We put Giada’s Slim-N20, Jetway’s Mini-TOP, and Zotac’s ZBOX to the test. Does Intel's Atom D500-series offer smooth performance in these nettops when it's paired with Nvidia’s ION 2 graphics, or does the platform fall short of entertainment excellence?
Giada’s Slim-N20 is available for $449 on Amazon.com. It comes with 2 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard disk, and the Windows 7 Home Premium operating system. Our white plastic test unit has an elegant Apple-ish look to it, with a brushed metal accent around its edge.
The Slim-N20 is by far the smallest nettop PC that we look at today. The case dimensions are a svelte 7” x 6.5” x 7/8”. Below is what it looks next to Nintendo’s Wii:
It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come. According to PassMark, the Atom D510 inside the Giada N20 is roughly equivalent to a 3.73 GHz Pentium 4. While this is the only 1.66 GHz Atom D510 CPU in our test group—the other models use the slightly faster 1.8 GHz D525 model—Nvidia's Ion 2 graphics chipset runs at the same 533 MHz core/1230 MHz shader/790 MHz RAM speed across all three of these PCs.
On the back of the N20, we see HDMI and VGA video outputs, an optical S/PDIF audio output, two USB ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, and the power supply input.
You can't see it, of course, but the Giada Slim-N20 is the only nettop in our roundup that offers Bluetooth wireless connectivity in addition to WiFi.
On the top of the unit, a small door conceals a memory card reader, an eSATA port, and the requisite speaker and microphone jacks. Note that the eSATA port also doubles as a USB port.
The Giada N20 comes with a metal base, an external 19 V/3.42 A DC power supply, an HDMI cable, a driver CD, a manual, a warranty card, and a remote with two AAA batteries.
The remote is a fairly standard media center-oriented piece of hardware, with requisite directional keys and playback controls. The large music button launches Windows Media Center. Of all three of the nettops we test, the Giada’s remote boasts the farthest range (at 8.5’) and the widest cone of responsiveness, with over 180 degrees of coverage.
The Giada Slim-N20 doesn't include instructions on how to disassemble it. Presumably, the company prefers that customers don’t tackle this on their own. Having said that, it’s not overly difficult to figure out how to open it, and the bulk of the work involves simply prying the unit apart after carefully removing the two screws at the bottom.
It is impressive that the manufacturer manages squish the Giada Slim-N20’s hardware into its tiny case. The internals are impressive in that the hard disk and memory are accessible, with the DDR2 SODIMM slot on the back of the motherboard. You can see the leads for the wireless antenna attach to the sides of the case—there are no external antennas to affix.
- Nettop Roundup
- Giada's Slim-N20
- Jetway Mini-TOP
- Zotac ZBOX
- Test Systems And Benchmarks
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Benchmark Results: Gaming
- Benchmark Results: Response Time
- HD Video Benchmarks
- Networking Benchmarks
- Power, Temperature, And Noise Benchmarks
- Conclusion: Just Powerful Enough To Feel That Way