Benchmark Results: Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead 2 is a great game with a huge multi-player following, and we want to see if these nettops can handle playing it, since the game doesn't apply a heavy graphics load compared to other modern titles.
Once again, ASRock’s entry delivers great performance all the way up to 1080p, while the other options are less impressive. Zotac’s Zbox and Arctic Cooling’s MC001-BD might be considered passable at 720p and below, but Giada’s i50 is out of the running entirely.
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But at $504 with no operating system (and $399 for a version without an operating system, hard drive, or memory),
IDK, $800 for the ASRock CoreHT 252B. A laptop cost less, has better performance for that price range, better mobility and space saving plus you have everything (screen, speaker etc). I rather get a laptop for a small office.Reply
These all seem expensive to me, considering you could probably build a better mini itx slim form factor system from scratch for about half the price.Reply
As mentioned, no remove comes bundled with the Zbox.
Nettops? These things are far too expensive to be nettops.Reply
They are small form factor PCs or home theatre PCs, but they are not nettops.
btw: Mac mini should be in this lineup.
Very nice article. I was about to request something like it :)Reply
Mac Mini should be in this lineup? Actually, a good idea. I'd love to see how it compares to similar Wintel boxes.
I'm through with these small boxes because they're a pain in the a$$ to service and the hardware isn't good for the price ($800?! gimme a break!), but I see value in them for people who are ready to pay more for the small size.
If I would build a small form-factor box myself, I'd use something like this new Lian Li case which was in Tom's news recently - it can fit proper PCI/PCI-E cards.
Again, lovely article. Keep it up.
P.S. The ASRock box is great.
I second the sentiment that these aren't really nettops. Luckily, the next iteration of Llano should rectify that, creating the golden triangle of CPU , GPU, and low cost. At least that's what I expect anyway. These reviewed units are more HTPC solutions than low cost nettop. Intel has a new half height miniITX initiative with a rare and relatively expensive 1155 mini ITX to match. However, once Intel's iGPU gets a serving of HTPC friendly features, you could build your own full featured, passively cooled system to take these units on performance and price as well. The move to 22nm should make low powered passively cooled CPUs easy to get right. As it stands, each of the solutions tested are pretty good, but I'm not sure that any of them are worth the asking price. In particular, I've always avoided Atom like the plague, and I don't think they're appropriate in small form factor systems that cost more than about $200.Reply
Can we now have a comparison against a couple of ITX builds? Choose an nice looking case and show us what can be put together for similar money.Reply
I've owned an E350 - struggles with HD playback in a linux system, there doesn't appear to be any support for the amd hardware decoding. So if you were thinking of making a linux htpc out of it, go for something more powerful... It will perform better though as in the article above if using Windows (Using I think - Media Player classic which allows hardware h.264 decode.)Reply