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Zotac MAG ION Nettop

Darksaber

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Zotac is well known for their graphic cards, but the company goes one step further and applies their engineering skills we have come to love in form of their mini-ITX boards and poured them into their first NVIDIA ION Nettop. The Zotac MAG packs a dual core Atom 330 with an ION platform, 2 GB of memory and 160 GB of hard drive space along with a few other surprises. All for an extremely competitive price tag.

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Nice review - looks like a good little unit.

I noticed an error in the aritcle on page 4 the last table (pcmark 05) has a blank column at the end other than a 5.5ms latency entry.
 

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interesting solution, especially for the price. But the hd could be better, and there isn't a optical drive, that joined to the noun of the os, could cause some problems.
I prefer asus 3e 1501 solutions, also if it cost 100 euro more
 

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Nice unit. I don't think the 5400RPM hard drive will really be that much of a hinderence. Modern 5400RPM drives perform better than some older 7200RPM drives. I think the slower RPM drives get a bad wrap when it comes to speed, but the technology really has come a long way, to the point where a 5400RPM drive has some really good throughput and access times.

I have a few questions though:

Can you open the case up easily?
If you can open the case, can you easily upgrade the RAM and hard drive?
 

Darksaber

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@human_error: fixed thanks (funny your nick goes with my mistake ^^)
@newtekie1: No way to easily open up the unit. There are two screws on the base but these do not seem to loosen the two black parts. I tried prying them off, but the force required would certainly break them...

cheers
DS
 

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im guessing they put a 5400rpm drive in there as it has less heat than the 7200.
 

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yeah I Agree Rhino. What I Was thinking is, WD has their green drives (I am using a 1 tb one) and they move pretty fast with considerably less heat. I agree with newtekie1 that it probably isn't that much of a hinderance unless you are doing 3 things at once.
 

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Yes heat could be a reason for the 5400 RPM, but there are plenty of scenarios which only tax the HDD, which could become annoying when trying to do that + other things with the ITX platform.

cheers
DS
 

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@human_error: fixed thanks (funny your nick goes with my mistake ^^)
@newtekie1: No way to easily open up the unit. There are two screws on the base but these do not seem to loosen the two black parts. I tried prying them off, but the force required would certainly break them...

cheers
DS

if i open the case and change or upgrade some components could i invalidate warranty?
 

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so no way to easily replace the HDD then with something bigger and faster :ohwell: you think this can playback a 12 gig 1080p x264 rip smoothly?
 

Ghiltanas

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so no way to easily replace the HDD then with something bigger and faster :ohwell: you think this can playback a 12 gig 1080p x264 rip smoothly?

it also depends by file's encoding, and by the player used...under windows only few players use gpu's acceleration correctly
 

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it also depends by file's encoding, and by the player used...under windows only few players use gpu's acceleration correctly

well if it is an mkv file and im playing it with vlc?
 

Ghiltanas

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well if it is an mkv file and im playing it with vlc?

mmm probably vlc can't use purevideohd...you should use mediaplayer classic under windows
 

Ghiltanas

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Ghiltanas

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@human_error: fixed thanks (funny your nick goes with my mistake ^^)
@newtekie1: No way to easily open up the unit. There are two screws on the base but these do not seem to loosen the two black parts. I tried prying them off, but the force required would certainly break them...

cheers
DS

damn I was hoping to see inside the thing!

I do love that orange power ring-light though.
 

Ghiltanas

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so windows media player classic uses the gpu to playback x264 content?

yes, but mkv is a container, so i think it depends also by what mkv contains...Mpeg2 and WMV accelerations are not supported either by mpc, as you can read here:
http://mpc-hc.sourceforge.net/DXVASupport.html

However i can make some test next days if you want, i'll install mpc and i try to play some mkv with it
 

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so windows media player classic uses the gpu to playback x264 content?

as long as it was encoded in the right methods, yes.

that said, most files around the place are not. you have a choice between higher quality per file size, or hardware acceleration: and many groups are choosing higher qualituy.
MPC-HC can do it via its crappy internal decoder, or via windows 7's codecs (see link in my sig) however if the files arent encoded right, you arent going anywhere.

with nvidia cards (Such as ION) you'll have better luck using coreAVC - however its not free, and there are still some files it doesnt like (however, less problem files in my testing than with DXVA mode)

i beleive the tests done in this review are inconclusive for 1080p playback, as they only used a WMV file without specifying its codec content, or its playback mode (software or hardware). I also didnt see what player was used specified.

I personally ripped, with zero compression, a copy of the first matrix movie off a blu ray disk to my HDD for testing. a dual core 4000+ AM2 CPU was not able to play it back smoothly with FFDSHOW. it required coreAVC (in software mode) or windows 7's built in codecs (in DXVA mode) to play the files back smoothly.

back on the topic, the inbuilt 3G modem is a sweet idea.
 
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well, i can cope with the 5400rpm drive (faster seek time i presume, and more quiet then 7200rpm) but if i bought one i would need a 4gb of ram to this machine ;] i like not to swap memory. Anyway nice low power draw, i like the overall looks of the machine. Good Review. More "green" hardware reviews guys ;]
 
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This unit would be so much more attractive if:

1./ It was a sqaured box, so that you can stand it on something else, or put something on top of it, and

2./ even better if it was rackmountable, using "ears". See Netgear or TASCAM equipment for stuff that look non.rack but comes with ears to screm on so that you can rack it.
 

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This unit would be so much more attractive if:

1./ It was a sqaured box, so that you can stand it on something else, or put something on top of it, and

2./ even better if it was rackmountable, using "ears". See Netgear or TASCAM equipment for stuff that look non.rack but comes with ears to screm on so that you can rack it.

square wouldnt work for VESA mounting.

the entire idea is for it to go on the back of your monitor, or take up minimal space (bookshelf, etc)
 
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^ or a blade-like enclosure for shared redundant power, ease of module addition/replacement, built-in switch perhaps...

Of course, I probably blew well past it's marketable scope there...
 
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wahdangun

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wow, great review, but can you added some game benchmark like L4D, TF2, or COD4, if this thing can do 60 FPS constant (even @ medium/low setting) it will be interesting rig for some low power and poertable lan party RIG
 
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looks good, now if they will ship it with an os for £50 more they will have a winner.
 
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