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Hardware Configuration and Assembly Tips

The above described ZBOX HD-ID11 nettop is built around Zotac’s brand name Mini-ITX mainboard designed specifically for this nettop barebone. Although it has standard dimensions, all external ports and connectors have very unique locations, which won’t allow using this mainboard efficiently in any systems other than ZBOX. Just like any other ION2 based solution, this mainboard carries three major chips: Intel Atom processor, Intel NM10 chipset and Nvidia GT218 graphics controller. All three components are located very close to one another and are covered with a single active cooler, which consists of an aluminum heatsink and a 45 mm fan rotating at a maximum speed of 5,000 RPM.

The CPU is one of the most high-performance Intel Atom models – dual-core Atom D510 working at 1.66 GHz frequency and also supporting Hyper-Threading technology.

The graphics controller in this nettop also comes with the highest possible specs: it offers 16 shader processors and 512 MB of DDR3 video memory with 64 bit interface. The geometric and shader domains work at 535 and 1230 MHz respectively. The video memory is clocked at 790 MHz.

The third chip, Intel NM10 core logic, which is a middle man between the CPU and the graphics processor, is responsible for Serial ATA interface and external USB 2.0 and eSATA ports. Moreover, it also delivers PCI Express x1 bus used by the GPU and additional network controllers, including Realtek RTL8111 Gigabit network controller and WiFi Atheros AR9285 wireless module that also supports 802.11n standard. By the way, this module is designed as Mini PCIe card, so you can remove it or replace with some other expansion card if necessary. Even though it might be a pretty challenging task, because you will have to take the entire system apart and therefore may lose the warranty.

Zotac ships their ZBOX HD-ID11 nettop as a barebone system, so you will have to install a hard drive and system memory in it to complete the system. Once you open up the nettop, you will see the special places for these components, so there shouldn’t be any installation difficulties.

The memory is installed into a SODIMM slot that is compatible with any notebook DDR2-533/667/800 SDRAM modules. Since there is only one memory slot, the memory in ZBOX HD-ID11 system works in single-channel mode. It is determined by the specifications of the memory controller integrated into Intel Atom processor, but on the other hand it is not a very serious drawback, because the graphics controller has its own proprietary memory soldered onto the board. So in fact the only problem from having only one memory slot on the board is the size limitation: 4 GB DDR2 SODIMM memory modules are still not so widely spread, unfortunately.

Another slot is for the hard disk drive. It combines a power connector and a SATA-300 port. The hard drive is installed parallel to the mainboard PCB. There is enough room inside the system case and on the mainboard for any 2.5” mobile hard drive. For added protection there is a special retention holding the drive securely in place and preventing it from sliding out of the slot even during heavy vibrations and hits.

Once we added memory and hard drive to ZBOX HD-ID11 nettop it is fully ready to work. Now all we have to do is install the operating system and all necessary software applications.

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