Zotac ZBox HD-ID34BR mini-PC ReviewManufacturer: Zotac
UK Price (as Reviewed): £420.19 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as Reviewed): $499.99 (ex. Tax)
Zotac is still predominantly known for its components: mini-ITX motherboards and graphics cards that it occasionally adds its own flavour to
, but more recently it's going the whole hog and making full PCs and barebone systems as well.
In the last few years barebone systems have fallen out of favour because they often look cheap, can often be built for less and try to emulate a full PC we could all build: people opt for just going mini-ITX or micro-ATX instead. While Zotac's previous ultra-small form factor boxes were attractively cheaper, they were just too plasticy to generate the all important 'Oooo' factor.
The only branding on Zotac's HD-ID34BR is subtly added to the side
This is where its new HD-ID34BR differentiates itself, because it's gorgeous; slim and aluminium-like with a dash of shiny plastic and gently curved edges. Even the illuminating blue circle on the top fits the bill. It's a media centre computer with a design that would look good in any home theatre, right next to that Onkyo amp which cost ten times as much.
At a sliver under 4cm tall it joins in on the current industry trend to make everything as thin as possible, and it takes up nearly as much space as an A4 sheet of paper.
There are two version of Zotac's new Blu-ray ZBox: the ID33BR and ID34BR, with the former costing less but omitting the pre-installed 250GB hard drive and 2GB of DDR2 SO-DIMM memory. We've got the full kit here in the ID34BR, but obviously if you have memory to spare and a hard disk from an old laptop, or you want to use a super-sized 1TB drive with 4GB of memory, then it's best opt for the ID33BR.
Inside the packaging there's a small external power brick, a DVI to D-Sub adapter and the VESA mount for sticking the ZBox on the back of a monitor or mount.