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Novatech Ion Home PC Bundle review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £263
inc VAT and delivery


1.6GHz Intel Atom 230, 1.000000 RAM, 17in 1,440×900 display, Windows XP Home Edition

Novatech’s Ion Home PC Bundle is one of the cheapest computers here.

It’s also one of the few to come with a monitor: a modest 17in widescreen HannsG HB175A. Although small, it’s a decent monitor with accurate colours. The PC has only a single VGA port, though, which is disappointing in a group where most others provide DVI or HDMI outputs.

Like the other two sub-£500 PCs here, the Ion uses Intel’s low-power 1.6GHz Atom 230 processor (the desktop version of the N270 Atom in most netbooks). The Ion’s mini-ITX case isn’t as small or attractive as the Eee Box, but it has more room for expansion. It has a PCI slot, so you can install desktop components such as sound cards, TV tuners and network cards without using up your USB ports.

The Ion comes with 1GB of RAM in its single DDR2 slot which can handle up to 2GB. We were surprised by the legacy ports on the motherboard, which include both serial and parallel ports. These might be useful if you own some antique storage or printing hardware, but they’re redundant for most users.

Like the Eee Box and Top, the Ion comes with Windows XP, which suits the low-power Atom processor better than Vista. It did everything we asked of it, from playing DVDs and web browsing to printing graphs from a spreadsheet. It uses slightly more power than the Asus PCs, but the active and idle power-consumption figures of 42W and 37W respectively make this PC a lot cheaper to run than a standard desktop.

With a 160GB hard disk and a DVD-RW, the Ion has more storage than the Eee Box, and you won’t need to buy an optical drive. Unlike the Box, the Ion lacks a built-in WiFi adaptor.

This is a great budget PC for simple home computing tasks. The monitor is worth £69 and you can buy the PC without it for £205. The Ion Home PC Bundle isn’t as compact, efficient or attractive as the Eee Box, but it’s better value and comes with a monitor and an optical drive.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor Intel Atom 230
Processor external bus 133MHz (533MHz quad-pumped FSB)
Processor multiplier x12
Processor clock speed 1.6GHz
Processor socket Socket 437
Level 1 cache 32KB
Level 2 cache 512KB
Memory 1.000000
Memory type DDR2
Maximum memory 2GB
Motherboard Foxconn 45CS
Motherboard chipset Intel 945GC + ICH7
Power consumption standby 4W
Power consumption idle 37W
Power consumption active 42W


USB2 ports (front/rear) 2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/0
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support none
Other ports none

Internal Expansion

Case mini-ITX
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 0 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports 0
Free memory slots 0
Free 3.5in drive bays 0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Hitachi DeskStar 7K160 (HDS721616PLA380)
Interface SATA 300
Total storage capacity 160GB
Spindle speed 7,200rpm


Graphics card(s) Intel GMA 950
Graphics/video ports VGA


Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputs stereo line out, mic in, line in
Speakers none

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy drive no
Supported memory cards none
Optical drive model Optiarc AD-7200S
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL


Viewable size 17 in
Screen model Hanns.G HB175A
Native resolution 1,440×900
Response time 5ms
Screen inputs VGA, line in

Other Hardware

Modem No
Keyboard Octigen Multimedia Keyboard
Mouse Logitech RX 300


Software included none
Operating system Windows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore option none

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £263

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