Zotac’s VR-Ready mini-PC should arrive this summer, will be liquid cooled

Back in March, Zotac introduced a new ZBOX mini-PC ready for virtual reality and gaming called the Magnus EN980. The company didn’t provide a list of specs, but instead hinted at what the miniature powerhouse would pack — a sixth-generation Intel “Skylake” processor, and a GeForce GTX 980 graphics chip supplied by Nvidia.

Additional details regarding the Magnus EN980 have finally emerged, revealing that it will sport an Intel Core i5-6400 processor, while the GPU will be the notebook version of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980 chip, which still packs the full gaming performance of the desktop version into a mobile form factor. The overall size of the ZBOX mini-PC will supposedly be 9 inches wide, 8 inches deep, and 5 inches tall.

Of course, keeping such a powerful small machine cool won’t be easy. To do that, Zotac has decided to rely on liquid cooling. “By lining liquid channels, heatpipes and heat fins, the heat is directed away from the source, effectively keeping the power core cool,” the company said. “With all the powerful hardware in the most compact of size, amazingly Zotac still manages to keep it whisper quiet.”

The system that keeps this VR-ready unit cool includes a 120mm radiator and a fan. Both the GPU and CPU are socketed, meaning system builders can swap the two chips out, although this ZBOX is reportedly “tightly packed” and could prove difficult to upgrade/service. Other features include two RAM slots for the memory, an M.2 slot for storage, and an additional 2.5-inch bay for a solid state or disk drive.

The Magnus EN980 will also include a USB 3.1 Type-C port, a USB 3.1 Type-A port, four USB 3.0 ports on the back, an SD card reader, two gigabit Ethernet ports, and built-in Wireless AC connectivity. Up to four displays are supported by this VR-ready box thanks to DisplayPort and HDMI connectors mounted on the back.

PC World reports that Zotac will offer the unit as a bare-bones system this summer, meaning customers will have to supply their own memory, storage, and operating system in addition to the needed peripherals and monitor. As for pricing, the site estimates a range of between $1,500 and $2,000, which is a bit pricey. Zotac, however, is keeping tight-lipped on that matter for the moment.


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