Our TR gerbils know that while I'm a big fan of Zotac's Zbox line of mini PCs in general, I have a few specific complaints about each model that I've used. The company just released a new machine that appears to address some of those complaints. Check out the Zbox Magnus EC52070D.
This machine uses the same size and shape—the exact same dimensions, in fact—as the Zbox Magnus EN1080K that we reviewed back in September 2017. This new model trades that machine's mobile Pascal graphics and Kaby Lake CPU for the latest hotness: a six-core Coffee Lake chip and a Turing-based video card.
As you've probably already guessed, this model includes a GeForce RTX 2070. It's not just the mobile GPU; as with some of Zotac's other models, this Zbox includes a cutout in the back so that the I/O cluster of the graphics card can poke through. That means real desktop performance from a real desktop graphics card.
That card is supported by a Core i5-8400T. The weak CPU inside the Zbox Magnus EN1070 was my biggest complaint with that machine, but thanks to the improved efficiency of Coffee Lake, this newer chip will turbo to 3.3 GHz. That's a solid 800 MHz bump over the Core i5-6400T in the EN1070. It'll do 3 GHz on all six cores simultaneously, too—at least as long as its 35W TDP holds out.
The CPU hooks up to two SO-DIMM slots supporting DDR4 memory running at up to 2666 MT/s. For less immediate storage, the Zbox Magnus EC52070D has the same 2.5" SATA-plus-M.2 arrangement as the other Zbox Magnus units I've seen, but it also has an additional M.2 socket that Zotac labels as an "Intel Optane memory slot." Zotac confirmed for us that this is simply another M.2 socket wired up to PCIe 3.0 x2.
External ports on the Zbox Magnus EC52070D include six USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports; dual gigabit Ethernet connections; and the video card's three DisplayPort connections, HDMI port, and old-school DVI port. One of the Ethernet connections and the 802.11ac Wi-Fi are powered by Killer chips. There's also Bluetooth support for connecting up those Wiimotes to get the authentic Mario Kart Wii experience.
Another complaint that I had with the Zbox Magnus EN1070 was that it was sharply limited by its 180W power adapter. Zotac completely resolved this issue on the Magnus EN1080K by simply hooking up two of them, but that created a new problem in that you had to carry around two power adapters and plug them both in, leaving no room on a typical outlet for a monitor. Happily, the Magnus EC52070D uses a single power adapter that is rated for 330W.
Finally, even though this machine uses the same thicker form factor as the Magnus EN1080K, it uses regular old air-cooling instead of the exotic liquid-cooling setup in that machine. That should help address some of our reliability concerns regarding the older system. Furthermore, Zotac added ventilation to the sides of the chassis so you might actually be able to get away with setting stuff on top of this one.
If you're after a gaming mighty mite, this could be the machine to get. As usual, it will come in bare-bones form as well as a pre-configured system with 8GB of memory, a 1TB hard drive, a 128GB M.2 SSD, and Windows 10. Zotac didn't say when or for how much you'll be able to buy a Zbox Magnus EC52070D, but did say to expect it within a few weeks.