Novatech Ion Fusion - Atom 330 PC - Novatech Ion Fusion

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

6

So energy usage is the only main advantage of the Novatech Ion Fusion over other SFF PCs so far, but what about price? Though Novatech's Ion range starts at £188.99, that's for an Atom 230 system. The one reviewed here is £309.35, which includes Windows XP.

For this kind of money, the biggest threats to Novatech's latest Atom PC are probably good old laptops. It's not difficult to find a 15.4in notebook with a 2GHz or faster Intel Celeron CPU, 2GB of RAM, similar 160GB hard drive and Windows Vista for around £300. This kind of configuration offers more of everything (including Wi-Fi and a card reader) and will do all the things the Ion Fusion can and possibly a little bit more too.

However, if you prefer the desktop route the Ion Fusion is more difficult to beat, but there are still other options worth considering. A compelling alternative is Asus' Eee Box, which is available with mouse and keyboard (albeit without a monitor) for only £246.16. This gets you a similarly-performing configuration except with a single-core Atom and no optical drive, but makes up for those by being smaller, lighter, quieter and more attractive, plus it offers digital connectivity in the form of DVI, built-in Draft-N wireless and a memory-card reader. However, add in the cost of a generic 19in monitor and you're looking at around £330, which also makes it £20 more expensive.

Furthermore, there are actual nVidia Ion nettops to be considered: Acer's up and coming Aspire Revo for example is available to pre-order for the same price as the Eee Box, offering double the memory, Vista Premium instead of XP, six USB ports, eSATA and HDMI - and best of all, thanks to its far superior graphics card it can not only handle light gaming but also Full HD films.

Overall then, if it's power you're after, the average laptop will offer more, though if you'd rather have a desktop machine Novatech provides a dual-core Atom system at a reasonable price. However, that dual-core CPU isn't worth its premium over single core in this kind of system, and in terms of value you're better off with the alternatives above or even Novatech's own Ion system, which is decent value at just under £190.

Verdict

While its price will attract many, Novatech's Ion Fusion system isn't quite the bargain it purports to be. For the kind of user that might use it, its dual-core Atom 330 doesn't offer a significant performance boost over a single-core one, while we also felt it to be too large and noisy for a low-power system.

Addendum - 12/05/09: This review, both its contents and scores, has been amended to reflect a mistake regarding pricing in the original review. We apologise, both to our readers and to the manufacturer, for any confusion caused.

Chocoa

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.

TheLostSwede

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...

smc8788

May 11, 2009, 2:13 pm

When is an ion not an ion?





When it has a neutral charge!





I'll let myself out...

TechVegan

May 11, 2009, 3:22 pm

@Chocoa & TheLostSwede:


Indeed.





@smc8788:


LOL

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?

gingerbreadman85

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)

ChaosDefinesOrder

May 11, 2009, 11:13 pm

strangely, Play.com 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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