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Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U could be a budget HTPC NAS Combo

Few days back, I presented my choice for the low-power budget HTPC NAS Combo for the total cost of $380. The other system I strongly considered was the Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U. While it does not have the same level of flexibility as as full-blown HTPC / NAS combo, it may be sufficient for most home users. With low energy consumption (<25 Watts) and processor powerful enough for home server, Plex server, or Kodi, it could be a nice candidate to build a HTPC NAS Combo on.

It comes in comes pre-built with Windows 8.1 or as barebones. If you are building a NAS HTPC Combo, I suggest getting the barebones systems Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U and customizing it to your liking.

Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U Review Mini PC
Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U Mini PC

Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U Specifications

The specs are a little bit better than the Raw Mini PC that I reviewed recently. However, the this box is bigger than the Mini. [Read: 5 Must have Android apps for HTPC or Home Server control]

  • CPU Type: Intel Celeron 2957U 1.4GHz
  • Memory: 2 x 204Pin SO-DIMM (DDR3L 1600)
  • Max Memory: 16GB
  • Serial ATA: SATA 6.0Gb/s
  • Graphics: Onboard Video Intel HD Graphics Integrated by CPU
  • Audio: 8 Channel
  • LAN: 10/100/1000Mbps
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
  • Drive Bays: One 2.5″ Internal Bay
  • Card Reader: 6-in-1 Memory card reader
  • Microsoft DirectX 11 compatible
  • Front USB: 2 x USB 2.0 (1 Top, 1 Front)
  • Back Panel Ports:
    • HDMI – 1
    • VGA – 1
    • DVI – 1
    • USB 3.0 – 4
    • RJ45 – 1
    • Smartfan

Recommended HTPC / Home Server Builds 2017

Pros and Cons for a HTPC NAS Combo

Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U Mini-PC – Pros

  • Latest Haswell architecture with integrated graphics
  • Inexpensive – was available for as low as $89 for Black Friday
  • Energy Efficient (25 Watts or less)
  • Nearly silent
  • Easy assembly
  • Small form factor – perfect for entertainment consoles

Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U MiniPC – Cons

  • No Wifi or miniPCIe slot
  • Cheap plastic construction
  • Only one SATA port – so only one SATA HDD or SSD possible
  • Only one 2.5″ HDD drive bay
  • No front USB 3.0 ports
  • Decent processor / graphics for XBMC or Kodi but definitely not a gaming HTPC
  • Intel board – better Linux support

Definitely not mind blowing specifications but with a 2 TB 2.5″ inch SSH, it could be a great starter HTPC NAS combo. The only reason I did not go for it was the limited number of SATA ports (only 1) which limits the number of components and future expandability. If you already have a central server then this could be a standalone HTPC with SSD that streams videos from your server. In this case, the limited number of SATA ports is not a problem. Otherwise, Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U is a great mini HTPC for the price. Hope this short Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U review helps people who may be looking into this great little box.

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About the author

Anand

Anand is a self-learned computer enthusiast, a part-time blogger, and a Food Scientist by career. He has been blogging since 2010 on Linux, Ubuntu, Home/Media/File Servers, Smart Home Automation, and related HOW-TOs on htpcbeginner.com and smarthomebeginner.com.

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