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Novatech Ion Home PC Bundle review

Kat Orphanides
13 Feb 2009
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
263
inc VAT and delivery

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Specifications

1.6GHz Intel Atom 230, 1.000000 RAM, 17in 1,440x900 display, Windows XP Home Edition

Novatech's Ion Home PC Bundle is one of the cheapest computers here.

It's also one of the few to come with a monitor: a modest 17in widescreen HannsG HB175A. Although small, it's a decent monitor with accurate colours. The PC has only a single VGA port, though, which is disappointing in a group where most others provide DVI or HDMI outputs.

Like the other two sub-£500 PCs here, the Ion uses Intel's low-power 1.6GHz Atom 230 processor (the desktop version of the N270 Atom in most netbooks). The Ion's mini-ITX case isn't as small or attractive as the Eee Box, but it has more room for expansion. It has a PCI slot, so you can install desktop components such as sound cards, TV tuners and network cards without using up your USB ports.

The Ion comes with 1GB of RAM in its single DDR2 slot which can handle up to 2GB. We were surprised by the legacy ports on the motherboard, which include both serial and parallel ports. These might be useful if you own some antique storage or printing hardware, but they're redundant for most users.

Like the Eee Box and Top, the Ion comes with Windows XP, which suits the low-power Atom processor better than Vista. It did everything we asked of it, from playing DVDs and web browsing to printing graphs from a spreadsheet. It uses slightly more power than the Asus PCs, but the active and idle power-consumption figures of 42W and 37W respectively make this PC a lot cheaper to run than a standard desktop.

With a 160GB hard disk and a DVD-RW, the Ion has more storage than the Eee Box, and you won't need to buy an optical drive. Unlike the Box, the Ion lacks a built-in WiFi adaptor.

This is a great budget PC for simple home computing tasks. The monitor is worth £69 and you can buy the PC without it for £205. The Ion Home PC Bundle isn't as compact, efficient or attractive as the Eee Box, but it's better value and comes with a monitor and an optical drive.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Atom 230
Processor external bus133MHz (533MHz quad-pumped FSB)
Processor multiplierx12
Processor clock speed1.6GHz
Processor socketSocket 437
Level 1 cache32KB
Level 2 cache512KB
Memory1.000000
Memory typeDDR2
Maximum memory2GB
MotherboardFoxconn 45CS
Motherboard chipsetIntel 945GC + ICH7
Power consumption standby4W
Power consumption idle37W
Power consumption active42W

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking supportnone
Other portsnone

Internal Expansion

Casemini-ITX
PCI-E x1 slots (free)0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)0 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports0
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Hitachi DeskStar 7K160 (HDS721616PLA380)
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity160GB
Spindle speed7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)Intel GMA 950
Graphics/video portsVGA

Sound

SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputsstereo line out, mic in, line in
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive modelOptiarc AD-7200S
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size17 in
Screen modelHanns.G HB175A
Native resolution1,440x900
Response time5ms
Screen inputsVGA, line in

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardOctigen Multimedia Keyboard
MouseLogitech RX 300

Software

Software includednone
Operating systemWindows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore optionnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£263
Supplierhttp://www.novatech.co.uk
Detailswww.novatech.co.uk

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