Zotac Zbox Magnus EN1060 Review

Today I’ll be reviewing a super compact but powerful PC from Zotac. The Magnus is an ultra small gaming PC that is VR ready and that boasts some impressive specs for its size. But can it perform better than its compact size would suggest?

In the box

  • A support disk
  • USB flash drive
  • Power adapter
  • Power cable
  • WiFi Antenna
  • Quick start guide
  • User manual

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Specifications

  • 802.11ac/b/g/n WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 3 in 1 card reader (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
  • AC Adapter Power supply DC 19.5V/180W

Design and build

The Magnus is like mentioned a very compact PC measuring in at 210 x 203 x 62.2mm, this is actually smaller than the latest Xbox One X, which is an impressive feat. So this means that its very easy to store in a living room or bedroom setup or possibly next to a desktop monitor. Onto the actual aesthetics now and its nice, its boxy and quite modern looking. Its mainly finished in black with a splash of yellow that illuminates round the power button. On the front face you get a few easy access ports too. You get an

  • SD card slot
  • USB 3.0 port
  • Headphone port
  • mic port
  • USB Type C gen 3.1 port

On the top of the Magnus is the Zotac logo and cutouts to allow the system to be cooled. This is again finished in black and made from plastic. The plastic feels good quality and its nice and durable. This is good to know just in case you ever wanted to take the system with you. The cutouts are nicely spaced and should provide ample airflow to keep the internals cool, but more on that later on.

top.png

Round the back you have the rest of you ports. These are all logically laid out and quite plentiful too. By that I mean that this is capable of having all your peripherals as well as run a multi-monitor setup. There is also another few cutouts for more system cooling.

Round here you get

  • Power input
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 X USB 3.0 ports
  • 2 x HDMI 2.0
  • 2 X Display port 1.3
  • Dual Gigabit LAN
  • 1 x WiFi SMA connector

rear-io.png

The bottom section of the Magnus is removable thanks to two thumb screws, this gives you access to perform upgrades if you need to. I like the addition of thumb screws as it makes getting into the system much easier. The bottom section is lined with copper to help dissipate heat away from the internals, this is a very clever design and it allows to Magnus to move the heat away from the system.

Overall the system is very nice, ultra compact, well made and is packed full of ports for all your needs.

Upgrade potential

Like mentioned above the system is upgradeable and you can swap out internal components to make the experience suit your needs. By removing the bottom section you get access the RAM which can be upgraded to 32GB at 2133MHz. You can also access the 2.5” drive, so you could a SSD or 2.5” HDD of your choice. You can also add an M.2 based SSD if you want to populate that slot.

Upgrading is really straight forward though, you unscrew the thumb screws which you will likely need a screwdriver for. You then slide off the bottom section and that is pretty much it. You can then perform any upgrades you need.

Now to clear something up, this is a bare bones system, meaning that you will have to purchase the Operating system, RAM and a hard drive. So keep that in mind. A big plus though is that you can get the OS for around £5 now so that makes it a little more affordable. Just make sure you get this code from a reputable seller and read the reviews first before buying. If that one is not an option you can get the Windows 10 disk for around £40 on Amazon too, I’ve used a few of these in the past and they’ve worked everytime.

The RAM and HDD would be up to you, but you can get some compatible RAM here and a good HDD here. This will of course drive up the price, so again you can choose whatever ever suits your needs.

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Performance

Before we jump into how the system performs, lets run off the specs of the unit I have today.

  • CPU: Intel i5 6400T quad core clocked at 2.2GHz. It will turbo to 2.8GHz
  • Ram: 16GB Crucial Ballistix 2400MHz SODIMM DDR4
  • GPU: Geforce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5
  • SSD: 2TB Samsung 850 Pro SSD
  • OS: Windows 10 Home 64bit

So now we have that out of the way lets talk numbers and benchmarks. We’ll start with the synthetics first. These were all at 1080p.

  • Firestrike – Overall: 8685 Graphics: 11524 Physics: 5645
  • Timespy – Overall: 3408 Graphics: 3581 CPU: 2679
  • PCMark 8 Creative – Score: 3963
  • Cinebench R15 – CPU: 418cb GPU: 89.62 FPS
  • Geekbench – Single: 3402 Multi: 10037
  • Unigine Heaven (High) – Score: 1453 FPS: 57.7

Now we’ll get onto the gaming FPS benchmarks again these were done at 1080p. We’ll be looking at the minimums and the average scores.

  • Batman Arkham Knight – High settings, Anti-Alisaing: on, Texture filtering: trilinear
  • Low 60 Avg 90
  • Bioshock infinite – High/Ultra settings, post processing: normal, Ambient occulsion: on
  • Low 71.5 Avg 143.1
  • Grid 2 – Ultra preset, Multisampling 8x MSAA
  • Low 86.9 Avg 115.6
  • Metro last light redux – Very High settings, SSAA: off, Texture filtering; 4x,  Motion blur, Tesselation: off
  • Low 25.4 Avg 100.2
  • Rise of the tomb raider – High settings, Anistropic filtering: 4x, Ambient occulsion: HBAO+, Anti-aliasing: FXAA
  • Low 32.0 Avg 74.8
  • Shadow of mordor – High settings, Multi/Anti-aliasing: FXAA and Cam+obj blur, Ambient occulsion: high, Tesellation: on
  • Low 58.3 Avg 87.5

So you can see that gaming performance at 1080p is great and only Metro, ROTR and SOMR dropped below 60 FPS. But during actual gameplay I was able to lock out V-Sync 60 FPS with no problems at all. The gaming experience was really smooth as you’d expect from a full 1060 and the i5 processor. You could probably even get some light 1440p done with this system to. I personally connected mine to my TV and it was great. It needed scaling to fit correctly but after that it was fine. During gameplay I never experienced any frame drops or stuttering at all. Also this can easily run more than one monitor and will have no trouble running a 4K one. It won’t game at 4K, but you could use it for consuming some 4K Netflix or YouTube.

If you want to do tasks like video, photo editing done then this will be great for that too. I personally edited RAW photos and 1080p video on the system using Adobe Photoshop and Premiere elements and it handled them both with no troubles at all. I then tried some 4K and it did cope but the experience was not as fluid as it was with the 1080p. It was managable, but it took some time and patience. Muli-tasking was dealt with well too, I had Photoshop open as well as a few tabs in Chrome with videos playing in the background as well a word document and it dealt with all in its stride. It probably could’ve handled more too.

The performance as a whole is pretty great, you can get some work done on it if you so desire, but its gaming where it really does well and impressed me thoroughly.

Temps and noise

We’ve established that it performs well but how loud is it and does it get hot?

The Magnus uses two radial fans that draw cool air from the top of the system and vent it via the sides and rear. You can see this from the exploded image below. You can see it pulls cool air from above but also manages to draw warm air from the major components and vent it all via the side and rear cutouts. This is pretty clever as it reduces the amount of fans needed and therefore the amount of noise produced by the system.

zotac-cooling

Well noise levels were quite low actually. At idle there was barely a whipser from the system. Idle temps were 35°C on the CPU and 37°C on the GPU, which is nothing to worry about at all. When I was running benchmarks and gaming I could hear the fans increase in intensity and the systems noise level subsequently increased. Again this wasn’t even loud and compared to my desktop system, its very quiet indeed. You’d be hard pushed to hear the fans above the audio coming from your source, unless you have it on very quiet. Even whilst doing tasks like web browsing, photo editing is was super quiet and I still couldn’t hear it at all.

I saw temps on the CPU of 66°C and 72°C on the GPU. This was whilst gaming at 1080p for a few hours.  The CPU temps seen by this system were hitting the max Tcase temp as stated by ark.intel which is not good to be honest. However I didn’t notice any thermal throttling during gameplay at 1080p, unfortunately I couldn’t test at 1440p so maybe that could incur some throttle. But as is I didn’t experience any. The GPU temp at 72°C was high, but nowhere near the max 94°C outlined by Nvidia.

Keep in mind that these temps were taken with an ambient room temp of around 26°C, so these will vary depending on how hot the ambient temp is in your room. But having a CPU hitting its max Tcase is not good, but CPU temps can also differ depending on your actual unit, so your temps again will vary.

Pricing

The final point of this review is cost and its not cheap. The unit I reviewed costs £830 without the OS, RAM or any hard drive. If you add those to the price then it works out at significantly more. Below are a few configuration options that would get you great performance and not add too much extra cost.

Config 1

Cost = £974.01

Config 2 if you want an SSD

  • OS – Windows 10 £39
  • Ram – 8GB Crucial 2133MHz SODIMM £57.52
  • M.2 SSD – WD 120GB 2280 £49.99
  • HDD – 1TB Seagate Barracuda £47.49

Cost = £1024

If  you opted to get config 1 you would be sacrificing loading times and possibly a slightly decreased gaming performance. It would still give you your 60 FPS at 1080p but you may lose a few FPS in some games. Config 2 would allow you to have a super fast M.2 for your OS and programmes as well as 1TB for mass storage. This option would be a great option if you want speed and need a lot of storage. Also both of the above configurations could be updated later down the line. Again these are just suggestions and you could obviously pick components to suit your needs.

Summary

To wrap this up, this Magnus 1060EN is a great bare bones system if you need something ultra compact to fit in a tight space or if you just want something smaller than a full tower. You’ve seen in the review that its plenty powerful for gaming and for productivity. It does have some drawbacks though. The temps are a little bit concerning and you need to supply the OS, RAM and hard drive. Back to the positives now and it offers full VR compatibility, has future proof connections, packs in a full quad core CPU and a GTX 1060. Yes the price is high, but you’re getting a  in a compact size that you probably couldn’t replicate with off the shelf components.  So to sum up, if space is at a premium and you want a solution that will give you a desktop grade gaming performance, this is it. If you have the space for a full tower then its a tougher sell.

Score 7/10

Pick one up here: www.overclockers.com/magnus1060

 

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