After my desktop died and I had no money to replace it I started using my Lenovo 3000 N100 laptop as my main machine, for the task it was pumped up with another gig of ram but it too started to die. As money is short I had to look around for a quick replacement that would do the trick. I could either build my own or buy something prebuilt, I long ago swore that I wouldn’t waste time building anymore so this left me with the choice of one of these new nettop machines. Having played with with an ATOM powered netbook I was a little skeptical of the performance potential of such a setup for desktop tasks but this was after all a dual core ATOM capable of SMT and 64bit computing, additionally it has the nvidia ION chipset and GPU instead of the under performing Intel parts. Finally the machine comes with S/PDIF sound output and beefy 4 gigs of ram (one of these are taken by the GPU), you also get a set of USB speakers and a wireless keyboard/mouse combo.
The good parts:
The machine is easily mountable using the VESA compliant mount for your monitor, the performance is surprisingly good. The desktop feels snappy and there always seems to be a bit to give from even under load, even video playback without hardware acceleration (I haven’t yet made VDPAU work) is smooth. All your basic hardware is functional out of the box and the machine is very quiet. You get a plentiful 6 USB ports but access when mounted on a monitor they can be unhandy, there is HDMI output but I haven’t had a chance to try this as I lack supporting hardware finally the revo features eSATA. In short a very extendable and capable machine that comes equipped for a multitude of use cases.
The bad parts:
The S/PDIF output is placed on the topside of the machine when mounted in the VESA mount, meaning your fairly inflexible optical cable will hang from a height with no decent way to make it look good without breaking it – a modest suggestion for the next revision would be to put it on the bottom. You need the proprietary nvidia driver to make this run at it’s full potential, something I would rather avoid as I am uncomfortable using it. My Revo came with Windows 7 Home which I now have to fight to get refunded for, for an average user it does mean that you get a machine that will work when you turn it on but I would have liked the option to pick no OS or Linux preinstalled. Finally the wireless keyboard and mouse doesn’t work with Linux for some reason and Google turns up no immediate help as to making them work – mainly here I am interested in the keyboard as I love my trackball. *update* I solved this problem and posted an update here.
All in all, the Revo r3610 is an impressive machine. I am very pleased with it and would wholeheartedly recommend it, not just as a second machine or a media center, it actually makes for a fully sufficient desktop machine and it is a great bargain.