Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

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CA_Steve
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Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:20 pm

I've been staring at Baytrail for a while as a low cost/low power/small footprint HTPC-lite. In the end, the cheapest way to get to the solution is buying the barebones Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320. There were two open issues that have (hopefully) been closed.
- The lack of a Baytrail graphic driver that supports bitstreaming. Ganesh at Anandtech says he was able to download the Intel driver and get bitstreaming to work on this device.
- The Anandtech review sample wasn't downclocking for idle or low use cases. I contacted Zotac tech support and was told the current BIOS (Version 2K141225) resolves the problem.

My current use case:
- Connected to AVR in den via HDMI.
- Watch Netflix, Hulu, network streams via browser.
- Watch DVDs, BDs.
- I don't rip movies, run torrents, or store media files elsewhere to stream here.

Current solution: 2010 MBP that uses 30-35W streaming and has audible fans from 10' away + Logitech K400r keyboard/trackpad

ZBOX build:
- Nano CI320 $148.83 shipped
- G.Skill 1 x 4GB DDR3L 1600 SO-DIMM $ 36.54 shipped
- OCZ Agility 64GB SSD that's been collecting dust.
- Win 7 (spare license collecting dust). I may eventually mess with XBMC or JRiver for their 10' UI. Seriously, isn't there a 10' UI extension for Firefox or Chrome?
- K400r keyboard
Total $185

The SSD is a slow beast compared to the current gen. But, that'll only be noticable at boot. The plan is to boot once and then use sleep between sessions. For now, I'll use a Panasonic BD Player rather than buying an external ODD. Down the road I may break down and get an OTA antenna and networked tuner. :)

Parts are ordered. Hopefully, will have build and comments next week.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano C1320

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:34 pm

Parts arrived. Spent a fairly fruitless time yesterday debugging what appears to be a failed SSD. Things are going better today. Pulled a Crucial C300 128GB from another build to replace the #$^@ Agility. Here's some pics while Windows relentlessly updates.
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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano C1320

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:39 pm

Here's a slightly blurry of the Nano in operation. Low light conditions without flash make LEDs seem much brighter than they actually are.
in operation.jpg
The December BIOS update does allow the CPU to downclock at idle and low use cases. Early results (before all of the updates) shows 6W idle under Win7. The device comes with Bluetooth, WLAN (I didn't connect the WLAN antenna), and CIR controller. As I'll be connecting to wired LAN and using a Logitech keyboard with it's own proprietary wireless connection, I'm going to see if I can disable all of the extraneous stuff and see what it does to power consumption.

...installing 135 of 173 updates....ok, more later.
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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano C1320

Post by faugusztin » Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:45 pm

FYI it is CI320, not C1320 :D.

My personal experiences :
1) i hate the guy who invented the bottom rubber screws, they were next to impossible to remove.
2) installing the WiFi mPCIe was painful, the antenna cable closer to the side was hard to "plug".
3) i have yet to manage to get CIR working.
4) Ubuntu works flawlessly so far.

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by CA_Steve » Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:44 am

faugusztin wrote:FYI it is CI320, not C1320 :D.
eep! fixed.
faugusztin wrote:1) i hate the guy who invented the bottom rubber screws, they were next to impossible to remove.
They are a little funky. For the rest of the crowd: the bottom feet are rubber with a metal screw embedded within. The feet have a phillips head depression which leads you to believe you should use a screwdriver to remove/install them. The screwdriver will just maul the rubber. Instead, just unscrew the feet by hand.
faugusztin wrote:2) installing the WiFi mPCIe was painful, the antenna cable closer to the side was hard to "plug".
Mine came already installed. I'm considering removing it: I use wired lan and wasn't sure how much incremental power the card used when disabled in UEFI/device mgr. I think it's a combo WLAN/BT card...and may use BT in the future, so it's still in place.

After all the updates in place, the device was idling at 7-8W. I disabled BT/WLAN/CIR and it dropped to 6-7W. The power use while streaming is much higher than what Ganesh saw (eg: 10-12W in Netflix vs 8.4W). I don't know if this is due to my using Win7 and the dreaded Silverlight via Firefox browser and Ganesh having Win 8.1 and Netflix app running HTML5 or something else. When I have some time I'll do some more debug (is GPU acceleration running, etc). This will be the first device I'll upgrade to Win 10 as I expect that will be a friendlier environment for 10' browsing.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Abula
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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by Abula » Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:08 am

Nice build Steve, impresive 6W idle.... very nuk a like =), congrats.

How you plan to play movies?
GameMi - Intel i9 9900K + Gigabyte Z390 AM + Asus RTX2080Ti Strix | MiniMi - Intel i7 8700K + ASRock Z370ITX + MSI RTX2080Ti
StreaMi - Intel i9 7940X + AsRock X299 Taichi + Asus GTX1080Ti Strix | WorkMi - AMD 1950X + AsRock X399 Taichi + MSI GTX1080
ServeMi - Intel Xeon E3-1230 + Supermicro X9SCM-F + 144TB | StoreMi - Intel Xeon E3 1240v5 + Supermicro X11SSM-F + 42TB | CamMi - Intel i7 4770K + MSI H81i + Blue Iris

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by faugusztin » Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:16 am

I have Ubuntu & Plex on it. Results at Anandtech of various playback tests were promising, so i pulled the plug and so far it is doing fine.

@CA_Steve: i was testing a Intel 6235 in it, that is why i was commenting about the mPCIe card.

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by CA_Steve » Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:50 pm

Abula wrote:How you plan to play movies?
Dammit! I knew there was something missing! j/k
For optical media, just going to use an existing Panasonic player. Everything goes through an AVR, anyway. It's pretty quiet, just has a slow load-to-menu time. Down the road I may get an external drive. I don't have a large collection and don't plan to rip and store. If I change my mind it'll because I want access to my music collection and then I'll just use the Zbox as a front end.

faugusztin: nods.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:39 pm

I had time this weekend to run some tests, so here are the results. I used a P4400 Kill-a-Watt for power measurements. A no frills device that I'm guessing truncates rather than rounds to integer value and is probably a little iffy on accuracy in the <10W area. Temperature measurements were done with RealTemp. CoreTemp would only provide distance from Tmax. I loaded OCCT and it's temps matched up with RealTemp. OS is Windows 7 Home Premium.

Power Use:
Off: <1W
Sleep: 2W
Idle: 6W (occasionally 7W).
YouTube: Firefox 1080P(Flash) 7-9W; Chrome 720P (HTML5) 11-13W
Netflix 720P: Firefox (Silverlight) 12-14W; Chrome (HTML5) 10-13W
Hulu: Firefox windowed 8-9W (30% CPU), full screen 9W (35%); Chrome windowed 11W (45%), fs 12W (70%)
Prime95 (Large FFT): 12-13W

Time for Netflix to buffer/play 720P: 37 sec
- I then did the same test on my i5 gaming build: 24 sec. I figure single vs dual channel RAM might be a large part of it...another might just be the vagarities of network loading one test to the next.

I couldn't resolve why I'm seeing higher power use for YouTube and Netflix vs Anandtech, especially with Netflix. For the latter, I'm stuck with Win7 and 720p while Ganesh had Win 8.1 and a Netflix app running 1080p. Maybe the app is better tuned than the browser version...<shrugs>. In any case, I'm stuck with 720p until Win 10 is stable. Not gonna mess with 8.1 at this stage in it's lifecycle. I did pop up the diagnostics screen for Netflix and GPU acceleration is enabled.

Time Tests:
Off to "Starting Windows" screen: 9 sec
Off to Windows Password screen: 27 sec
On to Sleep: 4 sec
Sleep to On: 4 sec
On to Off: 10 sec
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:39 pm

Thermal Testing:

You may recall the thermal issues of the CI540 Nano in SPCR's review. The i5-4210Y in the '540 has an 11.5W TDP. My hope was that the 7.5W TDP of the N2930 in my '320 would be low enough to address these concerns. The answer turns out to be yes. Sort of. Ok, not optimal, but it works ok for the use case :D

Here's what the thermal profile looks like.
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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:23 pm

At bootup, the CPU idles at 29C and the system draws 6W (AC). But, the little bit of metal used for the passive heatsink is barely enough to dissipate the heat and the temp slowly rises over time to approach a steady state idle temp of 50C after an hour (The Zbox is sitting on my desktop with no directed airflow and the room temp is somewhere around 20C in the morning rising to 22-23C in the afternoon). The box is lukewarm to the touch.

I streamed a few episodes of National Geographic's Amazing Planet (480p) under Chrome/HTML5 to get a feel for how hot the CPU will get under normal use (11W at the wall). It reached steady state temp of 68C after 80 min. Killing the instance immediately dropped the temp 3C, and then the temp decayed to steady state idle temp after about an hour. During streaming, the box is warm to the touch - kinda similar to my Asus router.

I ran Prime95 (Large FFT, 12W load) immediately following the Netflix cooldown. You can see the 5C jump on start and then the same thermal curve, albeit slightly higher than Netflix, with similar cooldown profile.

I placing the Zbox on the top shelf of my media center, so I'm not concerned about these temps. If you opt to put this in an enclosed space, say, next to that Audio/Video Receiver, then it might get toasty.

7.5W TDP is about the max TDP I'd consider for this cooling solution, unless you had some directed airflow.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by flyingsherpa » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:28 am

Curious why you went this route instead of something like a Roku3?

My main pc does double-duty as my HTPC (small apartment, so I can run cables to my display and receiver pretty easily). I use xbmc for my ripped tv/movie collection and love it. I use a FLIRC IR receiver with my old Tivo remote and it's a great experience. I tried using some MCE remotes and they were crap compared to my Tivo remote setup. I highly recommend xbmc (er, kodi now I guess) for streaming local content. But for Netflix/youtube etc, I always found my HTPC too clunky, even when I ran Netflix via Media Center. Switching over to my Roku3 is a much better experience. Just my $.02.
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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:51 am

flyingsherpa wrote:Curious why you went this route instead of something like a Roku3?
No browser. So, no access to the free side of Hulu, or any of the networks that provide streaming access.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by flyingsherpa » Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:28 pm

CA_Steve wrote:No browser. So, no access to the free side of Hulu, or any of the networks that provide streaming access.
Fair enough :)

I tried doing things that way for a while, watching shows like The Daily Show from their streaming site via browser on my HTPC. But they annoyed me so much with the same ads played multiple times in row (during the same commercial break) for a company that doesn't even exist in my state, that I gave up on it. Often the ad would also somehow change the resolution of the video so it would cause the browser to come out of full-screen, so I'd have to futz with changing that back with my Air Mouse. My favorite was when the ads would load fine, but the show would have issues and buffer endlessly. After that I, uh, found other means to watch those shows.
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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by MikeC » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:30 pm

Nice work on the mini review, Steve! 8)

Our test sample got full-time work as Betty's main study PC for her online MBA program. She hasn't turned it off (other than windows updates) for weeks, and she reports it's absolutely rock steady with everything, including huge excel sheets. I sometimes give the thing a quick feel when I go into her office occasionally (it's mounted on the back of her monitor) and it's only warm, never hot.
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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:43 am

MikeC wrote: I sometimes give the thing a quick feel
:shock: :lol:
PC pervert!
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:16 am

Yeah, I might have been a tad harsh with the 7.5W max TDP comment. I'd expect both the Baytrail and Haswell variants to show similar steady state temps for idle and low CPU use...and Excel isn't a big CPU hog.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:17 am

Added Hulu power use and cpu utilization here. Interesting how Chrome is the bigger power user for Youtube and Hulu but not for Netflix.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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Re: Zotac ZBOX Nano CI320

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:24 pm

This thing really doesn't want me to load Win 10 as an upgrade...time to give it to a friend for a router box and move on.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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