Advent AIO-101 review

£679
Price when reviewed

Most of the all-in-one PCs we see fall into one of two camps. There are plenty of low-cost nettops around, and quite a few luxury models costing over a grand, but in the middle ground, there are relatively few contenders. That’s exactly where Advent’s AIO-101 sits, priced at £590 exc VAT.

In this price bracket, it’s up against the lower-end Dell Studio One 19 model, which currently retails for £564 exc VAT, but if you’re expecting a similar specification, you’ll be disappointed. The Advent’s processor – an AMD Athlon X2 3250e – can’t compete with the Studio’s 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo.

It’s the first time we’ve seen this processor, and on the positive side it’s 1.5GHz clock speed and dual cores help the AIO-101 beat most Atom-based systems hands down for performance, while matching them for power efficiency. It scored 0.64 in our application-based 2D benchmarks, which is around 60% faster than even the best XP-based Atom systems.

And, though HD video didn’t prove too much of a problem for the AIO-101, its ATI Radeon HD 3450 graphics chip won’t blow you away with its gaming ability. It limped through our low-quality Crysis benchmark, run at 1,024 x 768, at a sluggish 8fps.

Elsewhere, there’s 4GB of RAM and a 320GB hard disk – more memory and hard disk space than the Studio One 19 – and draft-n wireless alongside Gigabit Ethernet means that connectivity is up to scratch.

Even more welcome is a hybrid analog/DVB/T TV tuner, the sort of kit that we’re used to seeing in expensive Sony VAIO all-in-one machines, but certainly not in aggressively-priced machines like the Advent. The Dell Studio One 19 doesn’t have one as part of its basic specification.

And, despite the decent specification, Advent has managed to keep the power draw low: the AIO-101 pulled just 41W when idle and 58W when running through the most demanding part of our benchmarks. It’s not quite as low as some Atom-based machines we’ve seen, but it’s still far below the norm from fully-fledged desktop systems.

This media-friendly specification is wrapped up in a package that, unfortunately, is less tempting. It’s a similar design to the AIO-156, with all the major components housed in the base and the screen perched atop an adjustable neck. Build quality is just as unconvincing, thanks to a spindly, wobbly screen support; we’d have preferred to see the iMac-like chassis used for the Advent AIO-200, which looked good and felt rock-solid.

And though the speakers are a tinny-sounding mess, we have few complaints about the screen. Its native resolution of 1,680 x 945 is unusual but suits the 18.4in frame and, aside from a slightly pale finish, there are no serious faults to report. Colours are reproduced accurately throughout and there’s no backlight bleed to be found.

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There’s a decent selection of ports and sockets too. The front houses a card reader and buttons for tweaking the monitor, while the rear offers Gigabit Ethernet, three USB ports, eSATA and a DVI-I for attaching a second screen. The keyboard and mouse included with the Advent are basic, but perfectly comfortable to use.

There’s no doubting that Advent has crammed a lot in to the AIO-101: the TV tuner ensures that there’s more media muscle on offer here than with many rival machines, and the rest of the specification is more than capable of coping with web surfing, word processing and the sorts of basic tasks that most home computers are asked to do. It’s noticeably nippier than Atom systems too, so if you do want to do something a little more demanding from time to time – ripping a CD or doing a touch of light video editing – you won’t be grinding your teeth quite as much.

Warranty

Warranty1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity320
RAM capacity4.00GB
Screen size18.4in

Processor

CPU familyAMD
CPU nominal frequency1.50GHz
CPU overclocked frequencyN/A

Motherboard

Conventional PCI slots free0
PCI-E x16 slots free0
PCI-E x8 slots free0
PCI-E x4 slots free0
PCI-E x1 slots free0
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory typeDDR2

Graphics card

3D performance settingLow
Graphics chipsetATI Mobility Radeon HD 3450
DVI-I outputs1
HDMI outputs0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Hard disk

Capacity320GB

Drives

Optical driveSamsung TS-L633A
Optical disc technologyDVD writer

Monitor

Resolution screen horizontal1,680
Resolution screen vertical945
Resolution1680 x 945
DVI inputs0
HDMI inputs0
VGA inputs0
DisplayPort inputs0

Additional Peripherals

SpeakersN/A
Speaker typeStereo

Case

Case formatAll-in-one
Dimensions446 x 215 x 372mm (WDH)

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)3
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardWired keyboard and mouse

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows Vista

Noise and power

Idle power consumption41W
Peak power consumption58W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score0.64
Office application benchmark score0.57
2D graphics application benchmark score0.76
Encoding application benchmark score0.60
Multitasking application benchmark score0.61
3D performance (crysis) low settings8fps
3D performance settingLow

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