Zotac ZBOX gaming-oriented mini PCs adopt the new Nvidia graphics cards! One of them, the brand new Magnus EN1060, made a small catch by the Lab in its version barebone, that is to say devoid of certain components such as RAM for example. This version is the most affordable in the family since it is offered at 1066.95 euros (let’s be precise) on most specialized sites. Let’s see if this little box has everything we need to replace our huge desktop PC. Or even come and stay under the TV, discreetly.
Don’t be fooled by the size of the ZBOX. This large family of small Zotac PCs is made up of machines which all hold up very well and which have distinguished themselves multiple times in our past reviews. Heavy is therefore the task of the Magnus EN1060 which will have to convince us that it deserves its place within this siblings and, by extension, represent with dignity the elite of mini PCs, dedicated to gaming.
To fulfill its mission, this small black and compact box (21 x 6.2 x 20.3 cm) goes straight to the point by offering a solid basic configuration. Understand that it natively embeds the two most important components of a gaming machine. Starting with a good processor for desktop PC, a Core i5-6400T, and not a model for laptop as is often the case. in the world of mini PCs. Another essential element for a gaming machine, the graphics card. It is also preinstalled and it is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB GDDR5).
But where are the memory and the hard drive? It’s up to the user to add them! So it is he who determines the amount of DDR4 (up to 64 GB supported) and the type of storage (M.2 SATA SSD and / or SSD / hard drive in 2.5 inch format) that he needs. Without forgetting the operating system to make the Magnus EN1060 an accomplished gaming machine.
Magnus EN1060: immediately assembled, immediately ready
To prevent the most novices from having cold sweats at the idea of opening such a small machine and committing an odd, Zotac has everything planned. The manufacturer indicates precisely on its website which memory modules to favor (1866 or 2133 MHz) and the storage solutions supported.
Then, once the ZBOX has been unpacked and the operating instructions have been drawn, disassembly is carried out in two strokes of a pot spoon. Really. We remove a few hand screws, we remove the lower part of the case and the slots to add the modules (in SO-DIMM format, that for laptops) and the storage units are there. In a few seconds, paying attention to the polarizers, the memory is connected (8 GB Corsair Vengeance in our case) to the motherboard and the SSD (Crucial 500 GB) screwed. We reposition the cover and the screws: voila.
It only remains to connect a couple of keyboard / mouse on two of the four USB sockets located at the back of the case (2 x USB 2 and 2 x USB 3 + 1 USB 3 on the front) and to connect a screen in HDMI or DisplayPort (2 outputs of each). For networking, you can opt for wired (two Gigabit Ethernet ports) or Wi-Fi (n / ac). The gaming headset finds its place perfectly on the audio sockets available on the front panel, the occasion to note that this is where Zotac has installed an SD reader and a USB Type-C socket. Connection question, no doubt, nothing is missing from the call.
Finally, we start the installation of Windows 10 from a USB key, we install all the possible drivers and an hour and a half later, the Magnus EN1060 is ready for service! You have the video game on a monitor or better, on the big TV in the living room.
2600 cm3 dedicated gaming power
To carry out all of our review protocol, we have assembled our “own” version of Magnus EN1060. The results obtained and detailed are therefore to be put into perspective. However, we consider that our assembly embodies “the bare minimum” to play properly at the moment, while not exceeding the bar of 1500 euros (1470 euros Windows 10 included).
Without too many surprises, this little monster gets out of all situations, whether he is asked to encode videos on the fly or to run games in Full HD, even with a little heavy hand on the levels of details and graphic effects. The GeForce GTX 1060 being, as a reminder, as powerful as a GeForce GTX 980 (the old high-end card from Nvidia), it is not surprising that it makes a mouthful of all the titles that we ran on the machine.
At the most intense of effort, the processor and the graphics card can count on the double ventilation system of Zotac design (which resembles that of fire the EN970). The latter is efficient but must sometimes give voice (36.4 dB) proof that it provides some effort to properly evacuate all the calories generated. The other components are passively cooled, thanks to the air captured by all the openings scattered on the housing. And although the Magnus is quite calibrated to find a place in the office or near the TV, we recommend not to enclose it in a piece of furniture (although that is tempting) to avoid making it heat unnecessarily.
Finally, according to our reference wattmeter, our assembly consumed less than 145 watts at full load which did not at all frighten the large power supply unit supplied, almost as wide as the machine. To put this result in perspective, this is equivalent (to a few watts) to the energy needs of a gaming laptop PC similarly equipped, with a 15.6 inch screen.
Compared to other mini PCs – admittedly less powerful, we agree – the Magnus EN1060 is therefore very energy-consuming. Hence its zero pointed to ” Power consumption “.
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