Novatech Ion Fusion - Atom 330 PC - Novatech Ion Fusion

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


With the Novatech Ion Fusion's extremely efficient processor, large case, passive graphics cooling and modest 120W power supply you'd expect this machine to be very quiet, but unfortunately it isn't; in fact it's very noisy. So far then, two of the four major advantages of buying an Atom-based system have been negated: it's not particularly small or quiet, leaving only power usage and price as possible incentives. But before we get onto these, let's have a look at how the Novatech performs.

The one exception to the Ion's otherwise netbook-like specifications (1GB RAM, 160GB HDD, GMA 950 graphics) is of course the Atom 330 processor. Though it still only runs at 1.6GHz, the 330 is the only dual-core Atom, and not only has double the cores but also double the cache of any other Atom. The question is, how much of a difference does this make compared to an equally fast standard Atom such as the N270?

Unfortunately, the simple answer is not that much for most users. For example, both the Novatech Ion Fusion and a standard N270-based (single core 1.6GHz Atom) netbook managed a multi-tasking scenario running several video streams, word editing and browsing simultaneously without any problems.

For gaming and most other applications, the rest of the hardware isn't up to running anything that requires dual-core, leaving pure number crunching (i.e. de/encoding video/music, applying effects to images, or churning through an intense calculation in a spreadsheet) as the main scenario where the dual-core Atom has a serious impact.

To demonstrate just how much of one, we ran an MP3-encoding test, which took 15 minutes on the N270 netbook versus only seven and a half minutes for the same file on the 330. This is a reasonable performance gain, but then again, if you're planning to do this kind of thing you're better off getting a PC based on even a low-end Core 2 Duo or AMD Phenom processor.

However, the one area where the Atom excels is in its energy usage. Obviously the two cores use more than a single core would, but even so, under heavy load (with video files running from a USB flash drive and optical drive plus other tasks running in the background) the Ion Fusion's power usage never went above 46W. In 'everyday' scenarios such as word processing or surfing the net, that figure fell to around 30W - less than what the bundled 19in LG monitor uses. This might seem like a lot compared to the 8.5W maximum of the Linutop 2, but that little box is so basic it can't even run Windows whereas here we're talking about a fully-fledged (if slightly underpowered) PC.


May 11, 2009, 9:25 am

"you have what can only be described as a disappointment."

Yep, starting with the slightly disingenuous name; lack of Nvidia ION platform & graphics. Plus the noise etc. I was almost excited on first sight of the article, but now think a laptop would do the job I had in mind.


May 11, 2009, 1:03 pm

Talk about confusing branding, I expected a review of an ION system and it ended up being a dull Atom system with nothing much extra from every other system out there apart from the dual core CPU...


May 11, 2009, 2:13 pm

When is an ion not an ion?

When it has a neutral charge!

I'll let myself out...


May 11, 2009, 3:22 pm

@Chocoa & TheLostSwede:




Martin Daler

May 11, 2009, 10:05 pm

@smc8788 & TheLostSwede

as I'm sure you know, is there any difference between a "neutral ion" and an atom?


May 11, 2009, 11:12 pm

an ion is a charged species, an ionic species can be anything from a single atom (plus or minus electron(s) to give the charge) up to quite large molecules..... an atom is a single unit containing a nucleus of proton(s)and possibly neutrons(s) surrounded by a cloud of electron(s)


May 11, 2009, 11:13 pm

strangely, lists the "non-wireless" Windows version of the Revo as "in stock" with the other 2 variants (wireless Windows and 8GB Linux) due on the 18th...

The name of this disappointment may be confusing, but as Martin points out, a neutral Ion is an Atom so it is fitting in a way...

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