2.7GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750, 2.000000 RAM, 17in 1,440×900 display, Windows Vista Home Premium
Netbooks and nettops have become popular choices for those on a tight budget.
Although they’re cheap to buy and power-efficient, they make compromises elsewhere. This budget desktop PC system is around the same price as you’d expect to pay for a decent nettop.
The 9010A has an AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 processor, which runs at a speedy 2.7GHz, along with 2GB of RAM. In our tests it scored a respectable 68 overall. This is slower than our reference PC, but over three times as fast as the dual-core Atom in Novatech’s Ion Fusion.
At only this price, you’d expect RL Supplies to have made some serious compromises with the 9010A, but that’s not the case. The glossy black chassis looks quite stylish, and a flap on the front opens to reveal a pair of USB ports and a memory card reader. The surprisingly big 320GB hard disk comes with Windows Vista Home Premium installed, rather than the cut-price Basic version. The Windows install disc is supplied with the PC, too, so you’re free to reinstall the operating system from scratch.
There’s plenty of potential for upgrades with this PC. The 2GB of RAM takes up only one of the two provided slots, so there’s room for another 2GB if desired. There are no expansion cards fitted, so the two PCI, one PCI-E x1 and one PCI-E x16 slots are all free. You could add a graphics card to the latter for playing games. Storage upgrades will be a problem, as the two SATA ports are both being used. If you wanted to fit another internal disk, you’d need to buy a PATA model or fit a PCI card with additional SATA ports.
On the rear are four USB ports, plus 10/100 Ethernet, a VGA output for the onboard graphics chipset and six minijacks supporting 7.1 surround-sound audio. The 9010A is surprisingly loud given that there are only two fans. Power consumption isn’t great, as AMD-based PCs use more power than equivalent Intel systems.
A full set of peripherals are provided. The 17in widescreen monitor feels small compared to the 22in models we see with most PCs. It did acceptably in our tests, though its contrast isn’t that great and its anti-glare coating results in a grainy finish. The speakers are tinny and have no bass. The keyboard has a spongy action, and touch-typists will want to replace it immediately.
If you can afford it, then we’d recommend spending £499 on Mesh’s Nero 9950HD instead. However, if you’re looking for a basic PC on a tight budget then the 9010A has a lot to offer. It’s a good choice if you want to do more than just browse the internet, work on office documents and send emails.
|AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750
|Processor external bus
|200MHz (1.6GHz HyperTransport)
|Processor clock speed
|Nvidia GeForce MCP61P + nForce 430
|Power consumption standby
|Power consumption idle
|Power consumption active
|USB2 ports (front/rear)
|Firewire ports (front/rear)
|eSATA ports (front/rear)
|Wired network ports
|Wireless networking support
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)
|Free Serial ATA ports
|Free memory slots
|Free 3.5in drive bays
|Total storage capacity
|Nvidia GeForce 6150SE
|7.1 line out
|Trust SP-2370 2.0
|3.5in floppy drive
|Supported memory cards
|USB, CF, SD, SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, MicroDrive, xD
|Optical drive type(s)
|Trust optical mouse
|Windows Vista Home Premium
|Operating system restore option
|two years RTB