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VeryPC Broadleaf BL32-B-E53 review

Kat Orphanides
25 Feb 2010
VeryPC Broadleaf BL32-B-E53
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
699
inc VAT

The Broadleaf may not be powerful, but it's virtually silent and incredibly power-efficient. It's a great choice for light PC users.

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Specifications

2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5300 , 2.000000 RAM, 22in 1,680x1,050 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

Just looking through the Broadleaf BL32-B-E53's specification list may leave you feeling rather disappointed, after all it looks underpowered compared to typical £700 PCs. However, you can't really compare VeryPC's computers with other models, as they're designed to be tiny eco-friendly and power efficient rather than powerful monsters.

To do this, they're built from a combination of laptop and miniITX components, which are more expensive than the equivalent desktop components.

The Broadleaf is beautifully built and its case looks fantastic. It's screwed shut with eight 2mm Allen bolts, which makes it a bit tricky to get inside should you want to upgrade it. That said, once you do get inside, you'll find that there's not much upgrade space anyway.

A single 2GB stick of slimline 800MHz DDR2 RAM is fitted in one of the Intel DG41M motherboard's two memory slots. It would be easy to upgrade to 4GB of RAM, which we'd expect at this price. If you replace the fitted memory, you can install up to 8GB of RAM, although the supplied Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit operating system can only use around 3.5GB of memory. There's a spare PCI slot, but no matching blanking plate, making it unusable.

The other downside of such a small case is that a laptop-sized hard disk has had to be used. With 250GB of storage space, it's half the size of the hard disks used in full-size desktops at this price.

VeryPC's choice of processor - a basic but reasonably quick 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5300 - means that this system is fine for all the usual desktop tasks, scoring 61 overall in our benchmarks. This puts it at a around the same speed as a similarly-specified laptop.

The size of the case means that there's only room for integrated graphics. The Intel GMA X4500HD graphics processor can't handle 3D games, although it can decode HD video. This could make it a suitable HD media centre if you upgrade the DVD writer to a Blu-ray drive. Sadly, there's no HDMI output, although you can convert the DVI output using an adaptor, although you'll lose the audio signal and will have to use the PC's analogue 5.1 outputs.

The Broadleaf's main selling point is its incredibly low power consumption. It drew just 54W during our most intensive tests, compared to typical figures of between 150W and 200W for an ordinary desktop. It's virtually inaudible when switched on, too. To save more money, VeryPC supplies a webcam and its PecoBOO facial detection software. This puts the PC into sleep mode when there's nobody sitting in front of it.

It's not just the PC that VeryPC has made power efficient: the 22in LG W2252TE is also a power-saving model, drawing a peak of 20W in use, compared to nearer 40W for a standard 22in model. Its 1,680x1,050 resolution is decent, although we'd have preferred a Full-HD model instead. Image quality was very high, with a bright image and attractive colours.

One of the most impressive things about this PC is its five-year RTB warranty, giving you plenty of piece of mind. The Broadleaf won't appeal to everyone and it's relatively expensive compared to standard desktop PCs. That said, if you want something small, quiet and power-efficient with a big screen, it's a great choice and beats laptops hands down.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Pentium Dual Core E5300
Processor external bus200MHz (800MHz quad-pumped FSB)
Processor multiplierx13
Processor clock speed2.6GHz
Processor socketLGA775
Level 1 cache2x 64KB
Level 2 cache2,048KB
Memory2.000000
Memory typePC2-6400
Maximum memory8GB
MotherboardIntel DG41MJ
Motherboard chipsetIntel G41

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone
Other portsnone

Internal Expansion

Casemini PC
PCI-E x1 slots (free)0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)0 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports1
Free memory slots1
Free 3.5in drive bays0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Hitachi TravelStar 5K500.B (HTS545025B9A)
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity250GB
Spindle speed5,400rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)Intel GMA X4500HD
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI

Sound

SoundRealtek ALC888VC
Sound outputs5.1 line out, stereo line out, mic in
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive modelOptiarc AD-7703S
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size22 in
Screen modelLG Flatron W2252TE
Native resolution1,680x1,050
Response time2ms
Screen inputsDVI, VGA

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardSweex KB220UK wireless keyboard
MouseSweex KB220UK wireless optical mouse

Software

Software includedEset NOD32 Antivirus
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantyfive years RTB
Price£699
Supplierhttp://www.very-pc.co.uk
Detailswww.very-pc.co.uk

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