A pricey but beautifully-made low-power compact PC
3.1GHz Intel Core i3-2100, 4GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
VeryPC makes low-power PCs for education, business and the home. The Broadleaf is their latest compact base unit, and as it has an Intel Sandy Bridge processor, it’s not short of performance.
The Broadleaf is tiny, if not quite as miniature as a Mac Mini. It’s as wide as a magazine and only 3/4 the length, so will happily sit on your desk. It’s also quiet, only making an unobtrusive low hum. It’s a lightweight yet very well made PC – the case is made entirely from aluminium with a matte black finish, and the PC feels like a quality item.
The front panel has a slimline DVD writer, a couple of USB2 ports and headphone and microphone sockets. The rear has four further USB2 ports and a couple of USB3. You’ll need the USB ports for expansion, as there’s no room inside the case and opening up the PC will invalidate your warranty. There is a free memory slot to add to the PC’s 4GB RAM, but VeryPC will have to fit the memory for you.
You’ll have no problems connecting the Broadleaf to a monitor, as the rear panel has DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, and a DVI to VGA adaptor is in the box. You could also use it as a media centre PC, as you have 7.1 surround sound outputs for PC speakers and an optical S/PDIF to connect to speakers or amplifiers that don’t support HDMI audio.
Even though we’d have liked to see 1TB of hard disk space at this price, the 500GB disk still provides a fair amount of storage and is the same size as you’d get in a Mac Mini. The PC’s Intel Core i3-2100 processor is only a dual-core model, but an overall score of 60 in our benchmarks shows the Broadleaf has no problem with everyday tasks and could handle more demanding applications; it’s also the same score as the Mac Mini managed. The processor’s integrated graphics couldn’t run our Dirt 3 benchmark, so you’ll have to stick with older games or put up with very low resolutions and detail levels.
The PC makes good on its low-power promises. It draws just 19W at idle and 59W under load, which is half that of even the least power-hungry PCs we saw in last month’s Labs. If you leave it in standby it will draw just 4W. Again, these power consumption figures are almost identical to those of the Mac Mini.
VeryPC’s Broadleaf is expensive for a PC base unit, but its low noise levels and high-quality construction mean you can see where the money has gone. While not as stylish, it’s also a fair rival for the higher-end 2.5GHz Mac Mini, matching it for 2D (but not 3D) performance, noise and power consumption, while being £120 cheaper and with the advantage of an optical drive. VeryPC also gives you a huge five-year RTB warranty, so if you’re after a well-made PC and peace of mind, it’s a good buy.
|Processor||Intel Core i3-2100|
|Processor external bus||100MHz|
|Processor clock speed||3.1GHz|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel H67 Express|
|USB2 ports (front/rear)||2/6|
|Firewire ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/1|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||none|
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)||none|
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)||none|
|Free Serial ATA ports||0|
|Free memory slots||1|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||0|
|Hard disk model(s)||WD WD5000BPKT-00PK4T0|
|Total storage capacity||500GB|
|Graphics card(s)||Intel HD Graphics 3000|
|Graphics/video ports||DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort|
|Sound||Realtek HD Audio|
|Sound outputs||optical S/PDIF. 5x analogue|
|Supported memory cards||none|
|Optical drive type(s)||DVD+/-RW|
|Software included||OpenOffice 3.3|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Operating system restore option||restore disc|
|Warranty||five years RTB|