Four versions of the GreenPC are available and in both performance and price they offer enough choice for most people. The cheapest is undeniably underpowered with only 512MB RAM and an AMD LE-1200 CPU but at £299 it’s also very cheap. Next in line is the system I’m looking at today that uses AMD’s BE 2300 CPU and 1GB RAM, which can be had for £399. At £549, the GreenPC 478 uses an Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 CPU and 1GB RAM and offers a bit more performance than the AMD solution. At the top of the pile is the Type 14 that is housed in a rather fetching case, has a 500GB hard drive and comes with a TV tuner, making it the perfect media centre PC. At £786 though, it is quite expensive.
The two middle specifications use the same chassis, which is the one I’m looking at today. It’s a mini-desktop case that can house micro-ATX motherboards, take full height expansion cards, and has room for two 5.25in drives (i.e. CD/DVD drives), one external 3.5in drive (either a floppy drive or multi-card reader) and one internal 3.5in drive (hard drive). The front houses two USB, a six-pin FireWire port, and two 3.5mm jack sockets, as well as a multi-format card reader / floppy disk drive, so plenty of easily accessible connectivity and storage options.
The aesthetics are nothing to write home about with a predominately black outside being off set by silver highlights here and there. It is also constructed primarily of steel so it weighs a fair amount but in all honesty, for £399, it’s all I would expect. As for the silver writing along the side, though, the less said about that, the better.
One of the key selling points of this system is the HDCP compliant HDMI output that makes the GreenPC perfect for connecting up to a TV and playing back movies. You won’t be able to playback HD DVD or Blu-ray discs but the system should cope admirably with any other form of video. The socket is integrated right onto the motherboard where it is joined by two PS2 ports for a keyboard and mouse, four USB ports, an Ethernet port, six analogue audio sockets, a parallel port, and VGA out. An extra plate in one of the expansion slots has connections for S-Video and Composite video output as well, so those with older TVs can still enjoy some video goodness. Included in the box is an HDMI to DVI converter so if you just want to use a normal monitor you still can.
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