Zotac’s Zbox Magnus EC52070D mini PC sports an RTX 2070

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.

Comments closed
    • Anonymous Coward
    • 10 months ago

    Shouldn’t they give up on 35W CPU’s with a GPU like that?

    Fantastic looking box, nice specs, but as always I would find myself being cheap and building in a small tower case from whatever bits are cost effective.

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 months ago

      There are a lot of trade-offs to get things that small, so minimal volume has to be your highest priority by far. If it isn’t, you’re going to keep making other decisions and ending up with a much larger system (which still may be compact compared to full-tower behemoths) that will be one or more of cheaper/cooler/quieter/faster/more feature-full (ports etc).

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 10 months ago

        Yeah true, and maybe I shouldn’t focus on the 35W spec too much. But that poor CPU has a base clock of 1.7ghz, surely a 45W 4c/8t (i5-8400H) would have been a better pick. Would raise the price a bit. Well, I’m not a potential customer anyway, but if I was, that CPU would bother me in the price class I assume this will land.

      • sweatshopking
      • 10 months ago

      I built a mini itx box with a 1070 and a 4790k. The 4790k is way too hot though, and I’ve tried a few different coolers on it, and unless I keep the walls and roof of the case off I cant get it to stay below 75 degrees. 35w makes a lot of sense in a build this tiny, though idk how well it pairs with a 2070.

        • Redocbew
        • 10 months ago

        It makes sense to me also. Having both a mid to high end CPU and a discrete GPU in a small form factor is a lot harder than having one or the other. A few months ago I built a new machine using an i7 8700k inside a Node 304 with a Cryorig H7 for a heatsink. It fits, and temperatures are fine, but there’s not much room to spare. It’s just about the biggest cooler I could fit inside the case without modifications. All but one of the drive cages had to go, and I’m pretty sure having to cram a discrete GPU in there also would not have gone so well. This thing is even smaller than that.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 10 months ago

          Being able to design your own heatsinks and cooling ducts does good things for density.

          Their choice of CPU seems too “budget” for this box, which I think is a bit of a premium item, there was also a 8500T or 8600T with the same TDP and better clocks.

            • Redocbew
            • 10 months ago

            True. I would hope there’s enough wiggle room in the thermals of this box to make a change like that without causing too much trouble. Either way it’s nice to see small form factor PCs getting more attention. I might have gone for something like this when I built my last machine, but with the hardware I had on hand already it was way cheaper to just keep the Node 304 and replace what had died.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 10 months ago

            Rolling upgrades are great, keep the costs down. I always end up disappointed with laptops or AIO machines, also I had a C2D Shuttle box which went out in the trash sooner than it needed to, only because parts are hard to come by. I would approve more of this here box if it conformed to some standard which allowed motherboards and power supplies to be replaced and upgraded down the road.

      • RAGEPRO
      • 10 months ago

      Personally speaking I think they really should go with a 65W CPU and a mobile GPU. That would let them keep the size down closer to the [url=https://techreport.com/review/31127/zotac-zbox-magnus-en1070-mini-pc-reviewed<]EN1070[/url<] which is a much more attractive size than the chunky brick we have here. Still, this is pretty small.

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