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Internally there isn’t much to fiddle around with either, as there’s not a lot of space for anything apart from the bits that are already in place. Evesham has yet to take advantage of the mini-PCI slot, but it can be populated with a Wi-Fi card which is available as an upgrade option. Processor wise the model on review came fitted with a 2GHz Pentium M 760, which is powerful enough for every day tasks, but it does have some limitations. The CPU cooler can get quite noisy when the machine gets hot, which was something I didn’t expect and this is an issue I hope that AOpen will look into. Considering that there is no PSU fan noise due to the Mini PC using an external PSU, having a noisy CPU cooler is more disappointing than in a desktop machine.
Alongside the CPU is 512MB of PC4200 DDR2 memory and an 80GB hard drive, pretty much what you get in and entry level PC these days. The integrated i915GM graphics core uses at least 8MB of the system memory and can dynamically allocate more. The optical drive is from Matsushita and handles all current formats. It will write to DVD+/-R media at 8x, DVD+/-RW media at 4x, DVD+R DL at 2.4x and DVD-RAM at 5x. That’s not as fast as the latest generation of 5.25in drives, but it is a top-of-the-range for a notebook drive. Finally there is a small internal speaker that is good enough for the Windows sounds, but not for music.
Evesham has pre-installed Windows XP Media Center Edition on the Mini PC, although no remote control was supplied, so don’t be able to sit in your sofa and control it. You can get an external TV tuner as an upgrade option, but oddly no remote or USB receiver seem to be on the list of accessories. Evesham doesn’t supply a keyboard or mouse either, which makes this look more and more like a Mac mini in terms of what you get for your money. You can of course add this as well as a display, more memory, a larger hard drive and a few other accessories at the time you order the system.
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