If you could stick the Advent’s noise you might think this would be an okay base system which you could upgrade later on, but though there are plenty of free drive bays (one free 5.25in bay, one external 3.5in and four internal ones) and even a bit of motherboard expansion (one PCI and one PCIe x4), you can’t upgrade the RAM because both slots are filled, and the generic 350W power supply won’t handle a powerful graphics card.
Admittedly this is not a system aimed at the kind of consumer who would upgrade, so let’s take a look at the peripherals. The keyboard is a matte black PS2 model with a completely bog-standard layout, lacking even basic multimedia controls like volume. The keys are quiet but rather mushy so if you do plan on doing a lot of typing, you’ll want to replace this keyboard straight away.
The optical ambidextrous mouse is a lot better. First of all it’s USB rather than PS2 and its shape is fairly comfortable, while the combination of matte and gloss black plastic isn’t too unattractive. Its two-way rubberised scroll wheel is also quite comfortable, and offers notched feedback so you could even use it for some light gaming. Both of the mouse’s main buttons have a nice positive spring, but the wheel’s click is a bit stiff.
Back to the PC, and sitting behind the sliding brushed-metal panel on the machine’s front – one of the few really classy touches – is a memory card reader that will take all the popular formats, two USB ports plus headphone and microphone jacks. Above this is the DVD-Rewriter while below it resides a large power button that’s nicely backlit in blue when the machine is turned on. Below this again is a small but far too easily-pressed reset button.
Around the back is a basic selection of connections including two PS2 and four USB ports, an Ethernet connection and three analogue 3.5mm audio jacks – no sign of eSATA here. VGA, DVI and HDMI outputs are provided by the video card, and Advent definitely deserves some praise for covering the motherboard’s integrated VGA and DVI ports with removable rubber seals to prevent confusion for the less tech-savvy consumer.