Advent Firefly FP9004 review

£320
Price when reviewed

We see plenty of cheap PCs in the PC Pro Labs, but the majority that manage to creep beneath the £300 barrier do so by using low-powered Atom processors. That’s fine for a basic nettop, but if your needs extend to more processor-intensive applications what you really want is a full-fat, dual-core alternative packing Windows 7. Step forward the Advent Firefly FP9004.

Its £278 exc VAT price puts it firmly in ultra-low budget territory, but you wouldn’t know it from using it. The glossy black chassis is big enough to house the necessary cooling for a proper processor, and Advent has opted for Intel’s 2.6GHz Pentium Dual-Core E5300. It’s at the low end of the scale, but it still performs around three times faster than a dual-core Atom 330 in our application benchmarks.

The Firefly partners this CPU with 2GB of DDR2 memory and a 320GB Western Digital Caviar Blue hard disk, and its overall score of 1.11 shows it’s more than capable of coping with the daily needs of a family or home office. The trade-off for this is that it’s nowhere near as compact as some other cheap systems we’ve seen – the redesigned Asus Eee Box, for example.

Advent Firefly FP9004

It is flexible, though. It can stand upright or lie on a desk, and the top edge forms the main air vent grille. The sleek front panel, split down the centre by a white LED, makes it look more expensive than it is, and we’d almost go so far as to call it mildly stylish. It isn’t too large – around 300mm tall and 320mm deep – so it will tuck away on the corner of a desk where a full desktop chassis might stick out. It isn’t exactly built like a Lenovo but the finish feels sturdy enough, with only the flimsy DVD drive flap posing a potential weakness.

Open it up and you’ll see everything is rather snug inside; Advent has used every inch of the available space. The 250W power supply sits at the foot of the chassis, beneath a microATX Foxconn motherboard, while a stock Intel cooler sits atop the CPU. No expansion cards are installed as standard, but there are PCI Express x16 and x1 slots free should you want to add a graphics card or TV tuner. However, the single RAM slot is filled, so there isn’t much scope for boosting performance.

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 320
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Screen size N/A

Processor

CPU family Intel Pentium
CPU nominal frequency 2.60GHz
CPU overclocked frequency N/A
Processor socket LGA 775

Motherboard

Motherboard Foxconn G31S
Motherboard chipset Intel G31
Conventional PCI slots free 0
Conventional PCI slots total 0
PCI-E x16 slots free 1
PCI-E x16 slots total 1
PCI-E x8 slots free 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 1
PCI-E x1 slots total 1
Internal SATA connectors 2
Internal SAS connectors 0
Internal PATA connectors 0
Internal floppy connectors 0
Wired adapter speed 100Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR2
Memory sockets free 0
Memory sockets total 1

Graphics card

Graphics card N/A
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
Graphics chipset Intel GMA X3100
DVI-I outputs 0
HDMI outputs 0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 0
Number of graphics cards 0

Hard disk

Hard disk Western Digital Caviar Blue
Capacity 320GB
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Cache size 8MB
Hard disk 2 make and model N/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speed N/A
Hard disk 2 cache size N/A
Hard disk 3 make and model N/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 4 make and model N/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacity N/A

Drives

Optical drive HT-DT-ST GH40F
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical disk 2 make and model N/A
Optical disk 3 make and model N/A

Monitor

Monitor make and model None
Resolution screen horizontal N/A
Resolution screen vertical N/A
Resolution N/A x N/A
Pixel response time N/A
Contrast ratio N/A
Screen brightness N/A
DVI inputs N/A
HDMI inputs N/A
VGA inputs N/A
DisplayPort inputs N/A

Additional Peripherals

Speakers N/A
Speaker type N/A
Sound card Realtek HD Audio
Peripherals None

Case

Case format Desktop
Dimensions 93 x 320 x 300mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply rating 250W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 6
PS/2 mouse port yes
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 1
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Modem no
3.5mm audio jacks 3

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2
Front panel memory card reader yes

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard Advent mouse & keyboard

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 40W
Peak power consumption 65W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score 1.11
Office application benchmark score 0.88
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.40
Encoding application benchmark score 1.15
Multitasking application benchmark score 0.98

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