Anders fit-PC2 review
We’ve seen our fair share of nettops since they began to appear in the shops last year. And, while the quality of these machines has run the gamut from awful to awesome, none of them can claim to have been a mere 27mm tall, 101mm wide and 115mm deep. Those dimensions belong to Anders Electronics’ fit-PC2, which, despite such tiny dimensions, still manages to boast a respectable nettop specification.
This is a PC that’s able to fit into spaces where the average nettop just won’t reach. And as build quality is up to standard – the chassis is made from die-cast aluminium and feels robust – we’d feel comfortable tossing the machine into a bag and carrying it around without fear of damage.
The case’s tiny size does mean that limitations are inevitable. The two USB ports on the front of the machine are of the mini-USB variety, and there are no luxury extras of the sort we’ve seen on other nettop machines – there’s no eSATA port or TV tuner here.
The amount that Anders has managed to squeeze in is surprising, though. Four full-sized USB ports grace the rear of the machine along with a proprietary DVI-D output to save space; an adapter is provided in the box. There’s also an Ethernet socket and a trio of audio jacks, a stubby aerial providing 802.11g Wi-Fi connectivity, plus the front houses a miniSD slot and infrared receiver.
Remarkably, it’s even possible to upgrade the hard disk. A small slot on the rear of the machine can be unscrewed and the 2.5in 160GB Seagate disk removed, making it easy to install a larger or faster disk in its place – or, potentially, a lightning-quick SSD. That’s the only upgrade available, though. The memory and processor is soldered onto the PCB, which is mounted upside down in the chassis.
The CPU and memory in question comprise an Intel Atom Z530 running at a clock speed of 1.6GHz and 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 RAM, which with the help of Windows XP produced a score of 0.36 in our application-based benchmarks. It isn’t a record-breaking score by any means, but it’s as quick as most netbooks we’ve seen, and enough to handle basic word processing and web surfing. It’s also slightly quicker than the 0.29 scored by the A-Listed Acer Aspire Revo R3600. Despite boasting a superior specification, that system was held back by its choice of Windows Vista instead of XP.
The fit-PC2 is a very frugal machine too, drawing a mere 7W when idle, with its power draw only rising to 13W during our CPU-taxing multitasking benchmarks. It’s a fantastic result and far below even the most economical nettops: the Acer Aspire Revo R3600 drew 22W when idle and 27W at peak.
It’s hardly surprising to report that the integrated Intel GMA500 graphics aren’t up to much, though. Serious gaming is well beyond this small PC’s reach and, despite the presence of a specially-developed video codec, HD video can be played only in 720p guise. Push up the resolution to Full HD and, although undemanding 1080p movie clips play smoothly, the fit-PC2 responds with screen flicker and tearing.
The heat levels this little PC reaches while running, however, are more of a worry. We found that the fit-PC2 idled at around 60-degrees, but quickly rose to nearer 75-degrees when running any taxing applications. With no fans or ventilation in such a small case, the exterior soon becomes extremely hot to the touch. We wouldn’t recommend leaving the fit-PC2 switched on all day, despite Anders’ claims that it’s ideal for use as a small server or media centre.