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Advent Firefly FP9004 review

Seth Barton
3 Mar 2010
Advent Firefly FP9004
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
320
inc VAT

It's a good-looking little PC, but its aging motherboard only has a basic range of ports and outputs.

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Specifications

2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5300, 2.000000 RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

Advent's Firefly FP9004 is a very smart-looking PC, with we think looks considerably more expensive than it is. This mini-tower has a white LED strip that runs straight down the centre of the fascia. LED lighting usually looks tacky, but this succeeds in being stylish. The power and reset switches are on the top of the case at the front, making them easy to reach if you place the Firefly beneath your desk.

Advent describe the Firefly as a Space-saving PC, and though it's considerably chunkier than some nettops (like the Asus Eee Box EB1012, below), it's compact for a fully fledged PC. It's unobtrusive when it comes to noise too, making only the slightest of whirring sounds when running our benchmarks.

Despite its small dimensions, there's space inside for adding expansion cards. These have to be half-height cards, but you can get TV tuners, graphics cards and wireless network adaptors that will fit. This means you can expand the capabilities of your PC without a mess of external devices.

There are two USB ports on the front, and a further four on the back. The selection of other ports is fairly limited, with only a VGA output for the integrated graphics chipset, a basic 5.1 surround sound audio output, 10/100 Ethernet and a pair of PS/2 connectors.

The DVD writer is hidden beneath a flap to keep everything neat and tidy, below it is a memory card reader with support for all the usual formats, except xD cards. Inside is a reasonably sized 320GB hard disk for storing your files. Unsurprisingly, this comes with Windows 7 Home Premium installed. There's no space to add additional drives, and both SATA ports are in use too.

Its Intel Pentium Dual Core E5300 processor runs at 2.6GHz. It's showing its age, with an overall score of just 71, but this is still many times quicker than any nettop. The Foxconn G31S motherboard only has a single DDR2 slot, with a 2GB memory module installed. This is the maximum module size that can be fitted to this board, so it's impossible to upgrade the memory later. It's enough for most tasks, but you'll have problems if you want to edit any quantity of HD video.

We tried playing back Blu-ray quality HD video on the Firefly. It managed it smoothly, but there's no video acceleration on offer from the Intel GMA 3100 chipset, and so it used the vast majority of the available processing power. If you want to regularly watch HD video, we'd recommend a PC with a more modern graphics chipset.

Its relatively old motherboard technology makes the Firefly look old fashioned next to Ion based nettops like the Asus EB1012 – which has HD video acceleration plus far more ports and an HDMI output. On the other hand it isn’t much more expensive, and it's far more powerful in applications. If size isn't an issue then you can get a far more powerful PC for around £400. However, if you want decent application performance from a compact PC then the stylish Firefly is still a good buy.

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 128KB
Level 2 cache2048KB
Memory2.000000
Memory typeDDR2
Maximum memory2GB
MotherboardFoxconn G31S
Motherboard chipsetIntel G31

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports10/100
Wireless networking support802.11n
Other portsVGA

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports0
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Western Digital Caviar SE (WD3200AAJS)
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity320GB
Spindle speed7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)Intel GMA 3100
Graphics/video portsVGA

Sound

SoundIntel HD Audio
Sound outputs5.1 line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsCF, SD, SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Duo
Optical drive modelHL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH40F
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Screen modelN/A
Native resolutionN/A
Response timeN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardAdvent SWT1200
MouseAdvent GP-M3000

Software

Software includedN/A
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB or customer carry in
Price£320
Supplierhttp://www.pcworld.co.uk
Detailswww.pcworld.co.uk

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