Zotac Launches New Ivy Bridge-Powered ZBOX Nano SFF PCs

Subject: General Tech, Systems | July 12, 2013 - 02:26 AM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox, SFF, Nano, Ivy Bridge, Intel, hd 4000

Zotac has announced three new ZBOX Nano SKUs that utilize Intel’s 3rd Generation “Ivy Bridge” processors and HD 4000 processor graphics. The new SKUs include base and PLUS models of ID63, ID 64, and ID65 mini PCs.

Zotac ZBOX Nano with USB 3.jpg

The tiny PCs continue to use the ZBOX Nano form factor of approximately 5 x 5 x 1.8 inches. The front of the small form factor (SFF) PC holds two USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader, two audio jacks, LEDs, and a power button. The rear of the ZBOX Nano PCs features an external antenna for Wi-Fi along with the following IO.

  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet

The PC comes with a VESA 75/100 mount for wall mounting or attaching to the back of a monitor.

Internal specifications include an Intel Core i3 3227U (dual core at 1.9GHz), Core i5 3337U (dual core at 1.9GHz base, 2.7GHz turbo), or Core i7 3537U (dual core at 2.0GHz base, 3.1GHz turbo) processor depending on the specific SKU. The base barebones ZBOX Nano PCs support a single DDR3 SO-DIMM (up to 8GB 1600MHz) and a single 2.5” hard drive.

Zotac ZBOX Nano with nanoRAID RAID adapter.jpg

Zotac’s ZBOX Nano Plus units bundle in 4GB of DDR3 and a 500GB hard drive. Zotac also includes a “nanoRAID” adapter that will allow users to switch out a traditional 2.5” storage drive for two mSATA drives. The adapter supports RAID 0 and RAID 1 options as well.

Pricing and availability for the new ZBOX Nano SKUs has not been announced yet, but the mini PCs should be up for sale soon.

The decision to release new models with Ivy Bridge processors instead of Intel's latest Haswell CPUs is a bit strange, but the SFF PCs have likely been in the making and testing phase for a while. I expect Haswell-powered versions to be released at some point in the future but for now the Ivy Bridge models will offer up more performance than previous ZBOX Nano units.

Source: Zotac

New Intel HD Graphics Driver Improves Game Performance

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2013 - 03:13 PM |
Tagged: Ivy Bridge, intel hd, Intel, hd 4000, hd 2500

Intel recently released an updated graphics driver for Ivy Bridge processors sporting either HD 4000 or HD 2500 GPUs. The new 15.31.3.3071 (or 15.31.3.64.3071 for those running a 64-bit OS) driver features several under-the-hood optimizations to reduce CPU overhead and improve the driver architecture itself.

Intel Logo.jpg

The driver architecture improvements have also led to improved game performance. Intel claims up to 10% better performance in StarCraft II, Batman: Arkham City, and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (among others).

The chip giant also notes that the new driver supports OpenCL 1.2 for GPGPU calculations. The graphics driver update is only for Ivy Bridge hardware, and is compatible with Ivy Bridge hardware and both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8. If you are running Intel's Driver Update Utility, you should get the new driver automatically.

Otherwise, you can grab the new driver from the following link, depending on your OS.

Unfortunately, these drivers are generic Intel HD graphics drivers. If your OEM computer is running Windows with an OEM-customized version of Intel's drivers, you are out of luck. You will need to wait for your OEM to update its driver package in order to take advantage of the performance improvements.

Source: Intel