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So onto the actual Ion Fusion unit itself. Taking this desktop out of its box, I was instantly disappointed. With dimensions of 270 x 75 x 325mm (W x H x D), its chassis is a lot bigger than I was expecting. Since the Ion Fusion features an optical drive and dual-core processor it would have been unrealistic to hope for something the size of the Asus Eee Box, but we're still essentially talking about a netbook in a desktop case here, and Novatech's effort is twice the size of my two-year old desktop work PC featuring a Core 2 Duo.
At 3.65kg, it's also heavy. Admittedly, this is mostly due to the largely metal chassis, which lends the Ion Fusion excellent build quality and durability, and means you can confidently put the monitor on top of the PC (in its horizontal position).
The front of the machine is finished in piano-black, broken by a silver strip which contains the power button. This would look fairly classy, were it not for the incongruously matte slim-line DVD-rewriter nestled in its centre.
Connectivity, meanwhile, is a bit outdated, though it will doubtless appeal to some businesses. Starting at the back, we have twin PS2 ports, parallel and serial ports, and VGA. Furthermore, we have three 3.5mm audio jacks (for outputting analogue 5.1-channel surround sound), four USB 2.0 ports and of course Ethernet.
Moving around to the Novatech's front, to the left side (or its bottom if upright) are another two USB ports, headphone and microphone jacks, and surprisingly enough an eSATA port. I was actually rather excited about this - a rare enough addition on a nettop - until I remembered the D945GCLF2D motherboard only supports two SATA ports. Opening the Ion Fusion up (which is easily done by removing three screws), my concerns were confirmed as the cable connected to the eSATA port is just tied off. This could be construed as misleading but, in fairness to Novatech, it doesn't list eSATA on the Ion Fusion's spec list.
While we're on the subject of the case's insides, as you might have guessed there's a lot of wasted space. At least this means most of the components are easy to get to if you want to upgrade, which you'll probably want to do with the memory - 1GB is enough to run Windows XP SP3 but, when multitasking or running more intensive programs, 2GB will make all the difference.
There's also a free PCI Express 1x slot, but since there's no gap in the back of the case to accommodate an expansion card, its uses are limited. The hard drive is a 3.5in one so it's also really easy to replace, though 160GB should be enough for most users who would be happy with an Atom's performance to begin with.
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