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My new Zotac zbox mini HTPC

Rega

hemanth.hg

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Hi,

I recently added a new Zotac mini PC(basic HTPC), mostly for audio. This is mainly for music and nothing else(except for some youtube videos occasionally). I have connected a 2TB external HDD which has all my music in FLAC(80%) and MP3(20%) format. I'm using foobar with WASAPI plugin. The output is sent to the Emotiva DC-1 DAC ->XSP1 - XPA 1L. I really like the way the system sounds, haven't had a chance to compare it with some similar setup, but it is serving my purpose and I'm happy with the sound and it offers me a lot of flexibility in terms of controlling the system using my android, and controlling the htpc itself.

The Zotac has 64GB SDD , 2GB RAM (added another 4GB of RAM to make it 6GB) and I don't have plans to add another SDD/HDD. Currently I have the Windows 7 Home installed, it takes around 5 seconds for bootup. The system is very fast and hope it remains that way for at least an year. I have only foobar, google drive, team viewer running most of the time and the CPU usage doesn't cross 30% and memory usage is below 1.5GB.
The drawbacks of this miniPC is that it doesn't have an in-built wifi card and it is not fanless, but it is very silent.
The Zotac cost me $125(during Christmas). Overall I'm satisfied with the product.

In future I'm planning to upgrade to a fan-less miniPC.

My current system: http://www.hifivision.com/amplifiers/49502-amplifier-suggestions-only-music-how-abt-emotiva-2.html#post612337
Product page: Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U-W2 Desktop PC Celeron 2957U (1.40GHz) 2GB DDR3 64GB mSATA SSD Windows 8.1 with Bing, 64-bit - Newegg.com
Review: Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U-W2 Review - A solid network machineServeTheHome Server and Workstation Reviews

Thanks for reading,
Hemanth.
 
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sam9s

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Congratts ..... Just one point as my 2 cents ..... 64 GB SSD and 6 GB RAM and you are using it as an audio player and an occasional you tube :confused:........ brother you are seriously wasting your resources and money as well ........think about it .....

I can achieve the same with a 35 USD Raspberry Pi.
 
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hemanth.hg

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Thanks for your suggestion. Yeah I did look at that option as well, but I wanted something which is ready to use, where in Zotac had everything in place like the HDD, RAM and OS installed. It offers me more flexibility, in case if I want to use it as a complete media server. I read in couple of reviews where they mentioned that there is slight sluggishness while playing 1080 videos on Raspberry pi(it shouldn't matter much to me, as I'm using mostly for music)... IMHO
 

Bharathram

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Congratts ..... Just one point as my 2 cents ..... 64 GB SSD and 6 GB RAM and you are using it as an audio player and an occasional you tube :confused:........ brother you are seriously wasting your resources and money as well ........think about it .....

I can achieve the same with a 35 USD Raspberry Pi.
True.... I bought my Lenovo Q180 HTPC thinking that I would use for different purposes other than music and movies... But over the last 2 years that I have used , I could hardly remember anytime that I have used it for something else.
 

musicbee

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Well a certain amount of future proofing is not that bad. At least it beats the Apple Mac Mini in price.

Congrats hemanth.hg... I've used one and its extremely handy especially for music and movies.
 

sam9s

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^^ even for future movies and music this kind of power if too much. Unless yes he plans to go for 4K. A meek pentium dual core with a low end gpu suffice 1080p and 3D iso....... so I'd say I still rest my case .....
 

musicbee

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^^ even for future movies and music this kind of power if too much. Unless yes he plans to go for 4K. A meek pentium dual core with a low end gpu suffice 1080p and 3D iso....... so I'd say I still rest my case .....
And we are both folks who run an i7, which needless to say does not get extended beyond 7-8% of its CPU resources for pretty much anything thrown at it. And on top we both have GPUs which are totally not needed for playing any of the existing video formats.

The only time I've ever seen mine break into a sweat is when encoding video with StaxRip and that lasts for a couple of hours at the most and only gets used like 3-5 times a month.
 

sam9s

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errrrrrr ...... I use i7 for truck loads of things buddy,.... including like running 10-12 virtual machines of which 3-4 runs 24x7 (headless linux servers) that I access from across world, then all my audio video editing is done on my i7. (that includes ripping home videos off from my handy camm and edit and prepare it for proper home videos.) then I play all high end games on my i7 as well. Not to forget all sorts of projects and experiments I do is all on i7 ....... I do not believe in under utilizing any resources. Occasionally I also rip bluray when I need an ISO on my NAS. But most of all its the VM that takes a huge toll ..... thats the reason I ave 16GB RAM, but all run smooth since its powerhouse of a PC

For my video needs (My Home Theater) I have 12 years old C2D with mere 2 GB RAM and a GT 440 running openelec and it does it all.
 
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musicbee

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^^^ My bad... I use mine only for general browsing and typical PC usage.

That said I still don't think the Zotac is an overkill especially considering what it costs.

At that price, no old PC will compare in specs or in performance... unless you are talking of building a HTPC from old components.

I've used Zotac in the past and have only replaced it with a HTPC + Roku which I find is a better combo for streaming local content as well as online content.
 

sam9s

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An overkill depends on what we are using it for. Just for an audio server adding an SSD and 6 GB ram ....... seems to be an overkill except may be he might also use it for other activities ....and he did get it for a discounted price of 125 USD ,,.....
 
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hemanth.hg

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Yeah I do agree its an overkill for what it is currently being used for. In future I might use it for other purpose which I don't know as of now :mad:

A similar thing happened with my laptop as well, I bought a Dell i5 3rd gen 8GB RAM laptop in 2012, initially I was using it for some android app using eclipse along with lot of other applications which was an overkill for that, but later it was used for installing couple of virtual machines for learning big data/hadoop, so the future proofing got justified in that case.

As I have lot of time these days, let me try a Raspberry Pi B+ based music server as you suggested, if it doesn't work out well, I will give it to my daughter.
 

sound_cycle

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Hi,

Did not start another thread.

Posting to say that I went the zotac route for a music PC. A Zbox Id-88.

Now it is an i3, and was without RAM or HDD. So I added 4GB of DDR3 and a 1 TB internal drive.

Overkill ? If it were a music only PC yes ofc, this is however a music also PC and replaces my now retired ancient desktop dabba. A noisy cantankerous AMD beast that will not be missed.

Why Zotac or the ID-88 a) because I wanted that huge big lug of a PC out of my listening room (a.that is pretentious and misleading, living room
b. especially the 22" monitor that was opp the speakers) and a nice small sleek thing that could cohabit with the rest of the stuff on the audio rack b) I wanted optical out without having to fiddle too much c) I wanted a remote

I am still waiting for my Win 8.1 CD to reach me. Being impatient I have Ubuntu LTS on it now. I've disabled pulse-audio and am bitstreaming via SPDIF to the DAC on my amp. Sounds good I say !

I am wondering why I got windows 8.1 but well I did.

It is (almost) inaudible. It seems to be everything I wanted of the new one.

Plan for the future is to run REW someday and sort out my room issues better. And ofc all the usual PC @ home duties.

ciao
gr
 
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