TechDigital HomeHands On Review of the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 Mini-PC

Hands On Review of the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 Mini-PC


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If you are after a mini-pc (also referred to as a nettop) for any purpose, including as a HTPC, then you should definitely take a look at the ZBOX HD-ID11 from ZOTAC with it’s NVIDIA ION graphics chip and HDMI out.


Who are ZOTAC?

Established in 2006, ZOTAC is the world’s largest and most innovative manufacturer of graphics cards, mini-ITX motherboards and mini-PCs. ZOTAC system components, and mini-PCs can be found in all continents around the globe.

Derived from the terms “zone,” for being distinct in the PC components and systems business, and “tact,” for our superior skill, experience, quality and manufacturing capabilities. Combined, “ZOTAC,” represents technological strength and experience blended with a fresh approach on the industry’s ever-changing needs.

Here is how ZOTAC describe the ZBOX HD-ID11:

The ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 mini-PC supercharges the eco friendly computing experience with premium graphics processing, complete high definition playback capabilities and a premium Windows® 7 experience with Aero® user interface.

Premium graphics processing power forms the heart of the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 mini-PC with a new Next-Generation NVIDIA® ION™ graphics processor with 16 unified shaders and 512MB of DDR3 graphics memory complete with NVIDIA® CUDA™ and NVIDIA® PureVideo™ HD technologies for a superior eco friendly computing experience that goes well beyond simple web browsing.

NVIDIA® CUDA™ technology harnesses the power of the NVIDIA® ION™ graphics processor in the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 to energize popular video processing and image editing applications for performance that dominates traditional CPUs. CUDA™ technology also enables support for DirectCompute and OpenCL powered applications on the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 for complete compatibility with general purpose GPU computing applications.

The ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 mini-PC offers robust high definition playback capabilities with GPU accelerated decoding of popular formats such as AVC, VC-1 and Blu-ray movie titles, dual-stream hardware acceleration for Blu-ray picture-in-picture extra features, dynamic contrast and color stretch for spectacular picture clarity, and other visual enhancing post-processing and features thanks to NVIDIA® PureVideo™ HD technology. GPU acceleration is just the beginning of the high definition playback capabilities of the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 mini-PC.

Streaming high definition Internet video on popular sites such as YouTube™, Vimeo™ and Hulu™ render smoothly and flawlessly in full screen with the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 and Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1. Video stuttering is a faint thought of the past with the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 with NVIDIA® ION™ graphics technology.

HDMI 1.3a connectivity ensures the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 can connect to the latest monitors and televisions with the best visual quality available and support the latest technologies such as xvYCC Color, Deep color and high-resolution 7.1-channel digital surround sound.  New xvYCC Color and Deep color technologies enable a wider range of colors and higher bit depths up to 48-bit color when connecting the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 to compatible displays for richer colors and greater details.

The ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 mini-PCs deliver a premium Windows® 7 experience with Aero® user interface with the NVIDIA® ION™ graphics processor. Windows® 7 features such as Aero® peek, Aero® shake and GPU accelerated media transcoding is fully supported by the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 for a fully featured premium eco friendly computing experience.

Behind the powerful NVIDIA® ION™ graphics in the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 and is an energy-efficient Intel® Atom™ processor with Intel® HyperThreading technology. A dual-core Intel® Atom D510 powers the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 for a powerful combination that delivers unrivaled performance and energy-efficiency.

Customizing the internals of the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 mini-PC is quick and easy for end users with a new tool-less case design. Users can simply remove two thumb screws to access the internals of the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 mini-PC and master the mini-PC with ease.

Internal expansion inside the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 include space for a single 2.5-inch hard drive and one 200-pin DDR2 SODIMM slot. Greater expansion is achievable externally via six USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA 3.0 Gb/s port and a 6-in-1 memory card reader capable of reading SD, SDHC, MMC, MS, MS Pro and xD memory cards for limitless expansion capabilities.

So let’s see just how well it lives up to those claims.


CPU : Intel® Atom™ D510 (1.66 GHz, dual-core)

GPU : Next-Generation NVIDIA® ION

Video Memory : Dedicated 512MB DDR3

Display Options : HDMI (w/audio) and Dual-link DVI

Memory  : 1 x 200-pin DDR2 SODIMM slots

Hard Disk : 1 x 2.5-inch

Memory Card Reader : 6-in-1 (SD/SDHC/MMC/MS/MS Pro/xD)

SATA : eSATA 3.0Gbp/s

Ethernet : 10/100/1000Mbps

WiFi : 802.11n integrated

USB 2.0 : 6 (4 on back panel, 1 on front panel, 1 on top panel)

Audio :

Onboard analog stereo high-definition audio

7.1-Channel LPCM digital audio (HDMI)

Optical Digital S/PDIF audio output

DirectX® Support : DirectX® 10.1 with Shader Model 4.1

Other Features :

OpenCL compliant, OpenGL® 3.2 compatible, NVIDIA® PhysX® ready, NVIDIA® CUDA™ ready, NVIDIA® PureVideo™ HD technology


Software Features : nView® Multi-Display

Windows® 7 Capability : Windows® 7 with Aero® user interface and DirectCompute compatible

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.


  1. Hi Andrew,

    I use one with a 50GB SSD and 4GB 1333 Ram
    and dual 22″ 1050 monitors.

    works great, i mounted the little guy on the back of one of the monitors so all you see drop down from behind is 3 power plugs

    ps it was cool to meet up with Tim at CES. sorry i missed you, lets do lunch next year 🙂

      • I use this box… I have 3 running with 1 GB 800MHZ DDR/ 8 GB SD card DRive switched the WIFI card to an intel 6300 for Dual Band… XBMC live 10.1 install to wrap it all up. WHS/SQL Source all synced to whs and feed from. beats my old WMC/My Movies impliment by far.

        Wish it had internal Remote… but I work around it.

        Very Lightwieght/ cool/ quiet/ not too pricey..

  2. I’ve got one of these boxes, while I’d agree that for the most part they’re very good, the built in wireless card is awful and would continually freeze and drop the signal even when it was sitting next to the router (Googling seems to indicate I’m not the only one with this problem), while I never intended to use the wireless with this, it would have been nice while I was setting it up.

    Also the ION2/Atom combination isn’t capable of handling 1080i, so while you can play Blu-Rays just great with it, you can forget about watching BBC HD or ITV HD with it, which is why my box is now sitting in the kids bedroom.

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