Zotac’s Zbox Pro mini-PC family targets embedded systems

I love Zotac's Zboxes. They're so tiny and cute, and you can stick 'em anywhere—at least, as long as "anywhere" is "a well-ventilated area free of hazards." Some jobs need certain hardware with a very particular set of skills, and Zotac wants to make sure it can serve those markets with the Zbox Pro line of embedded mini-PCs. There are five models in total; three are fanless machines, and two have discrete graphics grunt.

The front-side of a Zotac Zbox Pro CI329 nano.

Among the fanless models, the Zbox Pro CI329 nano is the most capable of the three. Its Celeron N4100 (Gemini Lake) quad-core starts at 1.1 GHz, but it will burst to 2.4 GHz as needed. That chip hooks up to two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots, while an M-key M.2-2260 slot and a 2.5" SATA bay provide storage expansion. The CI329 uses Intel's UHD Graphics 600 to power an HDMI 2.0 port, a DisplayPort 1.2 connection, and an old-school VGA port. Other connectivity includes a pair of gigabit Ethernet connections and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. There are four USB 3.0 ports, one of which is a USB Type-C.

The back side of a Zotac Zbox Pro CI330 nano.

The Zbox Pro CI330 nano is similar in many ways, but it uses a Celeron N3160 (Braswell) quad-core that starts at 1.6 GHz and bursts to 2.24 GHz. Being that this is Braswell, it takes DDR3L SO-DIMMs rather than DDR4. The CI330 nano has fewer and different ports than the CI329, too. It drops the DisplayPort connection for another HDMI, leaving the box with a pair of HDMI 1.4 ports and a VGA connection. It also has only one gigabit Ethernet connection, and it skips most of the USB ports of its sibling. It only has one USB 3.0 Type-A port and two USB 2.0 ports. It retains the same storage accommodations, though.

The Zbox Pro PI335 Pico.

The smallest of Zotac's new Zbox Pro machines is the Zbox Pro PI335 pico. This is fundamentally similar to the regular Zbox PI335, but it's been updated with a Celeron N4100 SoC and 64GB of eMMC versus the original model's Apollo Lake chip and 32GB. It has a surprising amount of connectivity despite being barely larger than a pack of cigarettes: HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5mm audio, and three USB ports all appear on this Zbox. The Zbox Pro version gains fins on its aluminum chassis and a pair of external Wi-Fi antennas, too.

The front side of a Zotac Zbox Pro QK5P1000.

The two actively cooled Zbox Pros get even less glamorous names: QK5P1000 and QK7P3000. Both names are easy to decode if you look at the specs, though. The QK5P1000 comes with a Core i5-7300U CPU and a Quadro P1000 discrete GPU, while the QK7P3000 comes with a Core i7-7700T CPU and a Quadro P3000 discrete GPU. Listings for both machines state that their dual SO-DIMM slots are meant for DDR4L memory, which we can only assume is a typo. Both machines also have a 2.5" drive bay for SATA disks, as well as an M.2 socket, although the QK5P1000's M.2 socket takes only 42-mm drives.

The back side of a Zotac Zbox Pro QK7P3000.

Thanks to their discrete GPUs, both of these Zbox Pro systems have no fewer than four HDMI 2.0 connections on the back. Both machines also have dual gigabit Ethernet jacks as well as 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The QK5P1000 has a TOSLink optical audio connector and three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, while the QK7P3000 instead has two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 3.1 ports, all Type-A. Both machines also have the usual 3.5mm audio jacks up front.

Zotac's suggested uses for a Zbox Pro.

All of the new Zbox Pro machines include a number of interesting features for embedded systems. All five come with L-shaped brackets so you can screw them down to whatever surface is handy, and each (besides the PI335 pico) includes an old-fashioned RS-232 serial port. The CI330 nano goes a step further and offers screw-on lugs for its DC-in barrel plug as well as its two HDMI ports. That same machine also has a "display continuity" switch, and the active-cooled machines have EDID emulation; both features are aimed at digital signage applications.

Zotac didn't actually announce when any of these machines would be available for purchase, but the company will be showing all of them at the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2019 show in Amsterdam. Presumably they'll launch not long after that.

Comments closed
    • tipoo
    • 8 months ago

    >ATM machine

    Good old Automated teller machine machine

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 8 months ago

    I want those passive cooled boxes for no particular reason.

      • cmrcmk
      • 8 months ago

      Give me that pico with the latest build of pfSense and you’ve got a small, efficient and yet overpowered router!

        • stdRaichu
        • 8 months ago

        Realtek NICs though…

        • rnalsation
        • 8 months ago

        You want this [url<]https://www.jetwaycomputer.com/FHP792x.html[/url<] 6 * Intel i210-IT Gigabit LAN

          • cmrcmk
          • 8 months ago

          You’re right! I DO want that!

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 8 months ago

          Impressive little boxes there.

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