Connectivity is located around the edges of the base, which makes it much more accessible than on the iMac, where it’s all located at the rear. Down the left hand side you find two USB ports, a headphone and microphone sockets and an SD card slot.
At the back you’ll find two more USB ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and no less than two HDMI ports. One of these is an output, while the other is an input, which means you can use the PC as a display for an external device such as an Xbox 360, PS3, or PVR as well as feeding its signal to a large TV. This is a great plus and a distinct advantage over almost every other all-in-one out there, including the well-connected MSI Wind Top AE2400.
You’ll also find an input for a hybrid analogue and digital DVB-T TV tuner, accessible via a supplied break-out connector, while a sleek remote control is supplied for Windows Media Center operation. The remote matches the white finish of the main PC, but it’s a shame that you’ll have to attach the supplied infra-red receiver via USB, rather than it being integrated.
At the rear left you’ll find a Kensington lock hole, while at the rear right there’s a button for engaging a Wireless Bluetooth Wizard should your peripherals lose connectivity, though we never had this issue during testing.
One thing that’s missing from the chassis is an optical drive, with an external DVD burner supplied in the package, and this will need to be attached via USB. This lack of integration can be viewed as a disappointment, since it will mean an extra box and cable clutter, especially if you need regular access to the DVD drive.
If you’re a regular DVD watcher it’s an issue, but with so much media now consumed online, we don’t see it as too much of an issue. It’s a shame that the drive isn’t a Blu-ray drive model, but at least you can hook up a PS3 or dedicated Blu-ray player if you do want to watch disc-based media.
Fixed storage is provided by a single 500GB drive from Hitachi. While this is ample for local storage, this is a 2.5in, 5,400rpm notebook SATA drive, so performance isn’t going to be stellar. Indeed, the HDD score from PC Mark Vantage hard disk test reflects this, achieving a lacklustre 2668 points – lower than the HP, MSI, and Samsung Windows based all-in-one PCs we’ve tested.
In terms of core specs our review sample was powered by an Intel Core i3 M350 running at 2.27GHz, along with 4GB of 667MHz DDR3 RAM. The latter was installed in one of the two RAM slots, which means the system was only running in single channel memory mode, again compromising performance.
A free DIMM slot is on hand so you could add another to go up to 8GB, but this system doesn’t lend itself to user upgrading. Also, 4GB should suit users of this type of machine, so we would probably have preferred to see two 2GB DIMMs used from the outset.