Zotac ZBox BI320 as HTPC Mediacenter

I bought this unit after seeing lots of recommendations at the Kodi forum, where it replaced my now broken Shuttle XS35GS V3. Zotac BI320 has a fan but it was said it was very silent, which is rare, since small case means small fan which usually means noise. I have also looked at Zotac CI320 which is completely fanless, but the Kodi forum said the 2957U Haswell CPU was better than the N2930 Baytrail CPU.
Installation
I just installed the 2x2GB Crucial DDR3L SO-DIMM and SSD with Win7 from my old HPTC, and then it was up and running after installing the latest Intel drivers from the Zotac homepage.
  • I had an issue with igfxEM.exe running at 100 pct. CPU usage, but this was fixed by using the latest Intel HD Graphics 4400 driver
  • I also changed the BIOS settings to allow more RAM sharing for the GPU (512 MByte instead of 64 MByte).
Performance
The Celeron 2957U is so much faster than the Atom D2700. Before I had to force "High Performance" powerplan for the Atom D2700 to work okay, but the Celeron 2957U works wonderful with "Balanced" powerplan (Allowing it to throttle for even less heat). Movie-startup is faster. Movie-playback is smooth with deinterlacing and post processing enabled. Netflix HD also works without issue together with Chrome HTML5.
Noise and temperature
When playing movies then I really don't care about the fan noise, but when idle then it should be silent. By default the fan will start when temperature is above 30 Celsius, and it gives a faint noise, but I just went into the BIOS and changed it to 50 and then it was silent. When idle the CPU is about 38 Celsius and when high CPU usage (without GPU) then 48 Celsius.

The chassis is not warm to touch when idle, and the power consumption when idle should also be around 5-7W compared to the 19-27W of my previous Atom D2700 (+Radeon HD 7410M GPU)

Updated: 5 April 2015

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