Zotac Zbox BI323

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Zotac Zbox BI323

MSRP
$149.99

  • Pros

    Compact. Inexpensive to buy and customize. Lots of USB ports.

  • Cons

    So-so performance. Does not include operating system.

  • Bottom Line

    For easily building a tiny, no-frills PC, the Zotac Zbox Bi323 offers a good blend of features, price, and performance.

By

Matthew Murray

Performance isn't always the most important characteristic to consider when buying a desktop PC—sometimes, price or portability may matter more. If this is the case with you, whether because you don't have a ton of money to spend but want to get a workable computer for the kids or because you want a computer that you can take with you literally anywhere, the Zotac Zbox BI323 bare-bones system ($149.99) may be a compelling choice.

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Measuring just 1.7 by 7.25 by 7.25 inches (HWD), the Zbox BI323 chassis is much smaller than most traditional tower PCs (and, for that matter, most traditional laptops). Its case is glossy black plastic, with a silver-gray strip along the edges. You can mount the Zbox either horizontally (four rubber feet on one side facilitate this) or vertically, and it comes with a decent selection of ports (including DisplayPort, VGA, and HDMI for video output; one USB-C and three USB 3.0 for connecting external devices; an SD card slot; and Ethernet for connecting to wired Internet networks (though 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 are supported).

Because the Zbox BI323 is a bare-bones system, you'll need to crack the case to add memory (up to 8GB of DDR3L-1600) and storage (a 2.5-inch hard or solid-state drive); the 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3150 processor is included. There's no room for a discrete video card, so the CPU's integrated Intel HD Graphics will have to suffice. You will also need to supply your own operating system as, unlike some ultrasmall PCs (such as the Intel Compute Stick), the Zbox BI323 does not come with one.

You won't see mind-boggling speed from that chip, so you shouldn't plan on doing intensive tasks like video editing, and the integrated graphics means that gaming is out, too. But as long as you keep in mind its limitations, and are willing to do the tinkering required to get the whole thing working, the Zotac Zbox BI323 presents a good balance of features and price.

For more details, check out the Zotac Zbox BI323 review at our sister site, ComputerShopper.com.

Matt Murray

By Matthew Murray
Managing Editor, Hardware

Matthew Murray got his humble start leading a technology-sensitive life in elementary school, where he struggled to satisfy his ravenous hunger for computers, computer games, and writing book reports in Integer BASIC. He earned his B.A. in Dramatic Writing at Western Washington University, where he also minored in Web design and German. He has been building computers for himself and others for more than 20 years, and he spent several years working in IT and helpdesk capacities before escaping into the far more exciting world…
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