Transtec Senyo 610 review

Price when reviewed

The last few months have seen a selection of tiny PCs arrive in the PC Pro Labs, and they never fail to attract attention. The promise of a respectable amount of computing power in a case barely bigger than a hardback book makes our desktop systems seem huge and cumbersome in comparison.

Transtec Senyo 610 review

Of these only the VeryPC Treeton – our current value PC A List champion – has really impressed us, though. The Asus Nova mixed mediocre performance with a high price, and the MSI Titan limped through our 2D benchmarks. Transtec’s tiny Senyo 610 now takes up the challenge, and its powerful specification, attractive looks and slimline profile make a good first impression.

The case is two-tone, with a band of wine-coloured plastic sandwiched in between a silver-coloured top and bottom. The front of the machine is relatively sparse but functional, with a slot-loading Panasonic DVD writer sitting above the power button, single USB port and a 3-in-1 card reader.

On the rear is better appointed. Three USB ports are complemented by a DVI-I output an S-Video output, LAN port, a pair of audio jacks and 1394 FireWire socket. It’s a far better selection than the MSI Titan, which made do with four USB ports, audio jacks and little else, although the Senyo does lack the HDMI output of the Treeton.

The case seems even more impressive when you take a look inside: tightly packed components abound, with hardly any wasted space in between. Two-thirds of the chassis is occupied by the optical drive and hard disk, with the former sitting atop the latter. The final third of the chassis is dominated by a small CPU fan and heatsink that channels any heat out of the side of the case. This keeps the Senyo extremely cool, even under intense load, and noise levels are also impressively low.

The tightly-packed arrangement of components is made possible by a selection of small PCB risers, installed both horizontally and vertically, that allow for various parts to be connected to within the tightest of tolerances. The optical drive, hard disk, selection of rear ports and power connection at the front of the case all benefit from this intelligent, space-saving design. Touches like these mean that the Senyo is smaller than almost all of its rivals, with the Titan, Treeton and Nova boasting bulkier dimensions. Only the Mac Mini (web ID: 86246) can claim a smaller desktop footprint.

The components adhere to the same space and power-saving ethos of the chassis. The processor is an Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile T8300, which is based around the 45nm Penryn core and runs at 2.4GHz. Its TDP of 35W is lower than all of the T8300’s Core 2 Duo desktop counterparts and, again, bodes well for lower power consumption.

Other components also have mobile origins: two sticks of 512MB SO-DIMM memory provide 1GB of RAM, and the hard disk and optical drive are both laptop models slim enough to stack together inside the case. The Intel 4965AGN Wi-Fi adapter is, again, normally found in notebooks – and endows the Senyo with fast, draft-n wireless capabilities that outstrip those of rival machines. The Asus Nova, for instance, only supports 802.11bg, and the Mac Mini provides only 802.11g.

The thoughtful specification results in impressively frugal power requirements – the tiny PC drew 31W when idle and only 36W when we ran our intensive multiple application benchmark test, with both figures comparing favourably to rivals. The VeryPC Treeton, for instance, drew only 28W when idle, but this more than doubled to 60W at peak performance. The MSI Titan only required 20W at rest, but it’s a far less powerful machine – and it also drew 36W when we ran our demanding benchmarks on it.

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