Does a certain price make a nonmobile computer a Nettop? How about a particular CPU or case design? The Averatec D1133 All-In-One blurs the lines. Its low price and relatively slow performance make an argument for calling it a Nettop. But even though it's slow by conventional PC standards, thanks to a low-power AMD Athlon X2 CPU, it's faster than PCs that use Intel's Atom chip, a part that generally signals "Nettop." Regardless of how you classify it, the $549 Averatec offers better performance than a typical Nettop and the convenience of a self-contained PC for a low price. It also suffers from a smaller screen than a recent Lenovo Nettop, and still-weak performance outlook due to a recent batch of speedy budget desktops. The Averatec D1133's extra speed might make it a lesser evil than a Nettop, but especially if you already have a monitor, it doesn't close the price-performance gap with standard budget PCs.
The Averatec D1133 has the same design as the D1100 model we reviewed last November. An 18.4-inch LCD connected to a base unit via a movable arm, the D1133 has roughly the same range of motion you'd find in a standard foot-supported all-in-one, the only difference being that you can actually bend the screen back so it lies parallel to the tabletop, facing up towards the ceiling. With no touch screen, we can't quite see the benefit of the D1133's unique screen positioning, but if Averatec rolls out a touch screen in the next product revision we could be looking at the virtual air hockey platform we've all been waiting for.
Even if the D1133's screen isn't touch-enabled, it's still a fairly decent LCD, which is surprising for its price. Lenovo's C300 Nettop can claim the largest display in this price range with its 20-inch LCD, but its black levels and 1,600x900 resolution both fall short of the Averetec's 18.4-inch, 1,680x945 screen. True, the Averatec's smaller screen will make DVD watching a bit harder from a distance. But from closer in, the Averatec has noticeably better image quality. The audio output on both is also so low volume-wise that to hear a movie without adding external speakers, you'll need to sit up close, minimizing the benefit of the Lenovo's larger screen.
That actually raises a few questions for us about the utility of either system as a home entertainment device. If you can see the screen but not hear the sound from either the Lenovo or the Averatec without sitting in front of it or adding speakers, neither system can claim that it's convenient to install, kiosk-style, as a movie watching device in a kitchen or some other high-visibility area in your home where you'd want minimal hardware fuss. At best, then, these systems work as Web terminals in those kinds of spaces. And if all you're doing in browsing the Web, a task for which screen size has little necessity, why even bother with a fixed device? For our money, a portable Netbook makes much more sense in such a scenario.
|Averatec D1133||Lenovo C300|
|CPU||1.5GHz AMD Athlon X2 3250e||1.6GHz Intel Atom N330|
|Memory||2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM||4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM|
|Graphics||512MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip||512MB (shared) ATI Mobility Radeon 4530 integrated graphics chip|
|Hard drives||250GB, 5,400 rpm||640GB, 7,200 rpm|
|Optical drive||dual-layer DVD burner||dual-layer DVD burner|
|Networking||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g wireless|
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit)||Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit)|
The differences between the Lenovo and the Averatec are clear enough that if you're dead-set on one of these systems, you have a relatively straightforward choice. The 18.4-inch Averatec and its low-wattage AMD Athlon X2 32503 chip focus primarily on relative speed, while the Lenovo and its 20-inch screen and larger hard drive focus on features and general usability. Among Nettops, the Averatec is easy to recommend for its performance edge, and we'd point you to the Lenovo if you're looking for a system for media consumption and storage. In the bigger picture of budget PCs, if you're looking for either performance or features, we highly urge you to turn away from both of these systems to a more robust option like Gateway's SX2800-01 slim tower.
|Rendering Multiple CPUs||Rendering Single CPU|
Our performance results make the Averatec's performance edge clear, at least next to other Nettops. The AMD chip helps the D1133 outperform the Lenovo C300 on every test, in some cases finishing our test workloads twice as fast. But as we found with the Lenovo C300, the Gateway SX2800-01, with its full-fledged Intel Core 2 Quad processor, embarrasses these underpowered Nettops. Considering that the Gateway plus a 19-inch LCD will only run you $20 more than the other systems on this chart, there's little to recommend even the Averatec if you're at all concerned with performance.
Averatec was considerate enough to include a few useful features on the otherwise spare exterior of the D1133, although they're difficult to locate. We're always glad to see hard controls for display power, brightness, and volume on an all-in-one, but we wish Averatec hadn't obscured them under a ledge of plastic sticking out from the D1133's base unit.
The D1133 does have a few uncommon ports for a low-cost all-in-one. We've seen $1,000 all-in-ones that lack DVI and eSATA outputs, so Averatec deserves credit for its connectivity options. If you buy this system with the intention of connecting it to an external display however, we respectfully suggest you abdicate your technology-purchasing decisions to someone with more sense. The standard collection of USB 2.0 and headphone and microphone jacks outlines the rest of the input/output choices.
|Averatec D1133 All-In-One|
|Raw (annual kWh)||101.49336|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$11.52|
Averatec is also to be commended for the power efficiency of its little D1133 All-in-One. Given its low-wattage CPU, we'd expect the D1133 to draw power sparingly. Consuming less power than the slower Lenovo C300 is a more impressive feat. None of these Nettops will really strain your annual power bill, but even among low-power PCs, it's interesting to see Averatec demonstrate that there's still room for its competitors to improve.
Averatec's parent company, Tri-Gem, backs the D1133 All-in-One with one year of parts-and-labor coverage, in keeping with the industry standard. Its phone based support is a toll call, and is only open on Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST. Online support for technical issues is basically nonexistent.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Asus Eee Top ET1602
Windows XP Home SP3; 1.6Ghz Intel Atom N270; 1GB DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics chip; 80GB, 5,400rpm Seagate hard drive
Averatec D1133 All-In-One
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit); 1.5GHz AMD Athlon X2 3250e; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 512MB ATI Radeon HD 3200; 250GB 5,400 rpm Samsung hard drive
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 1GB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics chip; 160GB 5,400 rpm Western Digital hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 640GB 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Atom 330; 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4350; 640GB 5,400 rpm Western Digital hard drive