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ZOTAC ZBOX CI540 nano Production Flaw Unearthed?

French tech publication 01net noticed something odd about the ZBOX CI540 from ZOTAC it was reviewing. Even for a fan-less compact desktop, its Core i5-4210Y dual-core chip was idling around 80°C. The reviewer then opened it up to find that ZOTAC left the protective plastic film on the thermal pad which conducts heat from the CPU to the body intact. Temperatures dropped with that film peeled. The kicker? Reaching for that thermal pad voids your product warranty.

Even if the ZBOX CI540 is a barebones unit, in which you drop in your own 2.5-inch HDD/SSD and SO-DIMM memory, requiring you to unscrew its body; the storage and memory compartments are located on the reverse side of the motherboard. You're not supposed to unscrew the motherboard to reveal its obverse (front) side, as there's nothing for you to "upgrade" there. The CPU is in the BGA (ball-grid array) package, and hardwired to the motherboard. The screws that let you reveal the front side are capped with warranty seals. We're not sure if it's a one-off bad piece 01net got, or an entire batch hit by one lazy hand on the production line.
Sources: FanlessTech, 01net

Update Jun 24: We received following statement from ZOTAC:
ZOTAC has found the plastic film to be isolated to preproduction units. These preproduction units were only used for press sampling and are not representative of final units shipping to retail. However, the plastic film has very little impact on the cooling capabilities of our passive ZBOX C-series nano chassis since the cooling fins that are responsible for the majority of the heat dissipation duties is below the thermal pad. The thermal pad is only used to transfer heat to the secondary heat dissipation plate integrated into the chassis for added cooling capabilities.

Nevertheless, the temperatures observed while testing under load with the erroneous plastic film still in place is still within the thermal guidelines of Intel’s 100°C maximum T Junction and does not cause instability. Temperatures observed by users can vary greatly depending on room temperature and system placement since the ZBOX CI540 nano is passive cooled. We apologize for the error but assure our mass production units are not affected.

ZOTAC Starts Computex 2014 with Quartet of Silent ZBOX Mini PCs

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today starts Computex 2014 by silencing small form factor computing with a quartet of new ZBOX C-series nano mini-PCs. The new ZOTAC C-series nano mini-PCs combine a new fan-less chassis with a choice of AMD A6 APU, 4th Generation Intel Core i3, i5, or Celeron processors for an outstanding computing experience with zero noise.

"Many users demand a completely silent PC for audio production, video and audio editing, content playback and other tasks. After many years of engineering to fine tune power and heat requirements, ZOTAC is able to deliver passive cooled mini-PCs with 4th Generation Intel Core i3 and i5 processors that satisfies the noise and performance demands of users," says Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International.

ZOTAC Announces the ZBOX EN760 Mini PC

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today ushers in a new era of small form factor gaming PCs with the ZBOX EN760 series, the ultimate mini-PC for demanding PC gamers. The new ZOTAC ZBOX EN760 series combines the phenomenal visuals of a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M graphics processor with the outstanding processing power of a 4th Generation Intel Core i5 processor to create a mini-PC capable of stunning 1080p gaming.

"It's the perfect time for a high-end gaming mini-PC," says Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International. "With a combination of the highly energy-efficient NVIDIA Maxwell GPU architecture and Intel Haswell CPU architecture, we created the ZOTAC ZBOX EN760 series mini-PC to deliver a smooth and phenomenal 1080p gaming experience."

ZOTAC Unveils New ZBOX Sphere OI520 Series

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today unveils the first ZBOX Sphere to let users express their individuality through computing. The new ZOTAC ZBOX Sphere OI520 series combines a unique orb form factor with a powerful 4th Generation Intel Core i5 processor for computing with a touch of individuality.

"ZOTAC is expanding the ZBOX lineup to go beyond the traditional square form factor and the ZBOX Sphere is our first design concept that we're putting into production," said Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International. "The new ZBOX Sphere form factor is also one of our easiest to customize too, the top twists off for tool-less upgrades."

ZOTAC Announces New ZBOX E-Series and ZBOX nano Mini PCs

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today starts CeBIT 2014 with a pair of new ZBOX E-series gaming mini-PCs and the palm-size ZBOX nano AQ02 series. The new ZOTAC ZBOX E-series gaming mini-PCs incorporate Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics to deliver an excellent gaming experience in a small form factor while the ZBOX nano AQ02 series takes advantage of an AMD A8 series APU for a perfect combination of performance and energy-efficiency.

"We've always wanted to create a ZBOX that delivers a good gaming experience but couldn't strike the right balance between size, performance, heat dissipation and energy consumption. Intel's latest Haswell architecture with quad-cores and Iris Pro 5200 graphics hits that sweet spot we need to fit in a ZBOX chassis," said Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International. "The new ZBOX E-series will deliver a smooth medium quality gaming experience and be perfect for LAN party-goers and gamers that want a compact gaming system."

ZOTAC Introduces the ZBOX ID45 Mini PC

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today combines the power of 3rd Generation Intel Core i3 processing with NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 graphics to create the ultimate 4K ready HTPC. The new ZBOX ID45 series delivers the perfect synergy of energy-efficiency and high-quality video processing in a compact form factor.

"ZOTAC has always married the capabilities of energy-efficient Intel processors with incredible NVIDIA GeForce graphics since the first ZBOX shipped with NVIDIA ION," said Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International. "The latest ZBOX ID45 series pushes that synergy even further with greater performance while maintaining excellent energy-efficiency."

ZOTAC TurboBoosts 4th Generation Intel Core ZBOX nano Series

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today turbo boosts the 4th Generation Intel Core ZBOX nano series with the new ZBOX ID68 and ID69 series mini-PCs. The new ZBOX nano duo integrate Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors with Intel Turbo Boost technology to take the palm-sized form factor to new performance heights.

"The new ZBOX nano ID68 and ID69 series are our most powerful palm-sized mini-PCs yet. The addition of Intel Turbo Boost technology enables the two ZBOX nano ID68 and ID69 series to deliver performance comparable to much larger systems while consuming much less energy," said Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC international.

Zotac Brings Orb-Shaped ZBOX Compact PC to CES 2014

At first glance maybe some would think that a Google Nexus Q found its way onto a table in Zotac's CES booth. But no, that black orb seen in the shots below is a new ZBOX mini PC.

Dubbed ZBOX 01520, the spherical-ish compact system is powered by a 1.7 GHz Core i3-4010U dual-core processor, and can be equipped with up to 16 GB of memory (SO-DIMM) and one 2.5-inch storage solution (the Plus version comes with 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB HDD), as well as with one mSATA solid state drive. Zotac's orb also features 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit LAN, a 4-in-1 card reader, four USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, and an HDMI output. No word on pricing yet.

ZOTAC Releases New ZBOX nano ID67 Series

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards, mini-PCs and accessories, today releases the new ZBOX nano ID67 series with 4th Generation Intel Core technology. The new ZOTAC ZBOX nano ID67 series incorporates the latest Intel Core i3 4010U processor for great day-to-day performance and excellent energy efficiency.

"Our engineers continue to boost performance of our ZBOX mini-PCs. The latest ZBOX nano ID67 series raises the bar for CPU and GPU performance for that class and form factor," said Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International. "It's amazing what kind of performance we're able to extract out of such a tiny form factor."

ZOTAC Previews ZBOX Steam Machine at CES

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today previews the upcoming ZBOX Steam Machine mini-PC with Steam OS at The Consumer Electronics Show 2014 in Las Vegas, Nev. The ZOTAC ZBOX Steam Machine is engineered from the ground up for breathtaking gaming performance in a compact mini-PC form factor that's a fraction the size of traditional mini-ITX based gaming systems.

"ZOTAC is pleased to work with Valve Software to create the ZBOX Steam Machine. Valve's SteamOS is a game-changer to the PC gaming market that enables us to deliver a game console experience that's superior to the latest next-generation console," said Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International. "Gamers can expect the latest Intel Core processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics processor in the upcoming ZOTAC ZBOX Steam Machine for stunning visuals and world-class features."

ZOTAC Elevates ZBOX nano With Quad-Core Processing Power

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today elevates the ZBOX nano form factor with quad-core processing power. The new ZOTAC ZBOX nano AQ01 series harnesses the latest AMD A4-5000 Kabini APU to deliver outstanding CPU and GPU processing while maintaining excellent energy-efficiency.

"Our ZBOX nano form factor is well-regarded for its compact size and energy-efficiency. With the latest AMD A4-5000 APU, we're able to boost performance all around while reducing maximum energy consumption compared to our previous generation with the ZOTAC ZBOX nano AQ01 series," said Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International.

ZOTAC Upgrades ZBOX Mini PCs with 4th Generation Intel Core Technology

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today upgrades the ZBOX mini-PC lineup with 4th Generation Intel Core technology. The trio of new ZBOXes deliver improved CPU performance paired with supercharged integrated graphics for an excellent experience for everyday computing tasks.

"The latest 4th Generation Intel Core powered ZBOX delivers the power of Intel's Haswell architecture into our compact ZBOX mini-PC platform. With the latest generation architecture, we're able to fine tune these ZBOXes for greater CPU and GPU performance while maintaining the excellent energy efficiency our mini-PCs are renowned for," says Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International.

ZOTAC Enhances Extended Warranty Program

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards, mini-PCs and accessories, today announces enhancements to the Extended Warranty Program in Europe to better benefit end users. The Extended Warranty Program enhancements now include ZBOX mini-PCs and an increased registration deadline of 28-days instead of the former 14-days for all ZOTAC graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs in select regions.

"ZOTAC stands by the quality of its hardware. By including the ZBOX mini-PCs to the Extended Warranty Program, we are providing excellent warranty coverage for an additional 3-years for up to 5-years of total coverage," says Carsten Berger, marketing director, ZOTAC International. "Increasing the registration deadline to 28-days enables our customers and end users to relax and have plenty of time to register their ZOTAC graphics card, mainboards or mini-PC for the Extended Warranty Program as well."

ZOTAC Infuses ZBOX nano with Intel Core Processors

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards, mini-PCs and accessories, today infuses the small ZBOX nano with 3rd Generation Intel Core processors for desktop-class performance. The new ZOTAC ZBOX nano with Intel Core processors injects the palm-sized nano form factor with an extra dose of CPU and GPU performance that delivers an excellent mini-PC computing experience.

"Our engineers have done a phenomenal job combining the raw CPU power of Intel Core processors and Intel HD Graphics 4000 into our tiny ZBOX nano platform. The performance and customizability available in these palm-sized ZBOX nano is unmatched by any of our competitors," says Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International.

ZOTAC Supercharges ZBOX with Intel Core i5 Desktop Processor

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and leading manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today supercharges the ZBOX mini-PC with desktop Intel Core i5 and i3 processors for outstanding performance that can match and outpace larger full-size desktop PCs. The new 3rd Generation ZOTAC ZBOX with Intel Core Processors ushers in a new era of performance to the mini-PC form factor.

"Users demanded the same performance as larger desktop PCs from our ZBOX but the small size made it virtually impossible to deliver the same performance as desktop PCs. After many months of engineering and fine tuning, we came up with a solution that enables us to install desktop LGA1155 socket Intel Core i5 and i3 processors without sacrificing size, noise or power consumption that will make our end users very happy," says Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International.

ZOTAC Refreshes ZBOX nano XS with AMD Radeon HD 7340 Graphics

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and leading manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today refreshes the extra small ZBOX nano XS series. The refreshed ZOTAC ZBOX nano XS with AMD Radeon HD 7340 graphics maintains the pocket-sized form factor while delivering an extra injection of performance.

"ZOTAC is pleased to deliver AMD's latest Brazos 2.0 platform in our tiny ZBOX nano XS chassis. The latest update brings greater performance while reducing power consumption from the previous generation," said Carsten Berger, marketing director, ZOTAC International.

ZOTAC Starts CES 2013 With New 3rd Generation ZBOX mini-PC

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and leading manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs today starts the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 with a new 3rd Generation ZOTAC ZBOX and a refreshed mobile-on-desktop 2nd Generation ZBOX mini-PCs. The new ZOTAC ZBOX mini-PCs both receive Intel Core processors for outstanding performance.

3rd Generation ZOTAC ZBOX Chassis

The 3rd Generation ZOTAC ZBOX is the most substantial evolution of the ZBOX since its introduction three years ago and receives a slight 7-mm increase in thickness to accommodate higher-performance components. Network connectivity receives an upgrade with the 3rd Generation ZOTAC ZBOX chassis for dual Gigabit Ethernet ports with teaming capabilities and dual external Wi-Fi antenna's for superior wireless networking and Bluetooth reception.

ZOTAC Injects ZBOX with a Performance Boost

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today injects the ZBOX with a performance boost to give the flexible mini-PC greater graphics processing capabilities thanks to the latest AMD Radeon HD 7340 graphics processor. The latest performance-boosted ZBOX updates the form factor with greater graphics and processing capabilities without sacrificing energy-efficiency or the flexible form factor.

"The new ZBOX gives users up to a 10-percent performance boost for even greater system responsiveness and usability in applications and games," says Carsten Berger, marketing director, ZOTAC International. "We also add four high-amperage USB ports to quickly charge power hungry devices such as tablets and smartphones to simplify charging multiple devices."

ZOTAC Refreshes ZBOX Nano with AMD Radeon HD 7340 Graphics

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and channel manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today refreshes the ZBOX nano with AMD Radeon HD 7340 graphics processing capabilities. The latest ZOTAC ZBOX nano with AMD Radeon HD 7340 graphics boosts graphics and CPU processing capabilities while maintaining energy efficiency to create a palm-sized home theater PC capable of high-definition video playback and lightning-fast system responsiveness.

“Our ZOTAC ZBOX nano series is a user favorite as it enables full-fledged PCs in all rooms and locations. The palm-sized form factor is extremely flexible and with the new AMD E2-1800 APU, we are able to deliver more performance and additional connectivity in the ZOTAC ZBOX nano with AMD Radeon HD 7340 graphics while maintaining the same footprint,” said Carsten Berger, marketing director, ZOTAC International.

ZOTAC Delivers New ZBOX with NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M Graphics Processing

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and channel manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today delivers a new ZBOX with NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M graphics processing. The new ZOTAC ZBOX with NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M graphics incorporates class-leading features and stunning visuals to form a perfect home theater PC.

“We’re pleased to inject the power of NVIDIA GeForce graphics to our award-winning ZOTAC ZBOX for users that demand energy-efficiency with a graphics kick,” said Carsten Berger, marketing director, ZOTAC International. “The new ZOTAC ZBOX with NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M graphics delivers phenomenal high-definition video playback capabilities to make it the perfect home theater PC as well.”

ZOTAC Redefines mini-PC Form Factor with Extra Small ZBOX nano XS

ZOTAC International, a global innovator of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today redefines the mini-PC form factor with the extra small ZBOX nano XS AD11 Plus mini-PC. The ZOTAC ZBOX nano XS AD11 Plus is the world’s smallest PC capable of delivering a rich high-definition desktop computing experience.

An AMD E-450 APU with Radeon HD 6320 graphics processing sits at the heart of the ZOTAC ZBOX nano XS AD11 Plus to render beautiful Microsoft DirectX 11 graphics and playback stunning online and offline high-definition content. The completely new ZOTAC ZBOX nano XS chassis shrinks the ZBOX nano chassis by nearly 17-percent into a 106-milimeter box that is only 37-milimeters tall that can easily slip into a jacket pocket.

ZOTAC Starts CeBIT 2012 With Three New ZBOX mini-PCs

ZOTAC International, a global innovator of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today starts CeBIT 2012 with three new mini-PCs in standard, nano and Blu-ray form factors. The new ZBOX ID82, ZBOX nano ID61 and ZBOX Blu-ray AD05 series mini-PCs are perfect matches for users seeking a powerful tower PC replacement, home theater PC or energy-efficient PC.

A high-performance Intel Core i3-2330M processor with Hyper-Threading technology takes the spotlight in the ZOTAC ZBOX ID82 series to bring mini-PC performance to a whole new level with dual-cores for performance that can dominate much larger-sized tower PCs. Intel HD Graphics 3000 with Intel Quick Sync Video, InTru 3D and Clear Video HD technologies bring lightning-fast GPU-accelerated video conversion, stereoscopic 3D video output and hardware-accelerated Blu-ray 3D playback to the compact ZBOX ID82 series mini-PC.

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