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Good Things In Small Packages: Seven Nettop Platforms, Tested

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A Bad Day

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Nov 25, 2011
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[citation][nom]JOSHSKORN[/nom]In all honesty, when it can run Crysis...I'll be impressed. Until then...alrighty.[/citation]

Well, if you run it in:

-320p resolution
-Directx 8
-All eyecandy off

You'll get around 5-10 FPS.
 

bavman

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These things suck. Why would you dish out the $300-400 theyre asking for them? I recently built a file server that was basically a dumbed down tower with an g620 cpu, 4 gigs of ram for under $200 (excluding all the hdds). Throw in a $50 graphics card and it would dominate any of these nettops.
 

friskiest

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[citation][nom]bavman[/nom]These things suck. Why would you dish out the $300-400 theyre asking for them? I recently built a file server that was basically a dumbed down tower with an g620 cpu, 4 gigs of ram for under $200 (excluding all the hdds). Throw in a $50 graphics card and it would dominate any of these nettops.[/citation]

You pay for the size, power and niche factor in here,.. these are Nettops,.. you're not supposed to play AA or AAA games in here,. just browse the net,. watch movies and listen to music- as implied
 

Nintendo Maniac 64

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What I really want to see is a nettop using AMD's 17w A6-4455M. Being a Trinity APU, it actually WOULD have enough grunt to run Crysis, and without it looking like crap to boot!
 

molo9000

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Shame these still aren't good at H.264 decoding. They would make great HTPCs.

The hardware decoding of the VIA chipset would be a killer feature, if there actually was some software that supported it. Seems like XBMC doesn't support it either.
 

daglesj

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I rolled out a load of Ion 330 Asrock boxes a couple of years ago for business use. Customers still love their little black boxes. These were the early 1.6Ghz dual core Atoms.

For work use (basically 95% of what 95% of the worlds computers users actually do in the REAL world) they work great.

There is more to life than endless benchmarking and Crysis.
 
Something else I would have liked to seen.

What effect does AMD's integrated GPU have on performance?
Looking at the other AMD APU articles, it could potentially be quite a performance boost.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Nice. It would be interesting to see some ARM-based Linux nettop like TrimSlice benchmarked, too.
 

Augray37

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[citation][nom]bavman[/nom]These things suck. Why would you dish out the $300-400 theyre asking for them? I recently built a file server that was basically a dumbed down tower with an g620 cpu, 4 gigs of ram for under $200 (excluding all the hdds). Throw in a $50 graphics card and it would dominate any of these nettops.[/citation]

Um, people want them because they're very very small. how small is your $200 tower plus Windows 7 plus the $200+ in HDDs plus $50 graphics card?
 

back_by_demand

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I already use a nettop in the living room to run XBMC, wired network with all my content on NAS drives in the attic, programmed universal remote to control it, best technology investment ever
 

back_by_demand

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[citation][nom]bavman[/nom]These things suck. Why would you dish out the $300-400 theyre asking for them? I recently built a file server that was basically a dumbed down tower with an g620 cpu, 4 gigs of ram for under $200 (excluding all the hdds). Throw in a $50 graphics card and it would dominate any of these nettops.[/citation]
Because an ATX tower case PC would use more power, be noisier and look stupid attached to your TV
...
These are designed to be invisible and silent so you can use them as HTPC (for example)
 

serendipiti

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I don't agree with your conclusion.
You know that all of these systems have their own niche.
In that particular scenario is acceptable to mention Core I3 performance. That's OK.
I have to admit that I got somehow disappointed by AMD's performance, but I think that
the power numbers make them real winners. In that constrained space where acoustics matter is all about low power numbers, isn't it ?
 

jblack

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And what about price?


I think anyone would go for the Core i3 in this situation if they are all priced similarly. You even mention it commands a premium in price, but you don't tell us how much any of this costs......
 

Branden

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anyone who knocks these compact computers obviously don't understand their purpose.
they're not supposed to be able to handle BF3 or handbrake, they're meant to handle basic everyday tasks while using up very little power and space. these things would be ideal for 90% of people who don't do much beyond itunes or facebook (and certainly not gaming or photoshop).

in fact my HTPC is an E-350, it's small a silent, all a HTPC needs to be. it can handle 1080p blu-ray flawlessly, and with a SSD and 8GB RAM it boots up nearly as quickly as the HDTV warms up.
i'm so happy with it when it comes time to build a new PC for my parents (my old socket 939 is serving them just fine) something like an E-350 is what i'll be looking at.
 

Hazle

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pretty glad Brazos didn't disappoint. was kinda skeptical getting an E-350 last year when i had to get a new laptop. those benches do seem about right; browsing with a Brazos may not be the best compared to my desktop, but rarely do i need more than 15 tabs, and if my Pentium M could handle office work, i didn't see why Brazos couldn't.

best of all was the media playback with 720p and 1080p videos with hardware acceleration. a great improvement compared to how my old laptop would struggle to play HD content.
 
Not a very good review, since you missed the most important points of a Nettop:

- TV compatibility and how they handle them (ease of use and cabling)
- Accessories
- Price vs commodity (the most important of them all)
- Noise (most important of them all)

You can get a laptop and plug it into your TV room when needed instead of a nettop, but if you're going to review them, do it properly. The CPU capabilities of them are not a big issue and you focused too much time on it when you could review something else (like noise or packaging).

Cheers!
 

gondor

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[citation][nom]outlw6669[/nom]Something else I would have liked to seen.What effect does AMD's integrated GPU have on performance?Looking at the other AMD APU articles, it could potentially be quite a performance boost.[/citation]

Why bother with lame Brazos when you should be able to get far more performance from 17W Trinity ? Gaming in particular should be much smoother with Trinity - in same power envelope.
 

benkraft

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[citation][nom]Yuka[/nom]Not a very good review, since you missed the most important points of a Nettop:- TV compatibility and how they handle them (ease of use and cabling)- Accessories- Price vs commodity (the most important of them all)- Noise (most important of them all)You can get a laptop and plug it into your TV room when needed instead of a nettop, but if you're going to review them, do it properly. The CPU capabilities of them are not a big issue and you focused too much time on it when you could review something else (like noise or packaging).Cheers![/citation]

You'd be right if this were a review of the ZBoxes themselves, but it's not.
Our intention was to gauge the various platforms' performance.
As far as noise is concerned, I can give you some numbers in dB(A) measured two feet (60 cm) from the front of the units.

idle / h.264 / VC-1 (Blu-ray) / load (Prime95)
ID82: 32,3 / 32,3 / 32,3 /37,4
ID36: 33,3 / 34,1 / 33,3 / 34,0
VD01: 32,6 / 34,8 / 34,8 / 34,8

The AMD platforms were about the same as the ID 82 (E-450) and a little quieter overall than the VD01 (E-350).
 
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