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Build a living room PC with the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11

TechRepublic's Bill Detwiler shows you how to build a living room PC with the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 and a 42" TV.
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1 of 10 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet
Steve Jobs doesn't think most people want a computer on their TVs. But, I'm not most people. I want the a complete PC experience on my TV. I want to be able to watch anything on the Web, play the latest games, and run common PC applications on my big, living room TV.
If you're in this boat, you should take a serious look at the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11, which I reviewed as part of our Geek Gifts 2010 series.
As, the HD-ID11 is a bare-bones box, some assembly is required. And there are some serious visibility issues you'll need to consider when using it on a big TV. I'll walk you through the assembly process and my experience using the HD-ID11 in my living room.
I used the following parts to build our living room PC:
  • ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11
  • Seagate 250GB 7200RPM HDD
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • Microsoft Arc wireless keyboard
  • Microsoft Mobile Mouse 6000
  • LG Electronics 42LH50 LCD TV (not shown)

Caption by: Bill Detwiler
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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2 of 10 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet
The first step in the process of creating our living room PC is installing the hard drive and RAM in the ZBOX HD-ID11.
Installing the hard drive is a snap. Remove the HD-ID11's case cover, which is held on with two thumbscrews. Remove the hard drive clamp screw, insert the drive, reattached the clamp, and tighten the screw.
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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3 of 10 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet
With the hard drive installed, I then installed the 2GB of RAM. The HD-ID11 as a single 200-pin DDR2 SO-DIMM slot.
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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4 of 10 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet
As this system will be used in a living room, I wanted to use a wireless keyboard and mouse. For the mouse, I went with a Microsoft Mobile Mouse 6000.
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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5 of 10 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet
I intend to use this system for tasks that require lots of typing. I therefore, wanted a full size keyboard. But, one that wasn't very large. The Microsoft Arc keyboard fit the bill.
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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6 of 10 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet
The Microsoft Arc keyboard is extremely thin for a full-size keyboard.
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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7 of 10 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet
After installing all the hardware, it was time to install the operating system. The HD-ID11 doesn't have an optical drive. I used an external optical drive to install the OS. You could also use a flash drive.
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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8 of 10 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet
I put Windows 7 Ultimate on this box. If you don't have a spare Widows license laying around, you could just as easily put Linux on it.
As I noted in the first photo, The HD-ID11 is connected to an LG Electronics 42LH50 LCD TV. Using an HDMI connection, I was able to get a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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9 of 10 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet
I set the Windows Display
Note: I apologize for the the camera flash. I was shooting without a tripod.
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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10 of 10 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet
Note: I apologize for the the camera flash. I was shooting without a tripod.
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic

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