Foxconn Nettop NT535 review
If you have old parts lying around, a barebones PC is a great way to make use of them and get yourself a cheap second PC. Foxconn’s NT535 does just that, coming pre-fitted with just a motherboard and Intel Atom processor.
It’s around the same size and shape as a wireless router, and though the glossy plastic chassis feels flimsy, it has plenty of ports scattered around it. They include HDMI and VGA, Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi, a card reader and a generous six USB 2 slots.
To test the 1.8GHz Atom D525, we installed Windows 7 Home Premium on an 80GB hard disk and fitted 2GB of DDR3 RAM. Our benchmarks ran pretty much as we’d expect, giving an overall score of 0.25 and 0.38 in the Responsiveness test.
Where it suffers against recent nettops is in the graphics department. Unlike the AMD Brazos APU with its impressive graphical power, here you’re stuck with the Atom’s old GMA 3150 chip. We ran TrackMania Nations Forever at 640 x 480 and the lowest quality settings and it managed just 16fps. Suffice it to say the Atom is looking a little limp when not paired with Nvidia Ion.
Video playback wasn’t much better. We tested files from both the hard drive and from online sources such as BBC iPlayer. Up to 720p playback had just a few dropped frames, but all attempts to play a 1080p MKV file proved futile. The NT535 won’t do a great job as a media system.
It does keep its cool under pressure. When we pushed the processor to its limits we recorded a peak temperature of just 58°C. It doesn’t eat up power either, drawing just 19W when idle and 23W at full throttle.
At £141 inc VAT it’s a simple way to make use of those old components in your PC drawer. But since Brazos arrived, the Atom on its own is beginning to look underpowered for anything beyond basic day to day activities. If that’s not a concern this is a perfectly reasonable barebones PC, but we’d spend a bit more on something with a longer shelf life.