Zotac intros AMD Kabini-powered mini-PC

Another system has joined Zotac’s line of diminutive PCs. This newcomer is based on AMD’s Kabini processor, and it features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI out, and wired connectivity up the wazoo.

Zotac offers two versions of the Zbox nano AQ01. The regular model is a barebones offering with a quad-core A4-5000 APU clocked at 1.5GHz, Radeon HD 8330 integrated graphics, room for one 204-pin DDR3 SO-DIMM, and a 2.5" drive bay for your storage device of choice. Connectivity includes 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI and DisplayPort outs, Gigabit Ethernet, five USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and a "combo mini-Optical S/PDIF / analog output." There’s a multi-format card reader up front, too.

The Zbox nano AQ01 Plus is almost the same as the above, except it comes with 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 500GB 5,400-RPM mechanical hard drive pre-installed. No need to open this baby up to get it up and running—although you might still want to replace that hard drive with something a little speedier. Oh, and neither the AQ01 nor the AQ01 Plus comes with a copy of Windows. You’ll have to bring your own.

One last thing: Zotac ships this baby with a VESA mounting bracket, so you can stick it behind your monitor and avoid cluttering up your desk. I kind of dig the concept in theory. In practice, though, having the system behind a display might make access to the USB ports a little awkward.

Comments closed
    • DarkMikaru
    • 7 years ago

    Ok, getting there. Now where are the Mini-ITX based boards that would be a worthy successor to my beloved Asus C60M-1? This would be the perfect step up for me. Just need 6 – 8 sata ports and we are good to go!

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Zotac should really aim these things at office environments where there are a legion of PCs each pulling in a gazillion watts. The bean counters would really appreciate a cheaper electric bill. Better make sure these use top-quality, [s<]Military-Class[/s<] [b<]Mission-To-Mars-Class[/b<] components.

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    This should have been released 8 month ago, not now when Kaveri is just weeks away.

    Are people going to go with a 15w kabini with 1.5ghz jaguar using an old GPU
    or wait to see what system will use the 15w 28nm steamroller architecture with HSA, True Audio, Mantle / GCN compute, …

    Zotac is left wondering, puzzled “Why are people not buying our A4-5000 products?”

    AMD biggest issue is actually timing. If Kaveri was release last year as scheduled, AMD would be in a much better financial situation right now. Thats AMD biggest fault, not having the skills and know how on how to manage itself. To bad engineer dont have the power to fire managers & directors…

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      I’m guessing AMD concentrated too much on their console deals and had to allocate a lot of resources in making sure all their orders from those deals were filled, else they risk making M$ and Sony very angry and never use their chips again. AMD has a history of leaving some of their markets/customers out in the cold to serve a bigger, much sought-after customer. Remember when AMD almost ditched everyone when they won Dell over? That really got a lot of people pi$$ed off at them for a while.

        • Klimax
        • 7 years ago

        From what I heard, this happened during their biggest success with Athlons (aka Pentium 4 era), where they allocated most of production to big OEMs, leaving smaller shops with too few units.

        ETA: Hit post too soon… 😀

      • raddude9
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<] should have been released 8 month ago[/quote<] Huh? you're saying they should have released this 8 weeks before the Kabini chip itself was released (23rd May)? [quote<]not now when Kaveri is just weeks away[/quote<] Sure, Kaveri might be 7 weeks away, but surely based on passed performance that would indicate that a Zotac Kaveri mini system is still about 8 months away. [quote<]Are people going to go with a 15w kabini......or wait to see...[/quote<] Kabini is in a different price bracket to Kaveri, people who want a cheap mini system are not the same people who are willing to pay more for a more powerful/full featured but more expensive Kaveri system. [quote<]AMD biggest issue is actually timing. [/quote<] Kinda, but I would phrase it differently, I believe one of their biggest problems is making enough chips to satisfy demand, while that demand is still there.

    • internetsandman
    • 7 years ago

    Any word on pricing and availability?

    I’m debating between getting one of these with a cheap simple TV to make an HTPC, or spending a bit more and getting one of Samsungs Smart TV’s, does anyone have any experience with either setup?

      • Mr. Eco
      • 7 years ago

      I have got a smart TV, and the smart part is unusable for me. The browser is very slow, the “apps” require all accounts. Typing with the on-screen keyboard and remote control is hopeless; I connected a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse – so laggy.

      So I still use a computer connected to the TV; I also use the computer for gaming.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Is there anybody at all offering the top-of-the-line A6-5200 2.0GHz Kabini part in a nice laptop/NUC-class PC? It always seems like looking for top-model AMD CPUs/APUs in laptops/netbooks/tablets is like looking for a needle in a [s<]haystack[/s<] jungle.

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, it is a shame, but I guess 25W is too much for the passive cooling.

      Still, Iris Pro graphics aren’t coming to this price range any time soon, so a Kabini is still a pretty decent option, even if it is only the 1.5GHz variant.

        • ronch
        • 7 years ago

        25w should be just fine in a standard laptop config, if not for an NUC chassis. But I’m guessing OEMs just aren’t finding these hot-clocked A6-5200 chips very compelling when placed beside a 25w Trinity part. I don’t know. Or maybe AMD isn’t getting enough good yields of these top SKUs.

        I’m getting sick of having too few AMD options when it comes to laptops. The last laptop I bought that’s AMD-Inside is an Acer with a Turion X2 Ultra ZM-something back in 2009. All our laptops have been Intel ever since.

    • Xenolith
    • 7 years ago

    Game benchmarks?

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      Sure, starting right here: [url<]https://techreport.com/review/24856/amd-a4-5000-kabini-apu-reviewed/7[/url<]

        • Xenolith
        • 7 years ago

        Thanks.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      No need. I’m sure these will play ‘find the missing items’ games just fine.

    • agold80
    • 7 years ago

    I’d really like to see either mSata or M.2 expansion added to these. That would make it far more attractive allowing for a speedy SSD as an OS drive and leaving the 2.5″ bay for media storage.

    I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, I think Zotac have been doing a great job with this line of products.

      • cygnus1
      • 7 years ago

      Western Digital has you covered, [url<]https://techreport.com/review/25690/wd-black-notebook-drive-combines-120gb-ssd-with-1tb-hdd[/url<]

        • agold80
        • 7 years ago

        Not really. Call me fussy but I like to keep my OS on a separate drive. I’ve seen way too many operating system failures.

        After reading through your link I’m even less convinced. The need to rely on a driver from WD in order to see the mechanical side of the drive does not instill confidence. I’d fear a failure in the SSD would render the HDD useless, or after looking at the pictures perhaps the opposite. A failure in the HDD might render the SSD unusable.

        On the price front this really isn’t all that appealing $299, I’d say that’s a bit steep, even taking into account the hike that “first” to market tends to bring with it.

        A couple of years ago I think I may have sounded more enthusiastic about the Black². Having installed mSata SSDs in several laptops as OS drives over the past year or so I’ll admit I’m far more keen on that arrangement. I’d really like to see more mSata or M.2 slots on both portable computers and small form factor motherboards. It’s a very space efficient way of adding storage options in cramped chassis.

    • cygnus1
    • 7 years ago

    The Zotac page says AC not N wifi in one place and N in another, wtf???

    • burntham77
    • 7 years ago

    I like these little systems. I have an older AMD version as an HTPC and it’s great. The days of bulky, VCR-sized HTPCs are over. With this new, faster configuration, I could see using one of these as a desktop workstation.

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      I’d be fine with a ‘VCR-sized’ HTPC if it allowed for two GPUs to be installed horizontally using risers and a PLX switch…

        • shank15217
        • 7 years ago

        You don’t need a PLX switch, you can easily split a x16 connection to two x8 without a pcie bridge, its done all the time. I do agree that a riser type setup would be neat but wouldn’t a half height card work too?

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      Did you just write “Workstation” ?
      A 1.5ghz Atom class CPU with a GPU even slower then what Intel put in their i3 ivy bridge CPU ?

      This is one of the lowest end PC imaginable. Only thing going for it, its small.

        • jensend
        • 7 years ago

        It’s not “Atom class” except for Bay Trail, and Bay Trail simply doesn’t deserve the bad reputation that previous generations of Atoms did richly deserve. And the A4-5000’s GPU is pretty close to the Ivy Bridge i3 despite having a lower TDP (17W i3+ 3W Panther Point chipset vs Kabini 15W SoC).

        To some people, “workstation” simply means a computer where work gets done. Sure, there are fields where the work benefits greatly from having amazing computational power, but for many desk jobs any half decent processor from the past seven years, along with basically any graphics at all, will be adequate.

        What’s your definition of a workstation? Since the most common thing that really demands more performance than Kabini can deliver is gaming, I have to wonder whether your definition of a workstation is along the lines of a certain famous saying: [quote<]"A train station is where the train stops. A bus station is where the bus stops. On my desk, I have a work station..."[/quote<]

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      My HTPC lets me game at 1080p
      A Kabini does not, which is why my VCR-sized HTPC houses a quad-core, 4x120mm fans, five drives and a 175W triple-slot graphics card.

      The XBone, PS4 and Steambox variants prove that, if anything, VCR-sized HTPCs are making a real comeback now.

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]having the system behind a display might make access to the USB ports a little awkward[/quote<] That's what I thought at First too, but then I remembered that many keyboards and monitors have built-in USB hubs anyway.

      • boskone
      • 7 years ago

      Exactly what I was going to point out.

      I don’t have a lot of use at home (attached to a monitor; maybe as an HTPC, as burntham77 says), but I could see these being handy for institutional use. Low footprint, school PCs only rarely need optical disks and the like, and with even vaguely careful selection of monitor you’d have a couple of USB ports readily accessible.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Many of which are no easier to access, but hubs are cheap enough anyway.

      • WhatMeWorry
      • 7 years ago

      I usually have so much junk and trash sitting around my workspace that I find a box lifted up and out of the way actually easier to access.USB ports.

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