How do you match the performance of a high-end gaming PC in a chassis that’s two-thirds the size of an Xbox One? Lots and lots of practice. Zotac has long been a purveyor of mini-PCs, with the company launching its first offering all the way back in 2008. Its latest offering, the Zbox Magnus EN1070, features NVIDIA’s Pascal-based GTX 1070 (the full-fledged variant) combined with an Intel Core i5-6400T.
The result is a machine — slightly larger than your average router in size — that can run rings around any game console available today. Mini-PCs are on the rise as their compact size allows them to be tucked away underneath a TV cabinet, making PC gaming a viable option in the living room without the added clutter of a full-blown gaming rig.
The Magnus EN1070 is the mid-tier offering in Zotac’s high-end gaming mini-PC lineup. The EN1060 — which has a GTX 1060 — makes up the entry-level model, whereas the GTX 1080-powered Magnus EN1080 is the most powerful variant of the lot. The EN1060 and EN1070 look identical, but the EN1080 features water cooling and comes in a slightly larger chassis.
All three models are sold as barebones units, which means that the CPU, GPU and motherboard are soldered onto the chassis, but you have the option of installing your own RAM and SSD. You’ll also need your own copy of Windows.
ProcessorIntel Core i5-6400T (quad-core, 2.2 GHz, up to 2.8 GHz)
ChipsetIntel 100 Series, NVIDIA
System Memory2 x DDR4-1866/2133 SODIMM Slots (up to 32GB)
Graphics EngineGeForce® GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5 256-bit
Video Output2 x HDMI 2.0
2 x DisplayPort 1.3
Hard Drive1 x 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gbps HDD/SSD bay
M.21 x M.2 PCIEx4 / SATA SSD slot (22/42,22/60,22/80)
Card Reader3-in-1 (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
USB Port2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
1 x USB 3.1
2x USB 2.0
LANDual Gigabit LAN
Antenna1 x WiFI SMA connetor
CIR Infrared PortYes
LED IndicatorsPower, HDD, WiFi
Power SupplyAC Adapter
O/P: DC 19.5V/180W
Cooling systemFan + Heatsink
ZBOX Dimensions210mm x 203mm x 62.2mm
Supported OSWindows 8.1/10 (32/64-bit)
Quick Install Guide
USB drive with O/S driver
The Magnus EN1070 doesn’t have a distinct design, and that works in Zotac’s favor. When tucked away in your living room entertainment stack, it doesn’t call any attention to itself, and its subdued design — it’s just a black box with a glossy front panel — makes it look almost like a set-top box.
The styling definitely does not reflect the sheer performance on offer with the Magnus EN1070, and while it blends in with ease, it doesn’t necessarily scream high-end PC. It would’ve worked out to Zotac’s advantage if the Magnus picked up a few styling cues from the manufacturer’s current-generation video cards. Zotac’s GTX 1080 looks imposing thanks to the grey and yellow paint scheme along with the software-controlled LED lighting, and the Magnus EN1070 would have benefitted with some of that design flair.
However, doing so would likely have led to an increase in the size of the chassis. Moving on from the design to the port configuration, the Magnus EN1070 offers a wealth of I/O options at the front and rear, with the front of the chassis featuring a card reader, USB 3.1 port, USB-C port, and audio connectors.
Round the back, you have the slot for the Wi-Fi ac connector, two DisplayPort ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, two USB 2.0 along with two USB 3.0 ports as well as dual Gigabit Ethernet ports.
Cramming an Intel Core i5-6400T and a GTX 1070 in a box that isn’t much larger than your set-top box means heat dissipation is a real issue. Zotac managed to figure that out by essentially building a large copper heatsink and pipes that siphon heat away from the unit. The low-profile fan also aids in cooling the system down.
You can easily install the RAM and storage by removing the thumbscrews at the back. There are two SO-DIMM RAM slots that can take up to 32GB of memory, an M.2 slot, a 2.5-inch SATA enclosure, and a mini-PCIe slot that’s taken up by the Wi-Fi ac card. Installing the memory modules and storage takes just a few minutes, and should you need a visual guide, Zotac’s user manual has an easy reference on how to install an SSD in the M.2 slot.
The CPU itself is a quad-core desktop part with a TDP of 35W, with a base clock of 2.2GHz and a boost clock of 2.8GHz.
As for the GTX 1070, the GPU is clocked at 1443MHz, with a boost of 1645MHz. It is clocked slightly lower than its desktop sibling, and it makes sense considering the limitations of the mini-PC form factor. As such, there’s a 10% difference in performance from the desktop SKU.
Let’s kick things off with 3DMark, the industry standard for testing video cards. The GTX 1070 variant in the EN1070 offers 90% of the performance of the desktop SKU, and the scores highlight the same.
3DMark Time Spy
3DMark Fire Strike
AIDA64’s benchmark tests also provide a quick look at how the hardware fares in real-world scenarios.
I slotted a WD Blue SSD and an M.2 Samsung Evo 850 into the Magnus EN1070 to test the read and write speeds. First up, we have the Evo 850 SSD:
The WD Blue 250GB SSD manages to hold its own, exceeding the 850 in a few areas:
When it comes to thermal management, the heatsink and the fan do a great job of ensuring that the chassis stays cool. You’ll be able to hear the fan when the system boots up, but in day-to-day usage, it runs fairly quiet.
With the Magnus EN1070, Zotac sets the standard for high-end mini-PCs. The chassis itself is unobtrusive, and the sheer power on tap means that it can handle even the most visually-intensive titles with aplomb. The hardware crammed into the chassis also means that you can drive VR headsets like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift from the Magnus EN1070 without any hassles, making it a much more enticing alternative when seen against a full-fledged gaming rig.
The one drawback with the EN1070 is the cost — there’s no getting around the fact that at $1,049, the mini-PC costs nearly three times as much as game consoles if you figure in the added costs for the memory modules, storage, and a Windows installation.
The EN1070 is infinitely more upgradeable than your average game console, but the high cost is likely to limit its appeal to a mainstream audience. The sells for the equivalent of $1,360 (SGD 1,899) on Lazada, but if you’re looking for a small form factor machine with great hardware prowess, there isn’t a better option available.