New Xi3 PC is paperback-sized, costs $399

Xi3 raised eyebrows last week when its Modular Computer chassis was named as a host for a potential Steam box development system. Now, the firm is back for an encore. While the company's latest announcement says nothing about Steam, it does introduce a nifty-looking $399 system that's even tinier than the Modular Computer. The Z3RO Pro Computer measures 1.9" x 4.9" x 3.6", or "the size of a small paperback."

This puppy isn't just small; it's also very energy-efficient, with quoted operating power draw of just 15W. That said, there seems to be a reasonable amount of horsepower under the hood:

  • A dual-core 64-bit, x86-based processor running at 1.65GHz (with 2MB of Level2 Cache),
  • An integrated graphics processor (GPU) containing 80 graphics cores (or shaders),
  • 4GB of DDR3 RAM,
  • 16GB—1TB of internal solid-state SSD storage (with up to 12Gbps throughput speeds),
  • Two display ports providing maximum resolution of 2560x1600 (including 1 HDMI/DisplayPort v1.2 and 1 Mini-DisplayPort v1.2),
  • Four eSATAp 3.0 ports, and
  • 1Gb Ethernet port.

There's no mention of the actual processor used, but judging by the specs above, I'm assuming Xi3 went with an AMD chip. AMD's E-450 almost fits the aforementioned description to a tee: dual cores, 1.65GHz speed, and 80 graphics ALUs. However, like the rest of the E series, the E-450 only has 1MB of L2 cache. Either Xi3's copywriters got their number mixed up, or the Z3RO Pro's processor hasn't been released yet. (Here's hoping for something Kabini-powered.)

In any case, the Z3RO Pro is due out in the second quarter, and pre-orders have already begun. The machine will ship with openSUSE Linux 11.2 out of the box, oddly enough, but users will be able to install other operating systems like Windows 8.

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