The Zino 410 HD HTPC is primarily built out of notebook components, and it is not possible for the average enthusiast to build such a system with off-the-shelf components. The only non-notebook component in the whole system was the hard disk, which we will note further down in this section.

Motherboard & Chipset : mini-ITX AMD M880G + SB820 Southbridge

The motherboard used in the Zino 410 HD HTPC is based on AMD's mainstream Danube notebook platform. The M880G chipset has the option of an integrated 4250 GPU, which is not used in our system. It provides support for upto 6 SATA ports, two of which are used internally by the Blu-Ray drive and the hard disk, while two make an appearance in the form of eSATA. The SPDIF and analog audio output are driven by the Realtek ALC662 audio codec chip.

The mini PCI-E slot is taken up by the Dell WLAN 1520 802.11n card which is capable of 300 Mbps. The two antennae from the card are wired in such a way as to come in between the top lid and the intermediate panel separating it from the rest of the computer.

The underside of the motherboard has a MXM graphics slot and another DIMM slot in addition to the one available on the top side.

CPU : AMD Phenom II X4 P940 @ 1.70 GHz

Compared to the ASRock Core 100 and Vision 3D which went in with 35W TDP processors, the Zino 410 HD HTPC comes with a 25W TDP AMD Phenom II X4 P940. This TDP is a result of the low clock rate (1.7 GHz) at which the processor runs. Manufactured in a 45nm process, the processor has 4 cores running a total of 4 threads. Though the processor has 512 KB of L1 cache and 2M of L2 cache, there is no L3 cache unlike the Phenom desktop processors.

GPU : ATI Mobility 5450 MXM

The only discrete GPU option in the Zino 410 series is the Mobility 5450. The MXM module is mounted on the underside of the motherboard. It is the 40 nm Park Pro GPU clocked at 675 MHz, and has 1 GB of DDR3 memory.

With a rated power consumption of 11 W, it doesn't require a complicated cooling solution like what the GT425M warranted in the ASRock Vision 3D.

DRAM : Samsung's 1 x 4GB DDR3 SO-DIMM @ 1333 MHz + Hynix's 1 x 2GB DDR3 SO-DIMM @ 1333 MHz

The Zino 410 ships with more RAM than necessary for HTPC purposes right now. We have two RAM sticking slots. The one on the top side of the motherboard was populated with Samsung's K4B2G0846C DRAM chips. On the underside, we have 2GB of Hynix's HMT325S6BFR8C DRAM chips running with the same specifications as the Samsung chips.

Hard Disk : Western Digital Caviar Black 750GB 7200 rpm 3.5"

We were quite surprised to find a 3.5" hard drive inside the unit. Considering that the rest of the components are from notebook platforms, a 2.5" hard drive would have made much more sense.

The Caviar Black 7200rpm is a well reviewed hard drive and provides more than acceptable performance for a HTPC. However, its power consumption profile only makes the thermal design (about which we will talk in the next section) more challenging.

Optical Disk Drive : Htachi-LG Blu-Ray / DVD RW Tray Loading Drive

The Zino 410 ships with the Hitachi-LG CT10N Blu-Ray / DVD RW tray loading drive.

A slot loading drive would have made the unit appear better, but that is a minor quibble which doesn't affect the functionality of the system.

Keyboard / Mouse / Remote

The Zino 410 also comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse (other options are also available) and a MCE remote. Batteries are also included.

The remote is exactly the same as the one which ships with the ASRock Vision 3D, only a different colour. The wireless keyboard / mouse combo adds $75 to the cost right now. Compared to some of the deals which keep going on for these wireless accessories, I would strongly recommend purchasing them separately. Quality of the wireless keyboard / mouse is no great shakes, and it just gets the job done. On a HTPC where you might not spend much time typing, it is good enough.

The cost of the review unit, when configured with the same components on Feb 17, 2011 was $775 + taxes. At this price, it is smack in the middle between the ASRock Core 100 and ASRock Vision 3D, the other SFF HTPCs in this segment. In the next few sections, we will check out how the Zino 410 fares in our tests.

Unboxing Impressions Zino 410's Thermal Design
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  • silverblue - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    ...would having two differently-sized SO-DIMMs have on system performance?

    I'd be tempted to take replace that 4GB module with a 2GB one just to see what happens. 6GB of RAM just doesn't compute. :)

    We seem to be getting a decent number of Dell-AMD systems lately... I only hope they take up Brazos with the same level of enthusiasm, because even if it did result in a small drop in performance, this review would've been largely the same in terms of gaming and video playback/quality, albeit with a much smaller footprint. Also, in that scenario, dual channel wouldn't matter as Fusion doesn't support it.
  • fabarati - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    If AMD has anything like Intels asynchronous dual channel, the first 4 GB will perform like dual channel, whilst the remaining 2 GB will perform like single channel.
  • Taft12 - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    Dual-channel memory was a scam from the beginning that has somehow survived to this day to make PC buyers think they needed to buy more memory than needed.

    Have you seen the benchmarks? ~1-2% benefit AT MOST for anything that's not a synthetic memory bandwidth test, regardless of platform.
  • fabarati - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    Didn't it help back in the P4 and/or P-M days? And how did it do in early Athlon 64 days?

    But yeah, Core Duo and newer doesn't really benefit from Dual channel, one
  • silverblue - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    Theoretically, dual channel would help APUs as they're bandwidth-limited.

    I suppose you're right about standard usage though, even raising memory clocks doesn't make for a sizeable performance advantage.
  • asmoma - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    Starcraft 2 is not a synthetic memory test, and it does benefit from going from 2 to three channels, just read some performance reviews of Starcraft 2.
  • DanNeely - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    The einstien@home applications benefitted from a 3rd channel on i7 quad cores; and the 2nd channel on C2 quads as well; high performance server farms/clusters/super computers are a significant segment of the market. On the i7-quad, E@H had a 66% speedup from the 2nd channel, and a 5% gain from the 3rd. Sandybridge gave a similar speedup from the 2nd channel. I can't find the thread with the C2Quad results, but IIRC they were a 10-25% speedup.

    I don't have benchmarks handy, but I suspect a heavily loaded DB server would also benefit from the extra memory bandwidth because the queries would result in a psudorandom memory access pattern that would limit the ability of the cache controller to prefetch most of the data being requested.
  • jeremyshaw - Friday, March 4, 2011 - link

    that actually had to do with uncore clocks, not memory channels.
  • vailr - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    How would a Mac Mini compare?
    Could a Mac Mini be retrofitted with a Blu-Ray drive (since Blu-Ray is available factory installed) and then run as a Windows HTPC?
  • tipoo - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    Why on earth would you buy a Mini to run as a Windows HTPC? You'd pay more for less performance.

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