I’m always interested in small form factor PC. yeah, Mac mini is pretty good too, but $500+ is just a bit too steep. When it comes to Dell, Studio Hybrid was introduced late last year, but by the fact that its price is not that different to Mac mini, people might reluctant grabbing one. Now, Dell offers a new line of tiny desktop again. It’s Inspiron Zino HD which has starting price as low as $230. Whoa, what an aggressive move from Dell, I think.
For specification, nowadays anything cheap, I bet Intel Atom is involved. Surprisingly, yes and no. Yes, for Zino [non-HD], it’s powered by Atom which I don’t care much since it isn’t available in the US as of now. However, Dell chooses to do different route for Zino HD. AMD rules this time. If you keep track of CPU market, Athlon Neo probably comes to your mind and it’s the one although there are options for Athlon X2 as well. Let’s see what we will get for Zino HD:-
CPU: AMD Athlon™ 2650e (512K L2, 1.6GHz), 2850e (512K, L2, 1.8GHz), X2 3250e (1MB L2, 1.5Ghz), or Neo X2 6850e (1MB L2, 1.8GHz)
Memory: 2-8GB (PC2-6400 or DDR2-800 SODIMM eventually DIMM?? I don’t know if it’s really DIMM or typo)
Hard drive: 250GB-1TB 7200rpm (supposed to be 3.5” since 1TB is available too.)
Optical drive: CD/DVD burner and Blu-ray as an optional
Graphic Card: ATI Radeon HD3200 or HD4330 512MB as an optional
Wireless: Dell 1397 (802.11b/g) or Dell 1520 (802.11n) [both optional]
Ports: 1*SD reader, 4*USB, 1*HDMI, 1*VGA, 1*Gigabit LAN, 2*eSATA, 1*Mic, 2*Speaker (back and front)
Dimension: 7.8”x 7.8” x 3.4”, 3.53lbs (1.6kg)
PSU: 65W or 75W if you choose HD4330
Well, CPUs are somewhat unknown since they don’t appear anywhere, but on this little box. They are absolutely better than Intel Atom though. According the review@AMD blogs, they claimed that it handles Hulu and Media Center smoothly, but no words on HD contents like 720p or 1080p or mkv. I hope the single core CPU could handle things w/o any hiccups. Guess we have to wait and see more reviews about this.
At $230, I honestly don’t think it will satisfy anyone which choosing this over nettop which is powered by Intel Atom + ION platform, but it’s cheaper, who cares? As for only surfing web, checking mail desktop, $230 is such a good deal to me. Nonetheless, as for HTPC, AFAIK, ATI HD3200 won’t deliver 7.1 sound via HDMI—only stereo, you’d better off with HD4330, $75 more, which will do anything you throw in. Also, dual core CPU is like a must here with $60 more. For RAM and such, you can add your own much cheaper than Dell offers. By this configuration, this little box would cost you roughly $230 + $75 + $60 = $365. It’s not that cheap, but not too expensive.
My opinion? only if Dell comes up with a good coupon dropping price a bit, it will sell pretty good. By the way, I’m the one who waits this baby on Dell outlet; that will be darn good deal indeed.