It has been hard to combine both small form desktops and gaming PCs in one system. There have been new market entrants as well as existing manufacturers who have tried to get in the market, but they haven’t really been successful. The real reason why they couldn’t be so successful was that of limited space and limited power. Though Zotac with their all in one system has been largely successful, courtesy their Zotac Magnus Series.
Their very first release was the Zbox Magnus EN980 which was powered by an Intel Core i5-6400 and had a Nvidia GTX 980 as its GPU back there in 2016. Later on that year they also released the EN1080 with an updated Pascal GPU. Later on in 2017, they went on further to release a Kaby Lake version of their EN1080 known as the EN1080K. Though the systems were largely expensive, the features it offered could quite match the price tag, especially their liquid cooling system.
Now with full air-cooling systems in all their small form factor systems, they have released another new small form factor PC called the ZBOX MAGNUS EK71080 features a Kaby Lake processor and is powered by an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor. Not only this but the system also has a Nvidia GTX 1080 card as its graphical processing unit. Courtesy a fully air controlled cooling system, bring your mind to ease, and not worry about the small form PC getting overheated. The best thing is that the company also has plans to introduce this new cooling system for the ZBOX Magnus models as well.
Furthermore, there isn’t much difference between the EK71080 and the EN1080K, except that the former one has a Core i7-7700 HQ instead of a Core i7-7700. Though there are also a couple of notable differences here and there as well.
What is ZBOX MAGNUS EK70180
Basically, it is supposed to attract those who want a mini-PC yet capable enough of even VR gaming. Courtesy powerful specs such as processor and GPU, it adheres to such demand. The dimensions of the system are pretty much the same as that of its predecessor measuring 225 mm x 203 mm x 128 mm, which is quite compact. Though, a notable difference could come in the form of fan noise. Since there are multiple fans spread throughout its compact body, it might appear noise as compared to the other similar models from the same company which relies on Liquid Cooling.
Not only this but the compact Mini-PC features 4 USB 3.0 Type-A ports. Moreover, instead of using an MXM card, this one makes use of a discrete card for its display outputs. Not only this, but there isn’t an HDMI output at the front either. Disappointingly enough, the sub-computer doesn’t feature the RGB lightning either which is controlled by the Spectra Utility.
Though critiques might say differently, by using the Core i7-7700HQ, it would consume less power than the Core i7-7700 (45W vs 65W), though compromising a bit on performance. Arguably it was better to do so since now only a single PC power supply would be required instead of multiple. Because of lower TDP CPU, only a single 330W power supply is required which works at 19.5 Volts @ 16.9Amperes.
There is also a power cord as well as a Wireless LAN antenna along with the package to help you get strong wireless signals. To guide you on how to install flash drives or further memory on the mini-computer there is also a quick start guide present. Since the ZBOX MAGNUS EK70180 is Intel-optane ready, it is perfectly capable of supporting the Optane Drives as well. An optane drive can be attached to the underside of the board where there is a second M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4. Courtesy the Intel RST, if you want to cache the main M.2 SSD or storage medium attached to the 2.5″ space, you can use an Optane drive to cache them.
The system has 2 x DDR4-2400/2133 SODIMM Slots on which up to 32 GB of RAM could be added in total. For the Graphics part, the system plays big as it employs a ZOTAC GeForce® GTX 1080 Mini GDDR5X 256-bit with a whopping 8 GB of Video Ram. This is seriously a lot for Gaming purposes. For the display port, there is an HDMI port at the back, along with three other 1.4 Display Ports. Though, there is a cap on the maximum number of displays which is stated to be two.
As for the storage, there is a single slot of 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gbps HDD/SSD bay. For the mass storage, you can enjoy the Intel Optane memory slot as mentioned above. Sadly, there isn’t any space for an optical drive, nor for mSATA either. Though the compact PC, does feature a Card Reader for all three types of cards; May it be SD, SDHC or SDXC.
The I/O ports aren’t any less compared to an average desktop. There is the usual Microphone/Headphone combo. Along with this is a 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C port and also a 1 x USB 3.1 port. Not only this, but the system also features 4 x USB 3.0 for all your USB devices needs. As for the LAN it is Dual Gigabit LAN, along with a WiFi SMA connector as the Antenna. The Wi-Fi is supposed to work on all 802.11ac/b/g/n channels. Not only this, but the Bluetooth version is also quite advanced since there is Bluetooth 4.2 module in the mini-PC. Though sadly, there isn’t any Thunderbolt port, nor the VGA one.
When mechanical specs are concerned, there is indeed a Kensington lock available. Furthermore, there are LED indicators too for Power, Hard Disk Drive as well as Wi-Fi. The power supply is AC powered by a DC adapter as discussed above. For the cooling system, it uses a combo of fans and heatsink. Though, there isn’t case mounting. For Windows lovers, the good news is that this system officially supports Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 as well (both 32 bit and 64-bit versions).
If accessories are concerned, there is a Warranty card along with a Wi-Fi antenna and a power cord of course. Not only is there a User Manual but also a quick install guide to quickly help you set up things. There is also a USB drive with O/S driver as well as a driver disc in case you can’t find the drivers online.
Why buy it?
Since the device costs $400 less than its predecessor model minus a couple of features, it is worth going for. The mini compact PC is available for a price tag of $1500, so if you were looking for such a PC, then this is the one.