We are always interested in those small form factor Atom-based PCs but we are usually let down by their overall performance, even when they are coupled with a discrete graphics solution.  Zotac has been making a killing with their line of ZBOX miniature PCs but today they are announcing the release of a new set of options that combine the NVIDIA ION graphics processor not with the Intel Atom CPU, but with Intel Celeron CULV single and dual-core CPUs!  Here are the new models and their specs:
  • ZBOX HD-ND22
    • Intel Celeron SU2300 (1.2 GHz, dual-core)
    • 2 x DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM slots
    • Support 1 x 2.5-inch SATA 3.0 Gb/s HDD/SSD
    • HDMI and DVI-I outputs
  • ZBOX HD-NS21
    • Intel Celeron 743 (1.3 GHz, single-core)
    • 2 x DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM slots
    • Support 1 x 2.5-inch SATA 3.0 Gb/s HDD/SSD
    • HDMI and DVI-I outputs
  • ION-ITX N series
    • Intel Celeron 743 (1.3 GHz, single-core)
    • PCI Express x16 expansion
    • 3 SATA 3.0 Gb/s + 1 eSATA 3.0 Gb/s
    • HDMI, DVI-D and VGA outputs
    • Mini-ITX form factor
  • ION-ITX P series
    • Intel Celeron SU2300 (1.2 GHz, dual-core)
    • PCI Express x16 expansion
    • 3 SATA 3.0 Gb/s + 1 eSATA 3.0 Gb/s
    • HDMI, DVI-D and VGA outputs
    • Mini-ITX form factor
  • NVIDIA ION graphics processor
  • 16 unified shaders
  • NVIDIA CUDA technology
  • NVIDIA PureVideo HD technology
  • Onboard 802.11n WiFi
Zotac releases SFF machines with ION and CULV processors - Systems  1

All four of the new models (two full systems, two barebone motherboards) combine Celeron processors that should easily outperform the various single and dual-core Atom processors we are used to seeing in SFF machines these days.  This then creates a platform that should easily handle flash video both with and without GPU acceleration and even allow for moderate 720p gaming that previous held back by Atom.  

Zotac releases SFF machines with ION and CULV processors - Systems  2
 

I know many of our readers have been looking for a solution to work around the low performance levels of the Atom processors for desktop computing and while the ION graphics solution was definitely part of the answer, upgrading to a Celeron CULV processor looks like it could complete the process. 

Update: Looks like our friends at The Tech Report have a review of the HD-ND22 up already!
ZOTAC Revolutionizes ION With World’s First Intel CULV-Powered Mini-PC and Mini-ITX Platforms

New ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ND22, HD-NS21, ION-ITX N and P series combine Intel CULV processor with NVIDIA ION graphics processor
 
HONG KONG – Aug. 26, 2010 – ZOTAC International, a leading innovator and the world’s largest channel manufacturer of graphics cards, motherboards and mini-PCs, today revolutionizes the award-winning ION platform with the processing power of Intel consumer low-voltage, or CULV, processors for new platforms with superior performance capabilities while maintaining class-leading energy-efficiency. The new ZOTAC ION platforms powered by Intel CULV processors include the new ZBOX HD-ND22, HD-NS21 mini-PCs, ION-ITX N series and ION-ITX P series mini-ITX platforms.

An Intel Celeron SU2300 processor powers the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ND22 and ION-ITX P series with dual-cores clocked at 1.3 GHz for multi-threaded processing power that delivers unprecedented performance levels in an energy-efficient mini-PC for demanding users. A Single-core Intel Celeron 743 processor powers ZOTAC ZBOX HD-NS21 and ION-ITX N series platforms for outstanding single-threaded CPU performance.

“Intel CULV processors have previously been exclusive to ultra-portable notebooks, but not anymore. We’ve taken the award-winning Intel CULV processors and paired them with our award-winning ION platforms to produce the world’s first mini-PCs and mini-ITX platforms that combine the power of Intel CULV processors with NVIDIA ION graphics processing for the perfect combination of CPU and GPU performance with superior energy-efficiency,” said Carsten Berger, marketing director, ZOTAC International.

NVIDIA ION graphics empower the Intel CULV-powered ZOTAC ZBOX and ION-ITX platforms with outstanding 3D capabilities and support for Microsoft DirectX 10, DirectCompute and NVIDIA CUDA-enabled applications for energy-efficient GPU computing. NVIDIA PureVideo HD technology delivers flawless GPU-accelerated high-definition video playback with breathtaking clarity and details.

ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ND22 and HD-NS21 mini-PCs with Intel CULV processors feature class-leading flexibility with an easily customizable tool-less chassis and room to accommodate a 2.5-inch SATA 3.0 Gb/s HDD or SSD, two DDR3 SO-DIMM memory slots, integrated 802.11n WiFi and four different placement positions – flat, on a stand, on the back of a monitor or on a wall with the included VESA75/100-compatible mount. External expansion options include plenty of USB 2.0 ports, a 6-in-1 memory card reader that supports SD, SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro and xD memory card formats, and an eSATA 3.0 Gb/s port for plug ‘n play expansion.

ZOTAC ION-ITX N and P series are world-class platforms that combine the miniature size of mini-ITX with big-system expansion capabilities including a PCI Express x16 slot, two DDR3-1066 DIMM slots, three SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports, up to 10 USB 2.0 ports and an eSATA 3.0 Gb/s port. Onboard 802.11n WiFi and Gigabit Ethernet port enables lightning-fast network transfers for stutter-free high-definition video streaming.

It’s time to play with the new ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ND22, HD-NS21 and ION-ITX N and P series.