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Zotac Zbox Blu-ray AD03 HTPC Review

By on January 23, 2011
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Powered by AMD’s Fusion/Vision Technology

Good: Excellent form fact, better 3D performance than ION or any Intel Integrated solution
Bad: Low 2D scores, slightly noisier than Zotac's previous Zbox Blu-ray
Price: AED 1850
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

We looked at the Intel Atom/NVIDIA ION based Zbox Blu-Ray a couple of months back and really liked its form factor and performance as an HTPC. Today, we look at Zotac’s latest model- the Zbox Blu-ray AD03 which looks identical to the Atom based version but has its internals completely swapped out for AMD’s Fusion APU and is marketed under the “Vision” category by AMD. If you don’t know, AMD Vision Technology is a marketing term from AMD used for a combination of their CPUs and Graphics cards. There are four categories under Vision brand which are “Vision”, “Vision Premium”, “Vision Ultimate”, and “Vision Black” which stand for increasing abilities and performance.

The Zotac Blu-ray AD03 plus that we are looking at today is based on the starting level of Vision Technology that is meant to compete with the Intel Atom series of CPUs. We received the “Plus” version from Zotac which basically means that it comes with 2GB RAM and a 250GB Hard Drive pre-installed but without an Operating System. Also included in the package is a power adapter which is slightly bigger than the Intel version, a DVI to DSUB converter, a VESA mount as well as a Quickstart guide, drivers CD and PowerDVD with Blu-Ray playback.

On the specifications side, the Zbox Blu-ray AD03 features a dual core 40nm Zacate CPU that is officially known as E-350 and runs at 1.6GHz with 512K L2 Cache. The integrated GPU that accompanies the E-350 is the Radeon HD 6310 which is DX11 compatible and features 80 Unified Shaders with a core speed of 500Mhz. Zotac also adds USB 3.0, eSATA, Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi to the mix. Sound enthusiasts will be happy to know that the AD03 series can send raw lossless (bitstream) audio formats – Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio – via HDMI to digital home theatre receivers.

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Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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