Skip to main content

Zotac teases tether-free VR gaming using a Zbox mini-PC stuffed into a backpack

ZOTAC Best Virtual Reality VR Gaming Backpack
Zbox maker Zotac released an interesting video a few days ago (shown above) introducing its take on mobile virtual reality. That’s right: VR on the move thanks to hardware stuffed into a backpack. The company doesn’t provide any details other than its powered by a Zbox and what appears to be the HTC Vive and its controllers. With this combo, Zotac promises true freedom, true agility, and true mobility.

“This mobile solution not only removes the bulk of connecting to the large, traditional computer towers of old, but also allows the user to roam freely in VR with their undivided attention,” the company says. “This innovative solution includes a system powerful enough to drive VR, and a portable battery pack to keep you going.”

What a tease.

The video is likely based on Zotac’s upcoming VR-ready Magnus EN980 Zbox mini-PC. As previously reported, the device is expected to launch this summer as a bare-bones solution, meaning customers will be required to invest in memory, storage, and an operating system on top of the EN980’s pricetag, which may or may not be between $1,500 and $2,000.

Get your weekly teardown of the tech behind PC gaming
Check your inbox!

Yes, that’s quite expensive for a mini-PC. But it will reportedly pack an Intel Core i5-6400 processor, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 notebook graphics chip, and a number of connectors spanning USB 3.1, USB 3.0, DisplayPort, HDMI, and Ethernet. Even an SD card reader will be crammed into its small 9-by-8-by-5-inch form factor.

In addition to those specs, the unit will also sport a liquid cooling system that includes a 120 mm radiator, a fan, liquid channels, heat pipes, and heat fins, keeping the VR-ready device quietly chilled. Other hardware features include two empty slots for the memory, a 2.5-inch bay for a solid state drive or hard drive, and an M.2 slot for additional storage.

“Magnus EN980 packs the full power of a premium desktop gaming solution into a ZBOX Mini PC,” Zotac boasts. “The result is the most powerful Zbox, and goes beyond the recommended specifications for VR experience.”

What’s interesting about the mobile VR Zbox setup shown in the new video is that the mini-PC is not tethered to a wall’s electrical outlet; not even with an extremely long extension cord. The battery stuffed into that backpack has to be big enough to support not only the Zbox, but the HTC Vive and its controllers. How long this battery will last is anyone’s guess at the moment.

In taking a peek at Zotac’s website, the company currently does not offer a mobile battery for any product that requires an electrical outlet. However, the company does suggest that desktop owners upgrade their desktop’s graphics card to the Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti for the best possible graphics performance for the HTC Vive headset. Zotac seems to be a big fan of this particular VR solution.

Zotac said it demonstrated the new VR-ready Zbox during Cebit 2016 and GDC 2016, and is expected to showcase the device during Computex in June. Maybe then, we’ll get a detailed list of specs, pricing, a street date, and what kind of portable battery the company is using in its cool mobile VR setup. Until then, check out the video and bask in the greatness of portable VR action with the HTC Vive.

Editors' Recommendations

Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
Best VR headset Memorial Day deals: save on Meta Quest 2, HTC VIVE XR Elite
A woman dives into action with the Meta Quest 2.

VR headsets can be a lot of fun, especially if you have the room to play around and fully live out the virtual 3D space you're in. That said, VR headsets can get quite expensive, and that's without counting the high-end gaming PC that you tend to have to buy to take advantage of it. Luckily, these early Memorial Day deals will save you a pretty penny, and while there aren't a ton of excellent VR headset deals to take advantage of, we've collected the best we could find below.
Our Favorite VR Headset Memorial Day Deal

When Meta originally took over Oculus, a lot of folks were skeptical about what that would entail, especially as VR is a nascent piece of tech and Meta is known to take on dubious projects, such as the Metaverse. Luckily, it wasn't as bad as most feared, with the Meta Quest 2 being one of the best VR headsets on the market for a long time. While it's true that the Meta Quest 3 has already come out, the Quest 2 has a lot of advantages, the least of which is that it's considerably cheaper, going for the new discounted price of $200, which is $50 less than what it was a few weeks ago.

Read more
Apple’s M2 13-inch MacBook Air is $150 off in the Memorial Day sales
The screen of the MacBook Air on a table.

If you don’t mind going one generation back with your purchase, Best Buy has the MacBook deals for you with a massive $150 off the Apple MacBook Air 13.6-inch M2. Usually $999, it’s down to $849 for a limited time only. We can’t say how long the deal will stick around, but we can confidently say this is one of the better laptop deals to go for. If you’re keen to learn more, keep reading while we take you through things.

Why you should buy the Apple MacBook Air 13.6-inch M2
When you check out our look at the best MacBooks, you’ll notice that the MacBook Air 13.6-inch M2 features as the best MacBook for everyone. It’s super versatile with a great M2 processor, and a very lightweight and thin build. Despite being so thin, it’s robust thanks to its all-aluminum unibody enclosure which is super durable while looking good too.

Read more
Best Lenovo Memorial Day Deals: Laptops, Gaming PCs, Monitors, More
Lenovo Yoga Pro 9i 16 rear view showing lid and logos.

Along with companies like Dell and HP, Lenovo is probably one of the best-known brands when it comes to things like desktops and laptops, whether you're looking for a gaming device or a general day-to-day one. That's why it's great to see some excellent deals coming from Lenovo as part of the early Memorial Day sale, with a ton of deals on some of the best laptops and best desktops out there. Of course, Lenovo has a huge inventory of devices, which is why we've gone through it all and selected some of our favorite deals to save you the hassle.
Best Lenovo Laptop Memorial Day Deals

Lenovo's general laptops are perfect for those who want something that is more budget-friendly but will still work well for school, work, or just use in day-to-day activities such as streaming content. There are a lot of sizes to pick from, too, so you can pick something smaller if you want a more easy-to-carry laptop or a massive 16-inch screen if you want a lot of screen real estate. You can also check out some other great laptop deals if you don't quite find what you're looking for below.

Read more