Zotac is well-known for its tiny desktop PCs, with the smallest so far being the Zbox PI225. It’s smaller than an SSD, but performance is quite limited because of it. This week, however, Zotac is offering us a larger, yet still small fanless PC that manages to keep an 8th generation Core i7 cool.
Zotac decided to refresh its Zbox C Series Mini PCs with a brand new design that offers much improved cooling allowing for up to 25W processors. Compared to the previous C Series design, Zotac is claiming 66 percent more cooling power thanks to 90 percent of the casing being open using a honeycomb-inspired design.
What this means is, Zotac was able to place an 8th generation Core i7 processor in the C Series without fear of it overheating. The chip used is a quad-core, eight thread Core i7-8550U running at 1.8GHz with a Turbo Frequency of 4GHz complete with Intel UHD graphics 620 capable of outputting 4K. When compared to the previous generation of C Series, Zotac says you’ll enjoy 20 percent faster processing performance.
The new C-Series measures just 204-by-129-by-68mm, and because it is fanless has no moving parts and therefore will make no noise. That is, unless you add a standard hard drive for storage. Zotac is offering a range of configurations using the model numbers CI660, CI640, and CI620. Depending on which you choose, you’ll get an 8th gen Core i7 (8550U), i5 (8250U), or i3 (8130U) processor. PLUS models come pre-configured with RAM, but the non-PLUS allow you to add up to 32GB of DDR4 memory and a 2.5-inch SATA SSD or hard drive.
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As well as a 3-in-1 SD/SDHC/SDXC card reader, the new C Series offers eight channel audio, two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and a standard USB 3.0 port on the front, while round the back you’ll find four more USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, WiFi is 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, two 10/100/1000Mbps LAN ports, a microphone in, and an external antenna to ensure a healthy wireless signal. Zotac also includes a VESA mount so you can hide the tiny PC on the back of a display.
There’s no word on availability or pricing yet, but to give you some idea on price, the last gen Core i5 series had a list price of $ 550, but could be found for $ 400. The new Core i7 models will probably add a couple of hundred dollars to that price at least.