Tiny home theater PC offers IR receiver, remote  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

Zotac announced its smallest ZBox mini-PC yet, featuring a 1.6GHz AMD "Brazos" E-350 processor and integrated home theater PC (HTPC) functionality, including dual IR receivers. The 5.0 x 5.0 x 1.7-inch Zbox Nano AD10 offers a gigabit Ethernet port and four USB ports including two 3.0 ports, and a "Plus" version comes with 2GB of DDR3 memory and 320GB of storage.

Zotac announced the Zbox Nano AD10 on Aug. 31, and the mini-PC has already received several reviews. A Sept. 2 review by Tbreak Technology called the AD10 "one of the most appealing HTPC or set-top boxes on the market," and India-based MoneyControl published a Sept. 6 review that concluded the device is a good fit for home theater applications.

Tiny home theater PC offers IR receiver, remote


Zbox Nano AD10

Like the Zbox AD03 announced in January, the Zbox Nano AD10 is equipped with AMD's 1.6GHz E-350 processor with integrated AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics, says the company. The processor offers video decode acceleration for HD video formats including Blu-ray and Adobe Flash, says Zotac.

Zotac does not play favorites when it comes to processor choices. A Zbox released in June offered Via Technologies' dual-core Nano X2 processor, and back in 2009, the company launched a Zbox model called the ZD HD-ID11 , one of the first devices to combine Intel's Atom D510 processor with Nvidia's Ion 2 graphics.

Tiny home theater PC offers IR receiver, remote


Zbox Nano AD10 (front view)

The latest Zbox is the smallest yet, measuring 5.0 x 5.0 x 1.7 inches (127 x 127 x 45mm) compared to the AD03's 11.02 x 7.36 x 1.5-inch dimensions. The computer is available in a barebones version bereft of both memory and storage, as well as an AD10 Plus model that adds a 320GB hard disk drive (HDD) and 2GB of DDR3 RAM. Otherwise, the models appear to be identical.

The Nano AD10 is the first Zbox with an integrated infrared (IR) receiver, and the company throws in a USB-based IR receiver and remote control as well. This "dual IR receiver solution enables use of the remote control with all placements, including hidden and wall-mounted installations," says Zotac. A new VESA 75/100 mount for monitor or wall mounting installations is said to be bundled with the computer, enabling attachments in four different orientations.

Neither version is equipped with an operating system, but drivers are provided, and any x86 ready platform should do the trick. To use the IR receiver, one needs either Windows 7 with Windows Media Center, Windows 7 Starter with XBMC , or Ubuntu Linux variants with XBMC Live, Mythbuntu, or Boxee media software, according to Tbreak Technology.

Tiny home theater PC offers IR receiver, remote


Zbox Nano AD10, rear view

The Nano AD10 is equipped with a 6-in-1 memory card reader as well as a rear-facing eSATA port, in addition to the internal SATA connector, says Zotac. More storage and other peripherals are supported via two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports, according to the company.

The computer features a gigabit Ethernet port, as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi, complete with antenna. Bluetooth 3.0 is also part of the package, says the company.

The AD10 includes both a DisplayPort and an HDMI port, which also outputs the Dolby TrueHD audio. A 3.5mm headphone jack and a mic jack are also said to be available. As with earlier Zbox models, one can get to all the internals via two thumb screws, says the company (see image below).

Tiny home theater PC offers IR receiver, remote


Zbox Nano AD10 Plus, internal view
Source: Tbreak Technology

Features and specifications listed for the Zbox Nano AD10 and AD10 Plus include: Processor -- AMD E-350 (dual-core 1.6GHz) with AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics Chipset -- AMD A50M Memory -- DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM slot; AD10 Plus model bundles 2GB of DDR3 Storage: 6-in-1 memory card reader (SD/SDHC/MS/MS Pro/xD/MMC) 2.5-inch internal SATA slot, supporting 6.0 Gb/s HDD/SSD; AD10 Plus adds 320GB 5400RPM HDD external eSATA Networking -- gigabit Ethernet Wireless: 802.11b/g/n with antenna Bluetooth 3.0 onboard IR receiver with remote USB IR receiver Other I/O: 2 x USB 3.0 2 x USB 2.0 HDMI DisplayPort 3.5 mm audio jack mic connector Audio -- Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD 7.1-Channel LPCM (HDMI)/optical digital S/PDIF; Master Audio bitstream ready Other features -- fan; VESA mounting Dimensions -- 5.0 x 5.0 x 1.7 inches (127 x 127 x 45mm) Stated Carsten Berger, marketing director, Zotac International, "Despite the miniature size, the ZBOX nano AD10 series has nearly all the same features as our award-winning ZBOX and ZBOX Blu-ray series, and even introduces a couple of new features."

Availability

No pricing or availability information was provided on the Zbox Nano AD10, but it appears to be close to shipping. According to an Engadget story , the Plus version with the 2GB of RAM and 320GB HDD is available for $276. More information may be found at the Zotac Zbox Nano AD10 web page .

This entry was posted on 3:29 PM .