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Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano Desktop Hands-On

Tiny Comet. Zotac's ZBOX Nano Desktop gets a Comet Lake upgrade. While the new CPU brings a small bump in performance, stagnant graphics and stability issues will leave some users dissatisfied. The more powerful Tiger Lake CPUs or Ryzen APUs may better meet the needs of most consumers. However, those who want a desktop with a small footprint may find the ZBOX Nano a decent option for home and office use.
Sam Medley, 👁 Allen Ngo,

ZOTAC's brand is synonymous with small form factor PCs, and for good reason. The company has built its business on the tiny computers it creates. Today's review unit is one of the latest from the company. ZOTAC is perhaps better known for cramming powerful desktop CPUs and graphics cards into impossibly small cases, but the company also caters to home and office users with a few devices. One such desktop is the subject of today's review, the ZOTAC ZBOC MI642 Nano.

The ZOTAC ZBOX MI642 Nano is a compact Comet Lake-powered PC crammed into a small footprint. The machine comes as a barebones kit, requiring buyers to provide their own RAM (DDR4) and storage (2.5-inch SATA drives only). We equipped our review unit with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM and a 500 GB WD Blue SSD. Our tests will show how well the ZBOX MI642 Nano fares as an office workhorse and home computer. 

While ZOTAC is a big name in the small form factor world, this particular market has become heavily saturated in recent years. The ZBOX MI642 Nano has quite a few competitors, including Intel's Frost Canyon NUC (NUC10i5FNK) and Coffee Lake-powered NUC8i7BE, Lenovo's ThinkCentre M90n Nano, and Beelink's GT-R mini PC

A quick note: while running our standard CPU stress test (running Prime95 on all threads for one hour), the ZBOX MI642 Nano shut down after about 30 minutes. We have not been able to boot the machine. As such, we were unable to complete our stress tests and our DPC latency analysis. It is likely this issue is isolated to our unit. We will update this review once Zotac has sent a replacement.

Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Processor
Intel Core i5-10210U 4 x 1.6 - 4.2 GHz, 15 W PL2 / Short Burst, 35 W PL2 / Sustained, Comet Lake-U
Graphics adapter
Intel UHD Graphics 620 - 1024 MB, Core: 1100 MHz, Memory: 1333 MHz, Intel UHD Graphics Driver 27.20.100.7990
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2666 / PC4-21300
Mainboard
Intel Comet Lake-U PCH-LP Premium
Soundcard
Realtek ALC295 @ Intel Comet Lake PCH-LP - cAVS
Connections
7 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: headphone jack, microphone jack, Card Reader: 3-in-1 (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Intel Wireless AC 9462 (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5)
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 51 x 128 x 126 ( = 2.01 x 5.04 x 4.96 in)
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Additional features
12 Months Warranty
Weight
472 g ( = 16.65 oz / 1.04 pounds), Power Supply: 326 g ( = 11.5 oz / 0.72 pounds)
Price
500 USD
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Height
Size
Resolution
Best Price
10/2020
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
i5-10210U, UHD Graphics 620
472 g51 mmx
02/2020
Intel NUC10i7FNH
i7-10710U, UHD Graphics 620
697 g51 mm0.00"0x0
02/2020
Intel NUC10i5FNK
i5-10210U, UHD Graphics 620
493 g36 mm0.00"0x0
11/2018
Intel NUC8i7BE
i7-8559U, Iris Plus Graphics 655
683 g51 mmx
08/2020
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
R5 3550H, Vega 8
843 g39 mmx
12/2019
Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano
i5-8265U, UHD Graphics 620
499 g22 mm0.00"x

Case and Connectivity

The ZOTAC ZBOX MI642 Nano is a tiny, square desktop. Its plastic chassis has a matte black finish that disguises the inexpensive material. Each side (save the front and rear panels) are covered in small perforations to help with airflow. Despite these holes, the case itself feels sturdy and firm. The finish also hides fingerprints and smudges, though users won't likely touch the case all that often.

There are small cutouts along the bottom to allow the included VESA mount to affix the machine to the back of a monitor. This brace is made of strong metal and painted black. When mounted, the ZBOX MI642 Nano feels secure in place and doesn't budge. 

Compared to other small desktops, the ZBOX MI642 Nano is on the larger side. Its cubic case is about as tall as the Frost Lake NUC's, but the ZOTAC is about 15 mm longer and wider than Intel's tiny computer. The ZBOX is a fair bit shorter than both the Beelink GT-R and Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n Nano but is also chunkier because of its square design. The ZBOX MI642 Nano is about 161 cm2 (~25 in2), so it should fit almost anywhere without much issue. As mentioned, it can also be tucked behind a display and kept out of sight.

Size Comparison

168 mm / 6.61 inch 120 mm / 4.72 inch 39 mm / 1.535 inch 843 g1.858 lbs179 mm / 7.05 inch 88 mm / 3.46 inch 22 mm / 0.866 inch 499 g1.1 lbs128 mm / 5.04 inch 126 mm / 4.96 inch 51 mm / 2.01 inch 472 g1.041 lbs117 mm / 4.61 inch 112 mm / 4.41 inch 51 mm / 2.01 inch 697 g1.537 lbs115 mm / 4.53 inch 111 mm / 4.37 inch 51 mm / 2.01 inch 683 g1.506 lbs117 mm / 4.61 inch 112 mm / 4.41 inch 36 mm / 1.417 inch 493 g1.087 lbs

Connectivity

Front: Power button, SD card reader, headphone jack, microphone jack, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Type-C, 1x USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) Type-A
Front: Power button, SD card reader, headphone jack, microphone jack, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Type-C, 1x USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) Type-A
Rear: WiFi antenna hookup, 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 4x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Type-A, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, DC in
Rear: WiFi antenna hookup, 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 4x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Type-A, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, DC in
SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Intel NUC8i7BE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
69 MB/s ∼100% +77%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
66.9 MB/s ∼97% +72%
Average of class Desktop
  (18.6 - 197, n=14)
59.8 MB/s ∼87% +54%
GMK NucBox K1
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-)
47.1 MB/s ∼68% +21%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
38.94 MB/s ∼56%
Zotac ZBOX-CI660 Nano
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
35 MB/s ∼51% -10%
Chuwi GBox CWI560
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
18.7 MB/s ∼27% -52%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M920z
 
18.61 MB/s ∼27% -52%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
85.4 MB/s ∼100% +103%
Intel NUC8i7BE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
85.02 MB/s ∼100% +102%
GMK NucBox K1
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-)
84.3 MB/s ∼99% +101%
Average of class Desktop
  (20.1 - 223, n=14)
69.1 MB/s ∼81% +65%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
42 MB/s ∼49%
Zotac ZBOX-CI660 Nano
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
37.73 MB/s ∼44% -10%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M920z
 
30.7 MB/s ∼36% -27%
Chuwi GBox CWI560
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
20.8 MB/s ∼24% -50%

Performance

The ZBOX MI642 Nano is aimed at home and office users. As such, it features a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U CPU.

The ZBOX is well-suited for its target audience. The CPU chews through office applications without breaking a sweat. However, the ZBOX struggles with media creation and gaming, so users that want to create movies, edit photos, or play games will want to look elsewhere.

Since the ZBOX is sold only as a barebones kit, maintenance is easy. Four thumbscrews (which also act as feet) hold the bottom panel on. Once these are removed, the bottom lifts away without any clips. Users will have immediate access to the two RAM slots and the 2.5-inch drive bay. The bracket in this bay will need to be unscrewed (Phillips Head #00) and affixed to the drive with two more included screws. Further disassembly is needed to access other components like the wireless card and CPU, though this is not recommended.

It should be noted that during our testing period, we experienced issues with the wireless card. WiFi connections were not reliable. While this didn't present an issue in day-to-day use (the dropped network would reconnect within a matter of seconds), it prevented us from thoroughly analyzing WiFi performance. Large transfers over WiFi may fail due to a connection interruption.

Four thumbscrews are all that separates users from the interior.
Four thumbscrews are all that separates users from the interior.
Easy access to RAM and storage.
Easy access to RAM and storage.
RAM slots and 2.5-inch storage bay populated.
RAM slots and 2.5-inch storage bay populated.

Processor

The CPU is a low-powered ULV processor rated at 15 W, which makes sense given the compact chassis. The low base clock (1.6 GHz) reduces heat output and power draw for basic tasks. The chip can boost up to 4.2 GHz on a single core (3.9 GHz across all four) for heavy tasks, though it can only sustain this boost for a short time in the ZBOX MI642 Nano. 

Performance is on par with other devices powered by the i5-10210U. The ZBOX falls just behind other small desktops with the same CPU in both single- and multi-threaded performance (based on Cinebench R20). The Comet Lake Core i7-10710U outshines the Nano by 15% in single-core performance. Multi-core testing puts the i7-10710U a staggering 95% ahead of the Nano, thanks in part to its two additional cores and four additional threads. AMD's mobile CPUs, notably the Ryzen 5-3550H (found in the Beelink GT-R) and Ryzen 7 4750U (used in the Lenovo ThinkPad X13) also edge out the Nano in multi-threaded performance by 34% and 148%, respectively.

Long-term CPU performance is stable. The ZBOX MI642 Nano put up consistent scores throughout our Cinebench R20 loop benchmark. There was no throttling detected during the test. 

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Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano Intel Core i5-10210U, Intel Core i5-10210U: Ø514 (504.41-521.83)
Intel NUC10i5FNK Intel Core i5-10210U, Intel Core i5-10210U: Ø755 (749.68-790.62)
Intel NUC8i7BE Intel Core i7-8559U, Intel Core i7-8559U: Ø665 (657.41-808.08)
Intel NUC8i7BE Intel Core i7-8559U, Intel Core i7-8559U: Ø681 (671.37-798.44)
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T AMD Ryzen 5 3550H, AMD Ryzen 5 3550H: Ø649 (494.25-672.07)
Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø513 (491.14-523.79)
Cinebench R20: CPU (Single Core) | CPU (Multi Core)
Cinebench R15: CPU Single 64Bit | CPU Multi 64Bit
Blender 2.79: BMW27 CPU
7-Zip 18.03: 7z b 4 -mmt1 | 7z b 4
Geekbench 5.1 - 5.3: 64 Bit Single-Core Score | 64 Bit Multi-Core Score
HWBOT x265 Benchmark v2.2: 4k Preset
LibreOffice : 20 Documents To PDF
R Benchmark 2.5: Overall mean
Cinebench R20 / CPU (Single Core)
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel Core i7-10710U
480 Points ∼100% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
475 Points ∼99% +14%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
466 Points ∼97% +11%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
447 Points ∼93% +7%
HP EliteBook 830 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U
444 Points ∼93% +6%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel Core i5-10210U
428 Points ∼89% +2%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Intel Core i5-10210U
418 Points ∼87%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U
  (322 - 428, n=26)
409 Points ∼85% -2%
LG Gram 15Z90N
Intel Core i5-1035G7
380 Points ∼79% -9%
Average of class Desktop
  (156 - 501, n=16)
351 Points ∼73% -16%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
347 Points ∼72% -17%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
Intel Celeron J4115
156 Points ∼33% -63%
Cinebench R20 / CPU (Multi Core)
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
2935 Points ∼100% +148%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
2401 Points ∼82% +103%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel Core i7-10710U
2303 Points ∼78% +95%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel Core i5-10210U
1820 Points ∼62% +54%
Average of class Desktop
  (304 - 5196, n=16)
1696 Points ∼58% +43%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
1691 Points ∼58% +43%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
1583 Points ∼54% +34%
HP EliteBook 830 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U
1516 Points ∼52% +28%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U
  (771 - 1820, n=26)
1280 Points ∼44% +8%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Intel Core i5-10210U
1183 Points ∼40%
LG Gram 15Z90N
Intel Core i5-1035G7
1043 Points ∼36% -12%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
Intel Celeron J4115
590 Points ∼20% -50%
Cinebench R15 / CPU Single 64Bit
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel Core i7-10710U
194 Points ∼100% +16%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
188 Points ∼97% +13%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
180 Points ∼93% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
184 Points ∼95% +10%
HP EliteBook 830 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U
182 Points ∼94% +9%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
174 Points ∼90% +4%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M920z
Intel Core i5-8500
172 Points ∼89% +3%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel Core i5-10210U
168 Points ∼87% +1%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Intel Core i5-10210U
167 Points ∼86%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U
  (154 - 174, n=31)
167 Points ∼86% 0%
LG Gram 15Z90N
Intel Core i5-1035G7
153 Points ∼79% -8%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano
Intel Core i5-8265U
148 Points ∼76% -11%
Average of class Desktop
  (68 - 218, n=40)
148 Points ∼76% -11%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
146 Points ∼75% -13%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
Intel Celeron J4115
71.1 Points ∼37% -57%
Cinebench R15 / CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
1287 (1057.08min - 1287.21max) Points ∼100% +147%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel Core i7-10710U
1067 Points ∼83% +104%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
973 Points ∼76% +86%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M920z
Intel Core i5-8500
950 Points ∼74% +82%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
808 Points ∼63% +55%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
798 (671.37min - 798.44max) Points ∼62% +53%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel Core i5-10210U
790 Points ∼61% +51%
Average of class Desktop
  (188 - 2302, n=42)
738 Points ∼57% +41%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
672 (494.25min - 672.07max) Points ∼52% +29%
HP EliteBook 830 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U
658 (598.31min - 772.22max) Points ∼51% +26%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U
  (478 - 790, n=31)
611 Points ∼47% +17%
LG Gram 15Z90N
Intel Core i5-1035G7
539 Points ∼42% +3%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano
Intel Core i5-8265U
524 Points ∼41% 0%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Intel Core i5-10210U
522 (504.41min - 521.83max) Points ∼41%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
Intel Celeron J4115
263 (207.57min - 262.65max) Points ∼20% -50%
Blender 2.79 / BMW27 CPU
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
Intel Celeron J4115
2380 Seconds * ∼100% -167%
LG Gram 15Z90N
Intel Core i5-1035G7
1074.6 Seconds * ∼45% -20%
Average of class Desktop
  (208 - 3527, n=17)
1016 Seconds * ∼43% -14%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Intel Core i5-10210U
892 Seconds * ∼37%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U
  (585 - 1339, n=20)
853 Seconds * ∼36% +4%
HP EliteBook 830 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U
695 Seconds * ∼29% +22%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
682 Seconds * ∼29% +24%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
650 Seconds * ∼27% +27%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
670 Seconds * ∼28% +25%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
593.4 Seconds * ∼25% +33%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel Core i5-10210U
584.9 Seconds * ∼25% +34%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M920z
Intel Core i5-8500
494.76 Seconds * ∼21% +45%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel Core i7-10710U
468.3 Seconds * ∼20% +47%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
403 Seconds * ∼17% +55%
7-Zip 18.03 / 7z b 4 -mmt1
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
6171 MIPS ∼100% +43%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
4826 MIPS ∼78% +12%
HP EliteBook 830 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U
4794 MIPS ∼78% +11%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel Core i7-10710U
4727 MIPS ∼77% +10%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M920z
Intel Core i5-8500
4513 MIPS ∼73% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
4438 MIPS ∼72% +3%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Intel Core i5-10210U
4303 MIPS ∼70%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
4288 MIPS ∼69% 0%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel Core i5-10210U
4253 MIPS ∼69% -1%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U
  (3504 - 4467, n=20)
4207 MIPS ∼68% -2%
LG Gram 15Z90N
Intel Core i5-1035G7
4091 MIPS ∼66% -5%
Average of class Desktop
  (2132 - 6171, n=18)
3905 MIPS ∼63% -9%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
3543 MIPS ∼57% -18%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
Intel Celeron J4115
2215 MIPS ∼36% -49%
7-Zip 18.03 / 7z b 4
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
37081 MIPS ∼100% +118%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
30570 MIPS ∼82% +80%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
22033 MIPS ∼59% +30%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel Core i7-10710U
29948 MIPS ∼81% +76%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
23610 MIPS ∼64% +39%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M920z
Intel Core i5-8500
23200 MIPS ∼63% +37%
HP EliteBook 830 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U
21925 MIPS ∼59% +29%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel Core i5-10210U
21679 MIPS ∼58% +28%
Average of class Desktop
  (6040 - 60747, n=18)
20978 MIPS ∼57% +24%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Intel Core i5-10210U
16971 MIPS ∼46%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U
  (10950 - 21679, n=20)
16772 MIPS ∼45% -1%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
16683 MIPS ∼45% -2%
LG Gram 15Z90N
Intel Core i5-1035G7
13921 MIPS ∼38% -18%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
Intel Celeron J4115
8098 MIPS ∼22% -52%
Geekbench 5.1 - 5.3 / 64 Bit Single-Core Score
HP EliteBook 830 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U
1274 Points ∼100% +15%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel Core i7-10710U
1229 Points ∼96% +11%
LG Gram 15Z90N
Intel Core i5-1035G7
1163 Points ∼91% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
1157 Points ∼91% +4%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Intel Core i5-10210U
1111 Points ∼87%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel Core i5-10210U
1099 Points ∼86% -1%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
1098 Points ∼86% -1%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U
  (1014 - 1133, n=21)
1080 Points ∼85% -3%
Average of class Desktop
  (388 - 1745, n=13)
948 Points ∼74% -15%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
903 Points ∼71% -19%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
723 Points ∼57% -35%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
Intel Celeron J4115
388 Points ∼30% -65%
Geekbench 5.1 - 5.3 / 64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel Core i7-10710U
5839 Points ∼100% +51%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
5600 Points ∼96% +44%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
4646 Points ∼80% +20%
Average of class Desktop
  (1353 - 10244, n=13)
3942 Points ∼68% +2%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel Core i5-10210U
3939 Points ∼67% +2%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Intel Core i5-10210U
3877 Points ∼66%
HP EliteBook 830 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U
3671 Points ∼63% -5%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
3660 Points ∼63% -6%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U
  (2079 - 4256, n=21)
3557 Points ∼61% -8%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
3203 Points ∼55% -17%
LG Gram 15Z90N
Intel Core i5-1035G7
2713 Points ∼46% -30%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
Intel Celeron J4115
1410 Points ∼24% -64%
HWBOT x265 Benchmark v2.2 / 4k Preset
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
8.33 fps ∼100% +101%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel Core i7-10710U
7.95 fps ∼95% +92%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M920z
Intel Core i5-8500
7.86 fps ∼94% +89%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
6.72 fps ∼81% +62%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel Core i5-10210U
6.28 fps ∼75% +51%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
5.9 fps ∼71% +42%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
5.523 fps ∼66% +33%
Average of class Desktop
  (0.65 - 16.8, n=20)
5.33 fps ∼64% +28%
HP EliteBook 830 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U
5.16 fps ∼62% +24%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U
  (2.66 - 6.28, n=20)
4.29 fps ∼52% +3%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Intel Core i5-10210U
4.15 fps ∼50%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
4.1 fps ∼49% -1%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
Intel Celeron J4115
1.49 fps ∼18% -64%
LibreOffice / 20 Documents To PDF
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
Intel Celeron J4115
150 s ∼100% +118%
Average of class Desktop
  (57 - 367, n=9)
116 s ∼77% +69%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
74.9 s ∼50% +9%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Intel Core i5-10210U
68.8 s ∼46%
HP EliteBook 830 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U
67.8 s ∼45% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
58.4 s ∼39% -15%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
58.19 s ∼39% -15%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U
  (49.6 - 80.3, n=15)
56.7 s ∼38% -18%
LG Gram 15Z90N
Intel Core i5-1035G7
32.26 s ∼22% -53%
R Benchmark 2.5 / Overall mean
Average of class Desktop
  (0.548 - 1.885, n=13)
0.958 sec * ∼100% -38%
LG Gram 15Z90N
Intel Core i5-1035G7
0.811 sec * ∼85% -17%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
0.737 sec * ∼77% -6%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U
  (0.658 - 0.901, n=20)
0.729 sec * ∼76% -5%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel Core i5-10210U
0.72 sec * ∼75% -4%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Intel Core i5-10210U
0.695 sec * ∼73%
HP EliteBook 830 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U
0.651 sec * ∼68% +6%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel Core i7-10710U
0.649 sec * ∼68% +7%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
0.639 sec * ∼67% +8%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Core i7-8559U
0.6275 sec * ∼66% +10%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
0.613 sec * ∼64% +12%
Cinebench R20: CPU (Single Core) | CPU (Multi Core)
Cinebench R15: CPU Single 64Bit | CPU Multi 64Bit
Blender 2.79: BMW27 CPU
7-Zip 18.03: 7z b 4 -mmt1 | 7z b 4
Geekbench 5.1 - 5.3: 64 Bit Single-Core Score | 64 Bit Multi-Core Score
HWBOT x265 Benchmark v2.2: 4k Preset
LibreOffice : 20 Documents To PDF
R Benchmark 2.5: Overall mean

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
522 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
53.5 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
167 Points
Help

System Performance

As the ZBOX MI642 Nano is designed for basic office and home work, it handles most tasks reasonably well. The ZBOX keeps up with most other SFF desktops in PCMark 10, save for the Digital Content Creation test. Here, the Intel UHD Graphics 620 is the choke point. The iGPU is good enough for media consumption (streaming, video conferencing) but it not well-suited for photo or video editing.

PCMark 10
PCMark 10
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Average of class Desktop
  (972 - 11987, n=28)
4037 Points ∼28% +35%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Iris Plus Graphics 655, i7-8559U
4007 Points ∼27% +34%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
Vega 8, R5 3550H, Silicon Motion AZW 512G NV428
3835 Points ∼26% +28%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10710U, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3256GJ1
3777 Points ∼26% +26%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
UHD Graphics 620, i5-10210U, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3256GJ1
3296 Points ∼23% +10%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2487 - 4463, n=26)
3085 Points ∼21% +3%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
UHD Graphics 620, i5-10210U, Western Digital WD Blue 3D WDBNCE5000PNC
3000 Points ∼21%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano
UHD Graphics 620, i5-8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
2917 Points ∼20% -3%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
UHD Graphics 600, Celeron J4115, 128 GB eMMC Flash
1110 Points ∼8% -63%
Productivity
Intel NUC8i7BE
Iris Plus Graphics 655, i7-8559U
7236 Points ∼65% +14%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10710U, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3256GJ1
6876 Points ∼62% +9%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (5990 - 7317, n=26)
6681 Points ∼60% +5%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
UHD Graphics 620, i5-10210U, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3256GJ1
6494 Points ∼58% +3%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
Vega 8, R5 3550H, Silicon Motion AZW 512G NV428
6420 Points ∼58% +1%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano
UHD Graphics 620, i5-8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
6337 Points ∼57% 0%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
UHD Graphics 620, i5-10210U, Western Digital WD Blue 3D WDBNCE5000PNC
6333 Points ∼57%
Average of class Desktop
  (2883 - 8515, n=28)
6151 Points ∼55% -3%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
UHD Graphics 600, Celeron J4115, 128 GB eMMC Flash
2969 Points ∼27% -53%
Essentials
Intel NUC10i7FNH
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10710U, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3256GJ1
9013 Points ∼79% +16%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Iris Plus Graphics 655, i7-8559U
8994 Points ∼79% +16%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
Vega 8, R5 3550H, Silicon Motion AZW 512G NV428
8575 Points ∼75% +10%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano
UHD Graphics 620, i5-8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
8551 Points ∼75% +10%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (7172 - 10000, n=26)
8494 Points ∼74% +9%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
UHD Graphics 620, i5-10210U, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3256GJ1
8235 Points ∼72% +6%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
UHD Graphics 620, i5-10210U, Western Digital WD Blue 3D WDBNCE5000PNC
7787 Points ∼68%
Average of class Desktop
  (4418 - 10598, n=28)
7776 Points ∼68% 0%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
UHD Graphics 600, Celeron J4115, 128 GB eMMC Flash
4837 Points ∼42% -38%
Score
Intel NUC8i7BE
Iris Plus Graphics 655, i7-8559U
4580 Points ∼52% +21%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10710U, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3256GJ1
4418 Points ∼50% +17%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
Vega 8, R5 3550H, Silicon Motion AZW 512G NV428
4269 Points ∼49% +13%
Average of class Desktop
  (1658 - 7329, n=28)
4057 Points ∼46% +7%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
UHD Graphics 620, i5-10210U, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3256GJ1
4019 Points ∼46% +6%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3686 - 4353, n=26)
4003 Points ∼46% +6%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano
UHD Graphics 620, i5-8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3876 Points ∼44% +2%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
UHD Graphics 620, i5-10210U, Western Digital WD Blue 3D WDBNCE5000PNC
3791 Points ∼43%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
UHD Graphics 600, Celeron J4115, 128 GB eMMC Flash
1803 Points ∼21% -52%
PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2
Intel NUC8i7BE
Iris Plus Graphics 655, i7-8559U
4674 Points ∼75% +35%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10710U, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3256GJ1
3938 Points ∼64% +14%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
Vega 8, R5 3550H, Silicon Motion AZW 512G NV428
3755 Points ∼61% +9%
Average of class Desktop
  (1928 - 5418, n=30)
3752 Points ∼61% +9%
Average Intel Core i5-10210U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3182 - 4284, n=20)
3619 Points ∼58% +5%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
UHD Graphics 620, i5-10210U, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3256GJ1
3526 Points ∼57% +2%
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
UHD Graphics 620, i5-10210U, Western Digital WD Blue 3D WDBNCE5000PNC
3455 Points ∼56%
Chuwi LarkBox 4K Mini PC
UHD Graphics 600, Celeron J4115, 128 GB eMMC Flash
2036 Points ∼33% -41%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3455 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4879 points
PCMark 10 Score
3791 points
Help

Storage Devices

The ZBOX has room for only one 2.5-inch SATA drive; faster NVMe drives are not supported. 

We tested our unit with a 500 GB WD Blue 3D NAND SSD, which offers consistent and adequate read and write speeds. The drive is not as fast as other solutions on the market but balances cost and storage space, which may entice cost-conscious home and office users. Other small desktop options, such as the BeeLink GT-R, have support for more drive options, including multiple NVMe drive bays. 

CrystalDiskMark 6.0.2
CrystalDiskMark 6.0.2
AS SSD
AS SSD
AS SSD Copy benchmark
AS SSD Copy benchmark
Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano
Western Digital WD Blue 3D WDBNCE5000PNC
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Kingston RBUSNS8154P3256GJ1
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Kingston RBUSNS8154P3256GJ1
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
Silicon Motion AZW 512G NV428
Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Average Western Digital WD Blue 3D WDBNCE5000PNC
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
Write 4K
105.9
442.4
318%
58.43
-45%
161.9
53%
130
23%
106
0%
Read 4K
39.15
371.1
848%
30.24
-23%
52.76
35%
45.61
17%
39.2
0%
Write 4K Q32T1
320.5
373.8
17%
448.5
40%
285
-11%
365.3
14%
321
0%
Read 4K Q32T1
342.1
374.9
10%
391.4
14%
324
-5%
350.2
2%
342
0%
Write Seq Q32T1
513.7
893
74%
914.4
78%
1578.8
207%
2985.9
481%
514
0%
Read Seq Q32T1
554.3
1581.5
185%
1583
186%
2017.9
264%
3564.9
543%
554
0%
Write 4K Q8T8
330.8
399.1
21%
402.3
22%
529.6
60%
368.7
11%
331
0%
Read 4K Q8T8
391.8
687.9
76%
679.8
74%
738.1
88%
789.7
102%
392
0%
AS SSD
Copy Game MB/s
248.87
734.57
195%
471.17
89%
658.13
164%
249
0%
Copy Program MB/s
191.93
346.04
80%
328.85
71%
261.71
36%
192
0%
Copy ISO MB/s
482.52
976.28
102%
576.38
19%
1228.29
155%
483
0%
Score Total
1023
1944
90%
1955
91%
2377
132%
2716
165%
1023
0%
Score Write
324
762
135%
765
136%
1054
225%
1305
303%
324
0%
Score Read
457
804
76%
808
77%
869
90%
942
106%
457
0%
Access Time Write *
0.095
0.07
26%
0.07
26%
0.114
-20%
0.032
66%
0.095
-0%
Access Time Read *
0.103
0.114
-11%
0.11
-7%
0.063
39%
0.039
62%
0.103
-0%
4K-64 Write
193.74
647.56
234%
641.66
231%
813.84
320%
1073.77
454%
194
0%
4K-64 Read
369.37
651.73
76%
650.04
76%
695.76
88%
726.4
97%
369
0%
4K Write
88.54
53.52
-40%
61.35
-31%
98.55
11%
116.47
32%
88.5
0%
4K Read
36.75
21.53
-41%
26.44
-28%
35.27
-4%
48.46
32%
36.8
0%
Seq Write
413.77
611
48%
616
49%
1413.39
242%
1150.28
178%
414
0%
Seq Read
506.95
1306
158%
1318
160%
1382.19
173%
1668.47
229%
507
0%

* ... smaller is better

Western Digital WD Blue 3D WDBNCE5000PNC
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 554.3 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 513.7 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 342.1 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 320.5 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 39.15 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 105.9 MB/s
CDM 6 Write 4K Q8T8: 330.8 MB/s
CDM 6 Read 4K Q8T8: 391.8 MB/s

Graphics Performance and Gaming

Unlike some of ZOTAC's other small desktops, the ZBOX MI642 Nano is not intended for graphical work. The onboard Intel UHD Graphics 620 iGPU is decent enough for streaming content and simple photo touch-ups, but it struggles with moderately complex image editing and is not suited for video editing.

Gaming is also out of the question; the box can handle light titles at the lowest resolutions and settings, but modern 3D games are far out of reach. Most will even refuse to load. 

Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Extreme
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Average of class Desktop
  (433 - 43404, n=32)
7675 Points ∼100% +523%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15IIL05
NVIDIA GeForce MX350, Intel Core i5-1035G1
4457 Points ∼58% +262%
Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen1-20S7S02U00
NVIDIA GeForce MX330, Intel Core i7-10510U
3581 Points ∼47% +191%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Radeon RX Vega 7, AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
3019 Points ∼39% +145%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 (Ryzen 4000), AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
2876 Points ∼37% +133%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 (Ryzen 2000/3000), AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
2737 Points ∼36% +122%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i7-8559U
2260 Points ∼29% +83%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-10710U
1418 Points ∼18% +15%
450
450
1232 Points ∼16%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-10210U
1202 Points ∼16% -2%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1183 Points ∼15% -4%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (557 - 1420, n=199)
1152 Points ∼15% -6%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Average of class Desktop
  (3366 - 182888, n=27)
26824 Points ∼100% +167%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15IIL05
NVIDIA GeForce MX350, Intel Core i5-1035G1
24744 Points ∼92% +146%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13-20UGS00800
AMD Radeon RX Vega 7, AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
22904 Points ∼85% +128%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 (Ryzen 4000), AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
22247 Points ∼83% +121%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 (Ryzen 2000/3000), AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
18901 Points ∼70% +88%
Intel NUC8i7BE
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i7-8559U
16698 Points ∼62% +66%
Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen1-20S7S02U00
NVIDIA GeForce MX330, Intel Core i7-10510U
15595 Points ∼58% +55%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-10710U
11065 Points ∼41% +10%
450
450
10057 Points ∼37%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
9590 Points ∼36% -5%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (6910 - 11436, n=212)
9229 Points ∼34% -8%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-10210U
9113 Points ∼34% -9%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics
Average of class Desktop
  (14600 - 435092, n=14)
118555 Points ∼100%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ARE05
AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 (Ryzen 4000), AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
93183 Points ∼79%
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15IIL05
NVIDIA GeForce MX350, Intel Core i5-1035G1
85655 Points ∼72%
Beelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 (Ryzen 2000/3000), AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
69477 Points ∼59%
Intel NUC10i7FNH
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-10710U
48446 Points ∼41%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (29002 - 59483, n=67)
43372 Points ∼37%
Intel NUC10i5FNK
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-10210U
40532 Points ∼34%
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
8616 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1131 points
Help

Emissions & Power Consumption

System Noise

Fan noise profile.
Fan noise profile.

The ZBOX has a single fan inside of its heat sink array. The fan is always spinning when the machine is in use, creating a low but constant hum that cannot be heard from about 24 inches from the device. Under heavy load, the fan ramps up steadily to 44 dB(A). Its pitch cuts through atmospheric noise, making the fan noticeable in a quiet office.

Noise Level

Idle
27.8 / 33.9 / 33.9 dB(A)
Load
43.7 / 43.7 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Earthworks M23R, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 27.8 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs202727.625.927.42528.229.727.928.63128.331.529.829.54028.33125.828.45045.232.334456343.842.742.7448026.625.925.42910027.327.526.631.812538.538.638.240.916026.224.823.729.12002933.724.132.725048.2322647.831540.929.222.541.340026.622.219.32750033.324.715.629.863028.320.913.727.180028.520.212.629.210002718.812.727.1125027.220.312.527.2160033.623.812.733.7200033.323.912.533.4250027.317.812.227.6315022.914.911.823.9400021.716.712.122.3500022.719.712.422.8630018.616.811.918.8800015.914.512161000019.318.412.219.61250015.815.211.815.91600012.212.211.512.3SPL43.733.927.843.7N4.32.114.3median 27.2median 20.3median 12.6median 27.2Delta5.34.24.95.240.633.935.237.435.932.629.92931.832.235.133.934.834.635.228.522.426.324.729.125.822.625.82429.72524.633.732.430.726.421.821.525.726.427.421.121.61926.42522.620.919.627.526.822.52117.526.22722.618.91726.928.926.318.716.229.53027.818.616.529.532.327.318.614.732.333.327.918.113.734.135.229.820.313.535.537.832.323.312.63839.334.425.312.139.439.33320.312.239.241.834.319.812.241.441.835.119.512.742.144.334.917.912.644.24231.618.113.142.241.431.216.113.341.437.226.615.613.637.132.321.714.613.732.628.418.21513.728.523.716.915.413.723.519.62115.313.518.716.11814.513.415.751.943.931.525.4527.34.11.50.77.4median 32.3median 27.3median 18.6median 13.6median 32.66.25.31.91.36.2hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseZotac ZBOX MI642 NanoBeelink GTR35 II-G-16512D00W64PRO-1T

Temperature

The ZBOX MI642 Nano manages heat output reasonably well. Because of its small case, there is little room for airflow through the case. The chassis gets toasty under load as a result, reaching 50° C over the CPU. As such, nothing should be placed on top of the case so as not to restrict airflow or choke heat dissipation. Keep in mind that air is sucked in through the right side of the machine and heat is exhausted out the left; these vents should be left unobstructed.

We could not adequately analyze the machine's performance or processor temperatures under stress as the ZBOX shut down halfway through our standard CPU stress test (running Prime95 for an hour). After it shut down, we were unable to boot the machine or get it to reliably POST. This issue likely affects only our unit.

Idle, left side
Idle, left side
Idle, rear
Idle, rear
Load, left side
Load, left side
Load, rear
Load, rear

Power Consumption

Thanks to its ULV processor, the ZBOX MI642 Nano consumes little power. When idle, the machine draws less than 10 Watts. Under load, the ZBOX pulls about 33 Watts on average with an initial spike north of 50 Watts. Considering the AC adapter is rated at 65 Watts, this is within reason. There was no peculiar power draw behavior during our tests.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.46 / 0.47 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 8.9 / 9 / 9.9 Watt
Load midlight 33 / 58 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Pros

+ very compact case
+ solid VESA mounting system
+ easy access to RAM and storage
+ adequate performance
+ quiet under light load (office work, etc.)
+ good port selection

Cons

- No Thunderbolt 3
- plastic construction feels cheap
- only supports SATA drives, no NVMe
- weak graphics performance
- no internal speakers

Preliminary Verdict

In review: ZOTAC ZBOX MI642 Nano. Review unit provided by ZOTAC.
In review: ZOTAC ZBOX MI642 Nano. Review unit provided by ZOTAC.

The ZOTAC ZBOX MI642 Nano is not a remarkable device, especially for US$500. It doesn't break any boundaries by cramming a powerful GPU into a small case. It doesn't boast any unique features. In that regard, the ZBOX MI642 Nano fails to stand out among the growing ocean of small form factor desktops.

In fact, the ZBOX MI642 Nano falls short in some key areas, most notably storage options and port selection. The lack of NVMe support sticks out like a sore thumb, considering many small desktops support the speedy format. Additionally, the absence of Thunderbolt severely limits the adaptability of the ZBOX MI642 Nano. 

What the ZOTAC ZBOX MI642 Nano does well, though, is offer reliable computing performance. The Core i5-10210U remains consistent, even under extended load, making it a good option for office workers that need a steady machine for 8+ hours a day. Its compact footprint and solid VESA mount may also be attractive for users that want to tuck their machine out of sight.

We do have to note the issue our particular unit encountered during our stress test; while running Prime95, the device shut off. We have not been able to get the machine to boot since. It is very likely this issue is relegated to our unit and not the cause of a systemic problem, but it prevented us from adequately analyzing certain tests (e.g., DPC latency). 

The ZBOX's main competition comes out on top in multiple areas. For roughly $150-200 more, the Beelink GT-R offers slightly better CPU performance, significantly better graphics, and includes 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, a speedy NVMe SSD, and a large SATA hard drive. For the same cost as the ZBOX MI642 Nano, Intel's Frost Canyon NUC boasts the same CPU in a smaller package and has support for an NVMe drive, though it sheds some ports. 

For the money, the ZOTAC ZBOX MI642 Nano offers consistent CPU performance in a compact case. However, it is outclassed by many other small form factor options currently on the market.

While we were not able to test some areas of our analysis due to a system failure, we plan to retest the ZOTAC ZBOX MI642 Nano once we receive a replacement unit.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Zotac ZBOX MI642 Nano Desktop Hands-On
Sam Medley, 2020-10-19 (Update: 2020-10-19)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.