A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the dc7700p from HP. It was the first vPro enabled computer I’d had the chance to look at and I was impressed by both its performance and the potential provided by the vPro technology. Now another stalwart of the business PC market, NEC, has provided us with its take on the vPro platform, the Powermate ML460 Pro.
Like the dc7700p, it’s an ultra-slim desktop PC that’s designed to fit neatly under your monitor and still leave you with enough space on your desk to actually do some work – unless you have a CRT monitor, of course. This is a great form factor that, when combined with an efficient CPU, gives a small, quiet, yet powerful and flexible system.
On NEC’s website, configuration options include the choice of Celeron D 3xx, Core 2 Duo D 6xxx, Pentium 5xx, and, Pentium D 8xx and 9xx CPUs, 512MB to 4GB RAM, 40GB to 160GB hard drives, DVD-RW or DVD-ROM/CDRW drives, and a variety of peripherals. Windows Vista Business comes installed as standard. Our review sample came with a Core 2 Duo E6600, 1GB RAM, and a 225GB hard drive. Yes, that’s a larger hard drive than is supposed to be available – someone’s obviously just thrown in a non-standard hard drive for our review sample.
Even though I covered the capabilities of the vPro platform in my dc7700p review, I’ll just give you a quick recap.
Like Centrino, vPro is a platform brand. Any computer based on Intel’s new Q965 chipset with an E6000 series Core 2 Duo CPU and an 82566DM Gigabit Ethernet controller will conform to the vPro standard.
What this provides you with is the ability to have out-of-band (when a PC is physically connected to a network but is turned off or otherwise out of action) access to your PC. A system administrator can access information about a PC's specifications, or turn it on remotely to perform updates or amendments. It also provides a host of security features by having a security agent embedded in the chipset. This can be used to monitor network traffic and isolate an infected machine from the network completely independently of the OS.
The PC is reassuringly sturdy and is well protected by a steel chassis, which is finished in a tough black paint. It’s quite happy sitting horizontally or vertically and has rubber feet on its bottom and right side to ensure it doesn’t slide around your desk. A slim silver plastic fascia surrounds the front and provides ventilation for the CPU fan intake.
Though the NEC and the HP are undeniably similar looking, there’s something more appealing about the NEC front panel. The symmetry and clean lines just work, for me at least.
On the front panel you’ll find two USB ports, microphone and headphone jacks, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, and a floppy drive. As seems to be the trend nowadays, there’s no reset button and you’ll have to rely on holding down the power button to cold boot.