Zotac Zbox EN1080 review: Console-sized 4K PC gaming—and it’s expensive – Ars Technica

Last year Zotac released its tiny, gaming-ready Zbox EN1060 mini-PC. Featuring an Intel Core i5-6400T processor and Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card, the EN1060 is more than fast enough for high settings 1080p gaming at 60FPS or more. But for those that demand more frames, more resolution, and more powerful hardware inside a console-sized chassis—particularly as Sony raised the game somewhat with the PlayStation 4 Pro—Zotac has another option.

Enter the Zotac Zbox Magnus EN1080, a ventilated black cube that packs a fully watercooled Skylake Intel Core i7-6700 processor (note the lack of the unlocked “K” designation) and Nvidia GTX 1080 inside a case just 225mm wide and 203mm deep. Such powerful hardware means the EN1080 is capable of playing games at a native 4K resolution with near maximum settings at over 60FPS. Even better, thanks to the clever watercooling setup inside, it does so while remaining quieter than any console or desktop PC with a standard cooling setup. It’s seriously impressive stuff.

Naturally, there’s a price to pay for such a setup—and it’s not cheap. A barebones EN1080—where you supply your own storage, memory, and operating system—costs around £2,000/$2,000. A more conventional desktop system with the same components plus storage, RAM, OS, and a decent all-on-one liquid cooler comes in at under £1,500.

Hey, good lookin’

Of course, that system wouldn’t be anywhere near as small—even with a good mini-ITX case—nor would it be as quiet unless you invested in a watercooled graphics card, too, (graphics cards are often the noisiest component in a modern PC). Whether or not it would be more or less attractive is down to personal taste, of course, but I think Zotac has done a much better job with the EN1080 than the EN1060 and its predecessor, the GTX 980-powered EN980.


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