Passively-cooled Zotac mini-PC packs Core M processor

Zotac has revealed a stack of new mini-PCs ahead of next week's Computex show. The most interesting of the bunch is easily the Zbox Nano CI521, which combines a Broadwell-based Core M processor with passive cooling.

Source: Zotac

The chassis has compact 5" x 5" x 1.8" dimensions and extensive venting throughout. Inside lurks a Core M 5Y10c with dual cores and quad threads clocked up to 2GHz. That chip also supplies the HD Graphics 5300 GPU, which lacks the horsepower for serious gaming but should still be sufficient for some casual, indie, and older titles.

The official product brochure lists 8GB of "on board" memory that's probably soldered to the PCB—hopefully in a dual-channel configuration. Storage is split between an M.2 slot and a 2.5" SATA bay. The Nano can only accept M.2 gumsticks up to 60 mm long, and I suspect its SATA bay is limited drives that are 9.5 mm or shorter.

Despite its size, the Nano offers a smorgasboard of external connectivity. The front panel houses a memory card slot, dual USB 3.0 ports, and both digital and analog audio jacks. There are two more USB ports around back, plus full-sized HDMI and DisplayPort outs. Networking options include dual GigE controllers, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.

The Core M was designed for fanless mobile systems, so it's only fitting to see the chip make its way into a similarly silent mini-PC. Let's hope the price is right.

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