Setup Notes and Platform Analysis

The motherboard in the MAGNUS ONE uses a H470 PCH. The CPU's integrated GPU display output (HDMI 1.4a) is also available in the rear panel. The RTX 3070 Twin Edge features four display outputs, and either set can be active for up to four simultaneous display streams. The PC also includes Killer AX1650 Wi-Fi and dual LAN ports (1x 1Gbps + 1x 2.5Gbps) as noted in the specifications table in the previous section.

The Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS ONE sports a redesigned GUI for its BIOS. The use of the H470 PCH and a non-overclockable CPU mean that the BIOS doesn't need a ton of enthusiast features. The video below presents the entire gamut of available options in the system's BIOS.

The AIDA64 system report for the hardware configuration supplied by Zotac provided the following information:

  • [ North Bridge: Intel Comet Lake-S IMC ]:
    • PCIe 3.0 x16 port #2 In Use @ x16 (nVIDIA GA104 - High Definition Audio Controller, Zotac RTX 3070 Twin Edge OC Video Adapter)
  • [ South Bridge: Intel Comet Point-H H470 ]:
    • PCIe 3.0 x4 port #9 In Use @ x4 (Phison PS5013 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3 SSD Controller)
    • PCIe 3.0 x1 port #13 In Use @ x1 (Killer E3000 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet Controller)
    • PCIe 3.0 x1 port #14 In Use @ x1 (Realtek RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Adapter)
    • PCIe 3.0 x1 port #15 In Use @ x1 (Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650x 160MHz Wireless Network Adapter (200NGW))

A pictorial representation of the internal bus structure in relation to the external ports is presented below.

All the USB ports in the system are off a single root hub in the PCH. The SDXC card reader is enabled by a Realtek USB 2.0 card reader, and is restricted to a maximum speed of around 40 MBps practically (no UHS-II support). The audio jack is backed up by a Realtek ALC269 audio codec. Though there are plenty of USB ports to go around, the DMI bottleneck means that it might be difficult to get simultaneous peak performance from more than a couple of ports at a time. All the networking I/Os are also off the PCH, and all the 16 PCIe lanes off the processor are dedicated to the GPU (as it should be in the case of a gaming PC).

In the table below, we have an overview of the various systems that are being compared against the Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS ONE. Note that they may not belong to the same market segment. The relevant configuration details of the machines are provided so that readers have an understanding of why some benchmark numbers are skewed for or against the MAGNUS ONE when we come to those sections.

Comparative PC Configurations
Aspect Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS ONE (ECM73070C)
CPU Intel Core i7-10700 Intel Core i7-10700
GPU ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 3060 12GB GDDR6
Intel UHD Graphics 630
ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 3060 12GB GDDR6
Intel UHD Graphics 630
RAM Crucial CT16G4SFS832A DDR4-3200 SODIMM
22-22-22-52 @ 3200 MHz
1x16 GB
Crucial CT16G4SFS832A DDR4-3200 SODIMM
22-22-22-52 @ 3200 MHz
1x16 GB
Storage Phison E13 Reference Design (Zotac-sourced)
(500 GB; M.2 Type 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe; Kioxia 96L 3D TLC)
(Phison E13 Controller)
Seagate BarraCuda ST1000LM048
(1 TB; 2.5in SATA 6Gb/s)
Phison E13 Reference Design (Zotac-sourced)
(500 GB; M.2 Type 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe; Kioxia 96L 3D TLC)
(Phison E13 Controller)
Seagate BarraCuda ST1000LM048
(1 TB; 2.5in SATA 6Gb/s)
Wi-Fi Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650x Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650x
Price (in USD, when built) $2400 (pre-built with Windows 10 Home x64) $2400 (pre-built with Windows 10 Home x64)
Introduction and Product Impressions BAPCo SYSmark 25
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  • erinadreno - Friday, August 13, 2021 - link

    Seems quite strange that they opt for an H470 chipset but 10th gen CPU. And that cooler is really pathetic even for a 65W CPU. Reminds me of engine 27 which also has really bad performance. Reply
  • abufrejoval - Friday, August 13, 2021 - link

    Sadly all 4TB or greater 2.5" HDDs these days use shingled media: I'm not sure I'd want to recommend those, even for a games library. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Friday, August 13, 2021 - link

    Why not? Reply
  • abufrejoval - Friday, August 13, 2021 - link

    Take ARK Survival Evolved for example, a game that can easily grow beyond 100GB, especially with extra DLC content. Yet it uses tons of smallish files and receives gigabytes of updates every other week. The write amplification for updating these small files will be cached as long as the drive has enough space and been left powered to re-organize and rewrite its shingles.

    But once it's too full or kept too busy, updates could slow below what your broadband delivers.

    Shingled media delivers a 25% capacity increase. I'd rather pay those 25% and have the choice to use CMR. But that choice is no longer there, on 2.5" HDD it's currently SMR or bust (apart from some leftover stockpiles).
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, August 16, 2021 - link

    As a concept it really does only make good sense for low-rate-of-change media storage and/or where the OS is explicitly aware of the drive's geometry and has appropriate caching systems in place. The decision to sell these drives directly to consumers wasn't the best. Reply
  • abufrejoval - Friday, August 13, 2021 - link

    Thunderbolt support with a dGPU is a mess, because you have to re-route the external display ports to TB. TB4 on Gen10 hardware: Don't know if that's done or possible. TB3 would be quite nice already, but if you can't re-route the display, you won't get certified as Thunderbolt, AFAIK, while may would be fine with having support for 4 external PCIe lanes on such a compact PC. Reply
  • abufrejoval - Friday, August 13, 2021 - link

    s/may/many--need edit Reply
  • jeremyshaw - Friday, August 13, 2021 - link

    A decent number of TB3/4 host add-in cards for desktops have DP input, to enable the video pass through. Even TB3/4 integrated on desktop motherboards will usually have a DP input to enable video passthrough (especially AMD MBs, since many of their top consumer CPUs do not have IGPs). Reply
  • RomanPixel - Friday, August 13, 2021 - link

    Good choices for hardware I think. Having a 10th over the 11th will lessen heat as well as choosing a RTX 3000 series card with GDDR6 over GDDR6X VRAM. Not a fan of seeing some hybrid or regular HDD thou. I guess if you got the space, go for it! Or maybe it's justified to so many games becoming around 100GB in size now for storage. | If anyone is making small graphics cards it's Zotac with this RTX 3000 series, I don't think it would have been much possible to be any other board partner. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, August 14, 2021 - link

    I have a 2TB SSD system and games drive with a 2TB SSD data drive for musik, videos, pictures and the likes. I can pretty easily install all my most wanted games, so I wouldn't go for an HDD just for games. I have an external HDD for backups and a NAS for backups and my ripped media. How many 100+GB games does one play each week? :) I haven't needed an HDD for programs/games since my 500GB Samsung 840. But I also don't play 5 different AAA games simultaneously, I guess. :D

    And Zotac is great for small form factor graphics cards. I have their 2070 in a small mATX, great card! They aren't even that much more costly I think.
    Reply

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