Zotac ZBOX Mini-PC choice - advice requested

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Zotac ZBOX Mini-PC choice - advice requested

Postby droseraholic » Sat Jun 25, 2011 4:24 pm

Hi,

I am looking for a small "nettop"-style PC to act as both an occasional "spare" desktop PC (actually my main one for a couple of months until I can get a new laptop - my current one failed last week!), and as a low-wattage home (and development) server, and am particularly interested in the following ZOTAC ZBOX models:

ZOTAC ZBOX ID41 - http://pden.zotac.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=318&category_id=118&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

ZOTAC ZBOX AD02 - http://pden.zotac.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=334&category_id=118&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

The ZBOX ID41 is a dual-core Atom D525 with ION2, and ZBOX AD02 is a dual-core AMD E-350 APU Fusion System (Zacate). With both of these, you have to add RAM, a Hard Drive and install your own OS. Both models are of interest to me as they include both eSATA and USB 3.0 ports.

On paper, the AD02 has a better specification (RAM up to 8Gb, CPU that supports AMD-V virtualisation [so better VirtualBox performance? Useful to me], also reviews say the performance of Zacate is better than Atom, etc), but as I understand it, the Atom + Ion2 is better supported by Linux (at least currently). Both systems here in the UK are about the same price (£180 to £190) from various suppliers.

My main question is: which of these 2 would be the better choice to run under Linux, in particular Ubuntu? I understand the AMD system is newer so has less support at the moment, but would Ubuntu 11.04 install without major issues? I normally stick to LTS releases, but would be happy to install 11.04, and 11.10 later, before moving on to 12.04 LTS next year.

Also, I believe that nVidia currently has better hardware acceleration under Linux, but is AMD is likely to catch up eventually? Will AMD/ATI graphics eventually support Adobe Flash hardware acceleration in future?

Many thanks for any advice and help.
Kind regards,

Adam. :)
droseraholic
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:38 am
Location: Wales, UK

Postby droseraholic » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:20 pm

Just replying to my own post - in the end I got the ZBOX AD02 (AMD E-350), and crammed it with 8Gb DDR3 RAM and a 1Tb 2.5" drive, the whole lot came to less than £300, and it makes a great low energy test / development home & small office server, plus acting as a spare desktop PC (I've added a USB DVD-Writer too). The addition of 2 x USB3 ports and an eSATA port is a bonus when it comes to backups and expanding the storage capacity.

I currently have Ubuntu 11.04 (64 bit) installed, and will upgrade through 11.10 until 12.04 LTS and (hopefully!) stay with LTS releases from that point onwards (will install non-LTS Ubuntu, other Linux distros & Windows in VirtualBox VMs).
Kind regards,

Adam. :)
droseraholic
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:38 am
Location: Wales, UK


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