Dell Inspiron Zino HD 410
Diddy desktop with designs on your telly
Review With decent media streamers available for under £150 and many TVs featuring built-in network capabilities, getting content on your telly through a fully-fledged mini desktop PC might seem like a rather expensive way to do things. Still, that hasn’t stopped Dell from refining its Zino mini PC series, with the Zino HD 410 being the latest release.
Dell's Inspiron Zino HD 410: set-top sized
There’s very little change to the physical design, with the Zino HD 410 looking almost identical to its predecessors. Small, stylish and with smooth, rounded edges, it certainly won’t look out of place next to your AV kit.
As before, Dell hopes the lure of interchangeable lids will prove irresistible, with black, red, blue and silver covers all available – though at £20 a pop, I’m pretty sure most people won’t bother.
As is often the case with Dell, various configurations of the Zino HD 410 are available. My review sample had a Blu-ray drive, 4GB of memory and a 750GB hard drive, with an AMD Phenom II X3 P840 processor doing the leg work. This three-core chip ticks along at 1.9GHz and, as its PCMark Vantage scores indicate, is a fairly big improvement on the Athlon X2 3250E that was found in a previous incarnation of the Zino
Graphics are taken care of by an AMD ATI Radeon HD 5450, which was enough to furnish Call of Duty 4 with just under 30f/s. This was, however, at 1024 x 768, and the 8.11f/s achieved in Crysis at the same resolution indicates this mini PC is really only suited to undemanding games.
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Easy I have much media on external drives. Moving it around on USB 2.0 is starting to take a long time! Media ain't getting any smaller and nor are my disks!
I'm in the market for a small media centre style machine like this...to replace the ageing hunk that is my desktop!
Designed for the telly?
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. A few month ago I have been able to power up one of those Zinos on my TV-set. It came fresh out of the box, booted, and greeted me with a desktop with a thick black border. It took me half an hour of browsing through various menus to find the setting to turn that off.
It seems like the software on the box assumed I misconfigured my television to zoom in onto the picture and tries to compensate that by scaling down the original picture and adding a black border. That's just sick! Doesn't anybody even try out that design before getting it produced?
Huh? "Windows has NO place in an HTPC
Windows Media Centre is actually very good as a HTPC.
The UI is done well, all of the TV tuners available work with it, it works extremely well, and there is a healthy collection of useful third-party and enthusiast add-ons and utilities. If you'd bother to take a look, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Of course, if you simply take every chance you can get to rubbish Windows and push Linux, even when inappropriate, then I've just wasted a few minutes of my time.
I'm looking into getting one of these to replace my "Frankenstein" machine which I ended up donating the system board out to a good cause.
Price was one of the factors I was considering, along with the ability to hook it up to a TV out of the box.
It's not that I don't have a decent, wide screen flat panel monitor. I do.
It's not that I don't have a decent, regular desktop style computer desk. I've got that as well.
I wanted something readily portable but not a laptop.
As far as the operating system goes, here are my thoughts:
Box is cheaper than Mac Mini (So, no Mac machine for me, sorry Steve.)
Called with Dell, and tried to get them to forgo the windows tax. They wouldn't budge on it.
Would want to put Windows 7 64 bit on it, but if I couldn't get that, maybe experiment with Windows XP Media Center instead.
I could put Linux on it, but this machine will be replacing the only computing gaming machine at home.