Unlike netbooks, that gained immense popularity, nettops haven’t had their share in comparative terms. Nevertheless, this is likely to change quickly with Intel’s new nettop, which will be sold by various manufactures with their branding. Also, nettops are a good option when you need a bare bone basic desktop machine, for Internet, emails, and office applications, at a super-affordable price.

Speaking of which, today we have with us Intel’s reference unit, and what’s most attractive about this nettop is the price. At Rs 10,242, you get a ready PC with a keyboard and mouse combo (wired). You’re going to have to use a separate monitor with the machine. Our test unit came in an iBall cabinet with a Logitech Internet Pro Desktop combo. All we had to do is connect the keyboard, mouse and monitor, and it was all set. Also, there’s no pre-installed operating system, so that’s another addition you’ll have to make, but at this price we’re not complaining at all.

Powered by the latest hyper-threaded Atom CPU, the Intel Atom D410, the machine has 1 GB RAM, a 250 GB hard drive and runs off an onboard GPU. Looking at the hardware, performance and features, clearly, this is an ideal machine for a basic office or SOHO setup, where all you need, is to run office applications and meet with other daily computing chores.

With this particular machine, the iBall cabinet looks pretty decent with an all-glossy finish, and it has two USB ports and audio jacks on the front panel. There are 4 USB, a VGA and a LAN port at the back. Also, there’s an LG DVD-writer included in the case.

We installed Windows 7 on this machine and it sailed pretty smoothly. Just like a standard office nettop, this one too is good at handling basic applications that do not require much number crunching power. As far as entertainment is concerned, we’re not expecting much because there’s no dedicated GPU, and this machine is not meant for entertainment anyway. A 720p movie wasn’t playable, so an HD movie is out of the question. However, standard DVD and DivX movies and listening to music should be just fine. All-in-all, it’s a five on five in terms of price, features and performance.

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