THERE’S NO SECRET that Zotac has become something of a favourite among the HTPC crowd, but the new range of tiny PCs that the company was showing off at CES should have an even broader appeal. What’s interesting here is that unlike everyone else, Zotac has decided that not all of us want Atom based tiny computers and as such is readying AMD and Intel CULV models.
The new models are based on the same chassis that Zotac uses for its current Atom based MAG mini PCs, although with the exception of the Pineview model the rest of the internals are much more powerful. Yes, Zotac is also working on a Pineview model using the Atom N450 which will come with a little surprise courtesy of Nvidia. By now you’ve probably already guessed that we’re talking about ION 2, or GT218. PC World France actually has it down as a GeForce G210M, but Nvidia might very well update its branding so it ends up being something entirely different before it launches – 3-series anyone?.
The CULV model is using Intel’s GS45 chipset and as such you’re stuck with Intel’s integrated graphics as well. It’s said to come with a Pentium SU4100 processor which is a decent choice by Zotac in terms of price versus performance. However, the most interesting model out of the three newcomers is the AMD Congo based machine. It should come with the dual core Athlon Neo X2 L325 processor and the 780G chipset.
The AMD chipset should offer better graphics performance than either of the Intel models. The low power CPU might not offer quite as good performance as the Intel CULV processor, but it should be quite competitive with Intel’s Atom solutions. AMD also has the upper hand here compared to Intel’s Pineview based Atom processors by having no artificial restrictions in place. Zotac could also go with a faster CPU if there’s enough demand for it, such as the L510 which fits in the same thermal envelope.
The AMD and CULV models both have two SO-DIMM slots, while the Atom N450 model is stuck with a single SO-DIMM slot. All three models feature an internal 2.5-inch hard drive and a wide range of ports including the all-important HDMI connector as well as eSATA. According to TechReport, we’re looking at a starting price of about $300, although it doesn’t state which model(s) this price applies to. Zotac is said to be launching the new models at CeBIT on March.S|A
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