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Zotac MAG review

An HD cinema nettop in a really tiny box

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Our Verdict

For

  • Powerful video acceleration
  • Seriously compact package
  • Very quiet

Against

  • Weedy Atom processor
  • Patchy desktop performance
  • Pricey

Big-screen fun in a preposterously puny package. That's the remit for the Mini All-in-one Giant, Zotac's new nettop PC. Otherwise known as the Zotac MAG, it's supposed to be ultra compact yet powerful enough for full-HD entertainment thanks to its Nvidia Ion chipset. Does it deliver?

On paper, things look pretty promising. Physically, it's absolutely tiny measuring just 186mm x 189mm x 38mm.

Strictly speaking, there are one or two slightly slimmer nettops out there such as Acer's Revo 3600. But we're talking millimeters here and there.

More to the point, there are none that look slicker thanks to the MAG's glossy black chassis and funky styling features such as a large orange ring that lights up out of nowhere when you power up.

Mount up

It also comes with a number of mounting options. Firstly, you can simply lay it flat on its rubberised vibration-absorbing feet, a bit like an external optical drive. There's also a little stand allowing you to pop it in a space-saving upright position.

zotac mag

The other option is the most intriguing. A VESA mounting bracket enables the MAG to be placed on the back of many flat panel monitors and most HDTV sets. Thus mounted, it's completely out of sight.

In terms of hardware specifications, the Zotac MAG is essentially a feature-complete system and comes configured with a 160GB laptop-style hard disk and 2GB of memory, again in laptop SODIMM format.

There are also plenty of ports on the chassis, including five USB sockets, VGA and HDMI video interfaces and even eSATA support.

Home installation

That said, it doesn't come with an operating system and it lacks an optical drive which can make installation a bit tricky. You'll need either a USB optical drive or a big USB memory key for that job.

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zotac mag review

As for networking, along with the gigabit ethernet port, there's built in b/g/n wireless, too.