I was sitting in my living room yesterday and realized that my wife is right - the home entertainment center has too many systems with wires going everywhere. Since she is sometimes a bit of a neat freak, all that stuff on the entertainment center really bothers her. I have tried to reduce the electronics down to the bare necessities and keep the wires wrapped and neat as possible, but somehow there always seems to be a rat’s nest of wires behind the cabinet. I keep trying to convince her to let me build an HTPC for the living room and she just says NO, since that will be one more thing sitting there to go along with the game systems and surround sound system.
So I decided that I was going to try to sneak a small form factor HTPC into the entertainment center somewhere and see if she noticed. In comes the Zotac ZBOX ID83 Plus mini PC, it is small enough that I could hide it somewhere without her noticing it. Success! I was able to hide the mini PC for several days without her noticing it. Thanks to the small size and how well I was able to hide it, she decided that we could now have an HTPC in the living room. I know that once she gets used to having a mini PC for all her streaming needs in the living room, she is going to want one in the bedroom too.
The Zotac ZBOX ID83 Plus is a small form factor PC that is ideally suited for use as an HTPC. Zotac packs an Intel 3rd generation Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz dual core processor with Intel HD Graphics 4000 into the ZBOX ID83 Plus, along with a 500 GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM. They manage to squeeze all of this power into a 7.4 by 7.4 by 1.73 inch package. The hard drive is a standard 2.5” notebook drive and up to 16GB of memory can be installed. The system has support for HDMI 1.4a, as well as a DVI connection. Connectivity is handled by either a 10/100/1000 Ethernet connection or the integrated 802.11 B/G/N wireless. The front of the ID83 Plus has analog audio connection, a 6-in-1 memory card reader, USB 2.0 port, and LED indicators. The mini PC is compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8, both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Accessories include a VESA monitor mount, stand, DVI adapter, and media center remote with IR receiver.