The ZBOX comes in a modestly sized box with a convenient carrying handle. The front sports an angled shot of the machine, and the back lists detailed system specs and images of the ports and other features.
Inside, we find the package's austere contents: the ZBOX (already loaded into a mounting bracket), a laptop-style power supply, stand, DVI-to-VGA adapter, mounting screws, a driver disc and thin manual.
The front panel houses one USB port, memory card reader, headphone jack, mic jack, two status lights, and the power button.
The top panel has another single USB port, along with the exhaust vent for the CPU cooler.
The rear of the machine boasts the lion's share of the machine's I/O. We get 1xeSATA, 4xUSB, Ethernet, DVI out, HDMI out, and an optical S/PDIF out.
And here is the mounting bracket on its own.
The bottom of the chassis, revealing the air intake vent.
The bottom edge of the chassis with keyhole slot for the included stand.
Removing the side panel only requires loosening two thumbscrews.
Here we see the clean and not-too-cramped internals of the ZBOX.
We'll be finishing out the system with a 640GB HDD provided by our friends at Seagate and a 4GB RAM module from our friends at Crucial.
We'll install the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Enterprise as our OS.
This is where the HDD goes, obviously.
Remove one screw, flip this tab back, and insert the drive.
It will only fit one way, so we had a hard time screwing it up.
Close the tab and replace the screw, and the ZBOX holds its new HDD snuggly in place.
RAM goes here.
Again, fairly idiot-proof, although the manual is unfortunately silent about which specific types of RAM the ZBOX supports. We originally tried it with a stick of 533MHz RAM that we had laying around, which we soon realized wasn't supported. The box and the product sheet mention 800MHz RAM, though we found that 677MHz would also do the trick.
Once we were up and running, installing the OS was as simple as connecting an external USB-powered DVD drive and inserting the installation disc.
Once the OS install completed, we swapped the disc for the driver disc supplied with the ZBOX. The driver installer gives the option of installing all the drivers at once or one at a time. We went with the "all at once" option, which worked for almost all the drivers. The graphics driver failed to install, and we ended up just downloading that one from Zotac's website, which conveniently provides links to all the necessary drivers. It's probably not a bad idea to go this route for all the drivers, since the ones on the disc might not be the most recent.