back to article Dell Inspiron Zino HD

On the face of it, Apple’s Mac Mini makes most 'small form-factor’ PCs look like a pile of junk. The Mini’s ultra-compact design also makes it ideal for use in an office or as a stylish little media centre in the living room. Evidently, Dell has taken note - hence the appearance of its Inspiron Zino range of compact PCs. Dell …


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  1. Rob Davis
    Thumb Down

    nVidia for CUDA to speed up supported Apps

    If only they'd used nVidia for their graphics hardware - then they could have gained from programs that support nVidia's CUDA - which can provide speed increases.

    1. Ammaross Danan


      Yes, because AMD would like their ATI competitor, nVidia, to be coupled with their CPU. ATI also has a form of CUDA (albeit not as mature and popular [if CUDA could even be considered that...]).

    2. James Thomas


      Nobody who has any use for CUDA is going to buy one of these and even then the cheapo card they'd use would have been useless, if it supportted it at all.

      Take your ignorant Nvidia fanboyism somewhere else.

  2. Stuart Archer

    No 5.1?????

    I was sorely tempted by this machine until the lack of decent audio output was mentioned. Epic, glaringly epic fail from Dell there!

    1. Nik Simpson

      The reviewer is wrong about the audio

      I can only assume that the reviewer is unfamiliar with HDMI connections. If you connect this via HDMI to a TV or better yet a 7.1 receiver it has no problem with digital audio out in 5.1 or 7.1 surround. I know what I'm talking about I just hooked one up.

  3. Martin

    Six hundred and thirty quid?

    No thank you.

  4. windywoo
    Jobs Horns

    macs make crap media centres

    They don't accelerate video on the gpu, meaning the fans spin up as it plays. They flat out just can't play blu ray. Front row is not as good as windows media centre. Putting 4gb of ram and a bigger hard drive into a mac mini will drive the price well above this dell, unless you do it yourself. But that defeats the purpose of buying a mac really.

    1. peasoup

      Mac mini can handle HD

      Actually this isn't true. The modern(ish) Mini's use the Geforce 9400 this is more than capable than pumping out 1080p video via XBMC or something. Also you can put one of those Broadcom Crystal HD cards in the Mini's Mini PCIE that seems to be working well too.

    2. Ian Hammond
      Jobs Halo

      Macs DO make good media Centre's

      The Mac Mini is an awesome media centre when coupled with the right software. Unfortunately (for apple) that software is Linux and XBMC! When its configured like this it will eat any content you throw at it, including 40Mbs+ Blu-Ray content at full 1080P (with not a frame drop in sight)

      This Dell is a good attempt but for anyone running XBMC its a non starter as there is no H/W acceleration in XBMC on Windows unless you use external players (which is a pain to configure)

  5. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up


    Surely you could wang the HDMI into an AV amp, and pass the video through to a display/TV?

    Still, reasonable performance, decent form factor - one of these with HDMI would be quite nice under the telly - once i have rattle-canned it from 'stupid git pink' to 'matt black'.

    More of the same please, manufacturers. I likey.

    Steven R

  6. Marvin the Martian

    Comparison time

    Come on, where's the river of "Mac is always so overpriced, and luxury brand Dell has now shown how to do the same for a blindingly cheap 20% more" comments? Bet you Mac fanboi editors are hiding them!

  7. B Candler Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good value

    I have one of these, but not at the £630 price point shown in the article. I got the dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 3GB RAM, 500GB HD, DVD-RW drive, wireless keyboard and mouse, and it came to £329 inc delivery. I think it would have been £20 extra for the wifi card, but I didn't need it.

    It came with Win7 64-bit, but is now running Ubuntu Karmic. There are a few minor problems with Ubuntu: Suspend/resume isn't reliable; I have to turn off USB2 to talk to my Canon camera; and audio only comes out of the front jack. But otherwise I'm extremely happy with my purchase.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Good Value?

      Unfortunatly I would only consider it good value if the Blue Ray did not cost 50% of the rest of the box. or 7 times the price of a similar optical drive.

      Blu-ray, shmu-ray, I say!

      Just another not worth that kind of money rip off.

      1. Andy Jones

        What about the cost of Windows

        It would be better if it didn't come with Windows at all. Windows 7 adds about £50+ to the total cost of the machine!

      2. B Candler Silver badge

        Re: Good Value?

        Good value compared to the £500+ for a Mac Mini which has less RAM and a smaller HD.

        I'm also happy to have the larger box, given that it means I have a proper 3.5" drive rather than a 2.5" laptop drive which is less likely to survive long periods switched on.

        1. Gulfie

          Re: Good Value?

          Can't argue about the point you make about price but even the minimum 1Gb in the entry level Mac Mini is plenty for media centre purposes with Snow Leopard, likewise if you install Linux instead. Boxee (XBMC based) works very well on the Mini (also works well on AppleTV which is much less powerful hardware).

          No doubt one reason for the high price of the blu-ray upgrade will be that the drive is laptop form factor rather than 3.5".

          Finally, I've had a Mac Mini switched on 24x7 running a web site for two years now without any sign of the hard drive giving out.

  8. Mark Boothroyd

    Where's the digital audio out?

    No S/PDIF makes it pointless as a media centre PC for many people, as there is no means to get digital audio to a home theatre system.

    (Unless it's an AV amp that includes HDMI passthough, but not everyone has one of those (I do and I still use S/PDIF rather than HDMI passthough, as most HDMI drivers don't provide 5.1 through HDMI).

    1. Will Derrrick

      HDMI Splitter

      There are ways of splitting the audio from the HDMI, a lot of TVs do this for you (and have optical out on the back) but you can get specific devices to do it (such as the Gefen EXT-HDMI-2-DVIAUD or the HDDA52V13 or the wonderful MUX-HD from CurtPalme). It does seem to be somewhat of an oversight though.

  9. Christopher Rogers
    Thumb Up


    I didn't realise i wanted one of these until my hacked original xbox went feet in the air.

    I want one now.

  10. Brian
    Thumb Up

    No 5.1?

    I would hope most people wanting to use this as a media center, would get the 5.1/7.1 audio via the HDMI port, no?

    1. The Original Steve

      Indeed - why bother with HDMI otherwise

      Why the bitching about the lack of a 5.1 output? The point of HDMI is to output audio and video over the one high-bandwidth pipe... Otherwise Dell would just have a DVI port instead.

      Also - whilst comparing Apple to Dell:

      2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

      2GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x1GB

      160GB Serial ATA Drive

      SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

      Apple Mouse

      Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad - British

      Total Cost: £574

      AMD X2 6850E 1.8GHz 512k

      4096MB Dual Channel DDR2 800MHz [2x2048] Memory

      640GB (7200rpm) SATA Hard Drive

      ATI Radeon™ HD 4330 512MB graphics

      8X DVD+/- RW Optical Drive (DVD & CD read and write)

      Dell Multimedia Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Black - UK/Irish

      Mouse Included in Wireless Keyboard and Mouse option

      Total Cost: £520

      Yeah, the Mini has the CPU edge, but wow - what a price difference in what you get...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Err, no. The point of HDMI is to implement DRM while delivering a deeply underwhelming increase in resolution.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down


          Ok, I stayted on the sideline long enough. HDMI capable 5.1 receivers are just now coming into the price that mere humans could afford [exaggeration, just in case you didn't know]. SPDIF is infinitely nicer as you have a separate and distinct digital audio route. And as someone said, the drivers are a PITA.

  11. Rob 55
    Thumb Down

    Revo all the way

    Think I'll stick with the Revo R3610 which plays mkv files great plus once Adobe update Flash it'll handle online HD playback to. All for less that £300 or £250 if you go for the smaller RAM and HD!

    1. Mark Boothroyd
      Thumb Up

      You can get the flash player with HD support now (beta)

      Grab it from here:

      Already used it on my Revo R3610 and it works spot on with all flash content, including HD, CPU just ticks over :-)

  12. FreeTard

    a PS3 is cheaper

    AFAICT you get all those things, and more.

    Still, not a bad piece of kit from Dell. Better than the ipod thingy

  13. Eric Hood

    Mini audio

    The Mac Mini also has optical in and out with a 3.5mm to S/PDIF cable, the same cable I used with my mini disc walkman.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Sulphur Man
    Thumb Down

    no IR receiver?

    no IR receiver on the front then? Thats a nuisance for MCE/universal remote owners.

    This is a work in progress - and the BR option is waaay overpriced.

  16. Andres

    Like a Golf

    reminds me of the adverts currently running for the VW Golf. Why have a computer that's like a Mac Mini? This is slighlty bigger, slightly cheaper but in the whole not as good as the Mac Mini.

  17. Alastair 7

    Re: Studio Hybrid

    Yep, absolutely bowled over to see that the svelte Studio Hybrid has been replaced with this thing. No slot-loading DVD drive, no beautiful transparent looks, just a hunking lump of pink plastic. I got a Hybrid from the factory outlet store and I couldn't have asked for more from a media centre PC, the thing is fantastic.

    And it only cost me $350 (purchased shortly after I moved to the US). They can take this thing and shove it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it output audio on HDMI?

    Can it output audio on the HDMI? If so can it support 7.1 by that route?

    Might make an interesting MythTV box if it can. Really want to know the answer to the questions though.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I wish it came with a dual HD option so I can throw Linux on it and have it as a small web server or something.

  20. barth

    it DOES do 5.1 (7.1 with 4770) over HDMI

    Indeed, it's missing optical I/O, and maybe infrared, but that thing is a lot cheaper than even a homemade mini-itx box.

  21. Brian Sherwood Jones

    Transtec alternative might be a better option?

  22. Ramazan
    Thumb Down


    what a pathetic piece of crap colored in vulgar black'n'emo-purple, compared to the plain and stylish Mac mini

  23. Richard Scratcher

    The Form Factor of Things to Come

    "Small Form Factor" = Small

    "Cheap Price Factor" = Cheap

    "High Weight Factor" = Heavy

    The use of the phrase "form factor" seems to be unique to describing the shape of computer equipment. God knows how other industries get along without it. A factor is something that contributes to a result or outcome. Just adding it to adjectives to create jargon is neither big nor clever.

    "I like this car but is it available in other form factors?"

    "Oh yes! We have the coupé and estate versions."

  24. spittenkittens

    I like my Zino HD 400 would buy it again

    There are in fact a Zino HD 300 and a Zino HD 400. I bought my Zino hd 400 on sale for $349.00

    I use the hdmi to my tv which has a connection to my Dolby digital amp and I do get dolby digital.

    True there is no separate connection except for stereo. The Amd X2 1.5 seems underpowered buts it not. The Amd 4330 graphics give a 5.9 for 3d in windows 7. I am not a big fan of Dell and I bought this for a home theater pc, now I wish I had bought two, one to replace my desktop.

    Dell has to many different configurations and they do have sells. Mine was $178 less than the normal price on sale. It did come with a wired keyboard and mouse, not wireless as the article mentioned. I would give it 9 out of 10.

  25. Bo Pedersen

    but thats more expensive than


    which has 7.1 audio out and hdmi out

    and 6 usb's , wireless.n built in

    yeah yeah I know, I am shameless :)

  26. Gulfie
    Thumb Down


    Not sure of the name, Starts with 'Z', four letters - reminds me of the epic fail that is Zune...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Atom isn't so bad.....

    Given most use for this is a media centre, then an Aton+Ion combo works well enough. All video accelerated, including Bluray (I got the Asrock dualcore model last year for about £300, including a Bluray drive).

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