A mysterious new AMD processor and ATI graphics card upgrade the AIO100 into the Advent AIO101 all-in-one PC

Netbook components - notably the Intel Atom processor - have trickled up into desktop PCs, making for relatively cheap computers with low power consumption. And if you're willing to work around the slow speed and inevitable Windows XP operating system, there is something to be said for such machines.

Especially if, like the Advent AIO100 we reviewed in March this year, the package includes an integrated LCD screen to provide a one-stop solution for basic computing needs. Try and juggle a few tasks at once, though, and the slow processor can test your patience.

To answer the need for a little more power, the AIO100 has been joined by a slightly better-specified twin brother, the Advent AIO101, which adopts a dual-core AMD processor. And a dedicated ATI graphics card thankfully replaces the weedy Intel integrated offering.

This new Advent AIO101 uses the same screen and chassis as the original AIO100, and is likewise based on an Averatec All-In-One from Korean manufacturer TriGem. So we find the same 18.4in widescreen LCD as the AIO100, perched on a flat base unit that contains the system electronics, with two USB ports on the base's right side, and ethernet and DVI output to the rear.

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In place of the '100 model's netbookesque 1GB RAM and 160GB hard drive specifications, we have a more useful 4GB RAM and 320GB of storage. In fact an expansion of RAM beyond 1GB is essential now, given the Advent all-in-one's sidegrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista Home Premium.

The AMD dual-core processor is a curious component, seemingly not listed anywhere on AMD's website. At time of press, no-one at AMD UK was able to answer any questions on the processor specification or its technology.

But sure enough, the extra dual-core processor and separate graphics processor let the Advent AIO101 get into its stride a little easier, as we confirmed in our benchmark tests.

Where the AIO100 hit 40 points in WorldBench 6 (actually the highest score that an Atom-powered PC has achieved in our labs), the Advent AIO101 pulled in 58 points. And allowing for the difference in operating systems, we'd suggest that the Advent AIO101 is at least 50% faster overall.

Game playing, however, is still a moot point despite the ATI card. In the FEAR gaming test, we saw an average of 11fps at the usual Maximum quality settings. However this figure quickly picked up to a most-playable 40fps average when detail was dropped to Medium.

With the extra processing power on board, the Advent AIO101 was found to consume almost twice the power; 39W idle, and up to 56W when stressed. These are still modest figures, though, when compared to traditional PC-plus-separate-screen combinations.

NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict >>

Advent AIO101: Specs

  • 1.55GHz AMD Athlon X2 3250e
  • 18.4in (1680x945) 16:9 glossy LCD display
  • Microsoft Vista Home Premium 6.0 SP2
  • 320GB 2.5in 5400rpm SATA II HDD
  • 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 RAM
  • ATI Radeon HD 3200 with 256MB graphics
  • DVI video out
  • DVD±RW DL drive
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 5 x USB 2.0
  • mic-in/headphone out
  • stereo speakers
  • built-in mic
  • multicard reader
  • 802.11b/g
  • digital TV tuner
  • wired keyboard and mouse
  • power consumption 39W idle, 56W peak
  • 370x448x214mm
  • 1.55GHz AMD Athlon X2 3250e
  • 18.4in (1680x945) 16:9 glossy LCD display
  • Microsoft Vista Home Premium 6.0 SP2
  • 320GB 2.5in 5400rpm SATA II HDD
  • 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 RAM
  • ATI Radeon HD 3200 with 256MB graphics
  • DVI video out
  • DVD±RW DL drive
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 5 x USB 2.0
  • mic-in/headphone out
  • stereo speakers
  • built-in mic
  • multicard reader
  • 802.11b/g
  • digital TV tuner
  • wired keyboard and mouse
  • power consumption 39W idle, 56W peak
  • 370x448x214mm

OUR VERDICT

Just as the first Intel Atom-powered Advent AIO100 has dropped £50 in price to £399, this new Advent AIO101 appears, offering around 50% faster performance for a £150 premium. Aside from some welcome improved system speed, the AIO101 will now run Windows Vista and its Media Center, as well as take on a degree of 3D gaming. Other extras include a built-in TV tuner, gigabit ethernet and digital video output. With all those incentives totalled together, we see the Advent AIO101 as the natural choice.

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