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Dell PCs cram multimedia power into tiny package

Nov 13, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Dell announced a miniature PC using single- or dual-core AMD processors that is available with Ubuntu Linux. Starting at approximately $230, the Inspiron Zino HD sports up to 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard disk drive, comes in ten different colors, and is available with discrete graphics, the company says.

While the Inspiron Zino HD measures just 7.8 x 7.8 x 3.4 inches, it should not be confused with a low-power "nettop" PC. Instead, says Dell, the device is a full-blown multimedia PC in miniature, offering "amazing performance," an HDMI video output, and an internal optical drive that's offered in both DVD and Blu-ray versions.

Dell offers the Zino HD with a choice of four different AMD processors, none of which has been well-documented by the chipmaker itself. The two single-core choices are the Athlon 2650e, clocked at 1.6GHz with a 15 Watt TDP, and the Athlon 2850e, clocked at 1.8GHz with a 22 Watt TDP. The two dual-core choices are the Athlon X2 3250e (1.5GHz, with a 22 Watt TDP) and the Athlon Neo X2 6850e (1.8GHz, TDP unknown).

Dell's Zino HD

According to Dell, the systems come standard with ATI's integrated Radeon HD3200 graphics, but are also available with a $75 ATI Radeon HD440 discrete graphics card, with its own 512MB of dedicated memory. All versions are said to be capable of HD video playback, and come with HDMI ports.

The $230 base model of the Zino HD includes the Athlon 2650e processor, 2GB of RAM, integrated graphics, Windows Vista and a 250GB, 7200rpm hard disk drive, says Dell. Other models, all equipped with Windows 7, vary in price up to a $1,024 system that includes the Athlon Neo X2 6850e, discrete graphics, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard disk drive, and a Blu-ray drive.

According to Dell, the Inspiron Zino HD is also available with Ubuntu Linux, although configurations are not mentioned, and the Linux version does not yet appear to be available from the company's online store.

Dell's Zino HD is offered with nine different covers for its case

In every case, the Inspiron Zino HD includes wireless networking (802.11b/g or 802.11a/b/g/n), four USB 2.0 connectors (two front, two rear), audio I/O (microphone, line, and headphones), a four-in-one memory card reader, and gigabit Ethernet. The device's rear panel (below) also includes a VGA output in addition to the HDMI port, plus two eSATA connectors for external hard disk drives, says Dell.

The rear panel of Dell's Zino HD

Features and specifications listed by Dell for the Inspiron Zino HD include the following:

  • Processor — AMD Athlon 2650e (1.6GHz); Athlon 2850e (1.8GHz); Athlon X2 3250e (1.5GHz); or Athlon Neo X2 6850e (1.8GHz)
  • Chipset — n/s, but includes ATI Radeon HD3200 integrated graphics (ATI Radeon HD4330 discrete graphics card is optional)
  • Memory — From 2GB to 8GB of RAM via two DIMM slots
  • Storage:
    • 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 500GB, 750GB, or 1TB hard disk drives (all 3.5-inch, 7200rpm)
    • DVD +/- RW optical disk drive, with optional BD-ROM capability
  • Expansion:
    • Mini PCI slot (occupied by WLAN card)
    • Four-in-1 memory card reader
  • Networking:
    • LAN — Gigabit Ethernet
    • WLAN — 802.11b/g or 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Other I/O:
    • 4 x USB 2.0 (2 front, 2 rear)
    • 2 x eSATA
    • Mic in, line in, headphone out
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x HDMI
  • Power requirements — 65 Watts with integrated graphics, 75 Watts with discrete graphics card
  • Dimensions — 7.8 x 7.8 x 3.4 inches
  • Weight — 3.53 pounds


The Inspiron Zino HD PCs are now available, says Dell, with prices ranging from approximately $230 to $1,024, depending on configuration. More information may be found on the Dell website, here.

A test of the system by AMD senior developer relations engineer Jay Taylor may be found on a corporate blog, here.

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