Zotac Zbox HD Blu-Ray All-in-One Mini-PC
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 04-15-2011
Provided by: Zotac

I found that the keyboard had to be plugged into the front USB2 port in order for the Delete key to work to allow me access to the BIOS. If you get one of the barebones Zbox you'll likely have to do some initial setup here, but this one was pretty much ready to go, just loaded the optimal settings, then save and exit.

There's some overclocking options available, which is surprising to see on a pre-configured system. I didn't mess around with trying to increase the performance, nor would I probably opt to. The unit does get a little warm anyway, which is certainly understandable given how compact and quiet the Zbox is.

Installation of Windows 7 Home Premium went smoothly, there were no problems during the OS installation. As mentioned earlier, the only issue I experienced was when the keyboard/mouse was plugged into one of the USB3 ports, they initially weren't recognized. I had to plug them into the front USB2 port until I could install the remaining hardware drivers. Although there are no utilities shown in the options menu on the included CD, browsing the disk revealed some BIOS flashing tools should that need ever arise.

Notably missing however is the bundled Cyberlink PowerDVD software, as indicated on the retail box. Although Windows 7 Home Premium includes codecs for playback of DVDs, there is no included Blu-Ray player. As our unit is a review sample, it's possible that this software was simply left out. I downloaded a free trial version of Cyberlink PowerDVD 10, which I had used previously with our Geeks LG Blu-Ray drive review. After some initial problems getting the software to work correctly, downloading updates for Windows, including SP1 and a newer driver version for the nVidia ION graphics fixed everything right up.

Whether I connected my 24" 1920x1200 monitor via the DVI port, or used the HDMI connection to my 40" 1080p television, the picture looks great, even just sitting at the windows desktop. It will also run dual-screen with no problem, if you want to use Windows extended desktop. However we're obviously going to want to try out the multimedia picture and sound capability, so I loaded up Avatar on Blu-Ray disc to test with.

Let's see how the Zbox handles some HD content.

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