.0 ports, analog audio jacks, an S/PDIF audio out, and both HDMI and DVI video outputs. There's even an integrated card reader.

The ID83 has a similar port payload, plus a couple USB 2.0 jacks and minus one Wi-Fi antenna. Under the hood, it features an Ivy-based Core i3-3120M that's a nice upgrade over the Sandy-based i3-2330M from the old ID82. The new CPU is still a 35W duallie with Hyper-Threading support, but its clock speed has been bumped to 2.5GHz, a 300MHz increase. This Ivy implementation also features Intel's HD Graphics 4000 GPU, which is a cut above the HD 3000 in Sandy Bridge.

Like previous Zbox systems, the ID42 and ID83 will be sold as barebone rigs and in Plus configurations loaded with RAM and storage. The barebone configs offer dual SO-DIMM slots and 2.5" SATA bays. In the Plus models, those are filled with 4GB of DDR3 and 500GB, 5,400-RPM mechanical hard drives.

As expected, the new models each come with a handful of accessories. There are two mounting options: a simple vertical stand and a VESA-compatible bracket that can be affixed to the back of some monitors and pretty much anywhere you can sink a few screws. Also included is an MCE remote that's perfect for the living room. You can see pictures of those extras and more in the gallery below.

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