ZOTAC ZBOX Sphere OI520+ Review

👤by Richard Weatherstone Comments 📅13-01-15

First off let's talk about the design. Having a spherical shaped PC was always going to be tricky to pull off due to the fact the vast majority of components found in a PC are angular. Motherboards, hard drives, memory modules all have 90 degree angles so fitting this into a sphere was prone to have wasted space, thus enlarging the overall dimensions of the Sphere. That said, ZOTAC have done a pretty good job inspacing the components out inside to ensure that there is adequate airflow over the components thereby ensuring there are no heat issues which, thanks to the very small fan and strategically placed vents also happens to be pretty quiet during operation. We liked the look of the Sphere and while it isn't truly spherical (think of a square inside a sphere), the design does ensure it won't roll off your desktop. The illuminated blue equator line looks neat and will no doubt be the highlight on any tabletop. The majority of the ports are to be found to the rear of the Sphere of which there are many, while ZOTAC have also managed to cram an additional USB port to the right hand side. Overall then, the Sphere ticks all the boxes in terms of design, especially if you are looking for something a little different that you can show off rather than hide around the back of your monitor.

Performance wise it is certainly faster than previous incarnations thanks to the Intel i5 (with integrated GPU), 4GB of DDR3 and a beefy 500GB hard drive. Our main complaint specification wise would be that a single stick of DDR3 is unlikely to impress. There is an additional port to expand the memory and run the memory in dual mode which, we suspect, many users will eventually do and of course upgrade that ageing mechanical drive to a faster SSD. Both of these upgrades will be very easy to complete if you have ever upgraded a notebook. Simply twisting the sphere in two reveals both components uppermost which are the easiest to access. This however brings to our main complaint. The 'lid' feels flimsy. It is very easy to misalign the lid due to the thin plastic and while not difficult to sort out it does take away the feel of a premium product. Other than that we feel ZOTAC have got the balance right between cost, design and performance specification.

This is a very innovative design which will certainly appeal to those who crave something a little different but do not want to compromise on performance to get it.

It's hard not to like the Sphere. It is a very well 'rounded' product that can compete with PC's much larger than itself.

+ Innovative design
+ Plenty of ports & functionality
+ Memory & HDD included
+ Option to upgrade memory & HDD capacity
+ HD ready

- Plastics questionable
- No OS included

Click here for an explanation of our awards at Vortez.net.

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