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Novatech Realm Pro review

Will Stapley
21 Sep 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
532.35
inc VAT

Despite good 3D performance, the relatively slow processor and poor monitor mean the Realm Pro is overshadowed by other PCs here.

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Specifications

2.8GHz AMD Athlon X2 7850, 4.000000 RAM, 18.5in 1,366x768 display, Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit

With its dark grey case, the Realm Pro doesn't look particularly special.

It's the biggest PC on test and, thanks to tool-free screws, its components are easy to access. A large duct on the side panel helps to funnel heat generated by the processor, while a rear case fan aids the circulation of air.

Despite the large case, the components are a little cramped inside, with one end of the graphics card sitting right over a SATA port. In effect, the graphics card also writes off the two spare PCI slots: it sits directly over one slot, and placing a full-size PCI card in the other would block the graphics card's fan, which could increase the temperature inside the case.

Novatech has opted for an AMD processor and 4GB of RAM. Instead of a quad-core Phenom, however, it's chosen a 2.8GHz Athlon X2 7850 Black Edition. This has an unlocked multiplier, making it easy to overclock. Unfortunately for Novatech, it isn't particularly fast to start with and is much slower than quad-core processors in our video-encoding test.

Thanks to an ATI Radeon HD 4830, the Realm Pro was able to post some decent results in our 3D tests, achieving 47.3fps in Call of Duty 4 at a resolution of 1,680x1,050. Novatech sells the base unit on its own for £447 including VAT, so you can choose your own monitor, but for this review it supplied a 19in Acer display. At the native resolution of 1,366x768, Call of Duty 4 ran at 63.9fps.

We weren't hugely impressed with the VGA-only display, though. Viewing angles are a little restrictive and text wasn't as sharp as it is on the Iiyama screen that comes with the Mesh Matrix II TT. We've no complaints with the bundled Logitech keyboard and mouse aside from the lack of extra function keys, such as media short cut buttons.

While the processor is a little underpowered, the Realm Pro is still well rounded, thanks to decent 3D performance. The problem for Novatech is that Mesh's cheaper Matrix has a better monitor, plus a faster graphics card and processor for £33 less.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorAMD Athlon X2 7850
Processor external bus200MHz (1.8GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx14
Processor clock speed2.8GHz
Processor socketAM2+
Level 1 cache2x 128KB
Level 2 cache2x 512KB
Memory4.000000
Memory typePC2-6400
Maximum memory4GB
MotherboardFoxconn A6VMX
Motherboard chipsetATI RS690
Power consumption standby2W
Power consumption idle94W
Power consumption active172W

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 portsVGA

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports2
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays3

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Hitachi Deskstar P7K500 HDP725050GLA360
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity500GB
Spindle speed7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)512MB ATI Radeon HD 4830
Graphics/video portsHDMI, DVI, VGA

Sound

SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputsstereo line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive modelTSST SH-S223B
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL DVD-RAM

Display

Viewable size18.5 in
Screen modelAcer X193HQ
Native resolution1,366x768
Response time5ms
Screen inputsVGA

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardLogitech Y-UT76
MouseLogtech M-BU115

Software

Software includedMicrosoft Works 9
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionnone

Buying Information

WarrantyTBC
Price£532
Detailswww.novatech.co.uk

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