One of the most interesting desktops that Fujitsu has brought to market is the Esprimo Q900, which is a small footprint, low-power desktop that's aimed at business users.
The Esprimo Q900 is a 1.6 litre desktop that measures around 165x168mm (width and depth) and is only 57mm tall. It relies on notebook technology to supply users with enough performance for running typical office applications, and of course for multitasking. It's completely different to a standard desktop form factor: it runs a mini motherboard with an Intel QM67 chipset, along with a mobile CPU, two SO-DIMM slots for its DDR3 memory, a Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2), virtualisation support and a 2.5in notebook hard drive. See also Group test: what's the best desktop PC?
Its CPU is an Intel Core i5-2520M, which runs at 2.5GHz and has two cores plus Hyper-Threading — it's the fastest CPU you can get for this model. Our review model also came with 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, and a 320GB, 5400rpm Western Digital hard drive. It doesn't have discrete graphics, using instead the integrated Intel HD 3000 graphicsof the CPU. Visit Apple Mac mini (Mid-2011) Core i5 2.3GHz review.
While it's a second generation CPU and third generation products are now finding their way to market, this is no way a sluggish PC. It recorded 40sec in our Blender 3D rendering test, 48sec in our iTunes MP3 encoding test and 3548 in 3DMark06. What all these numbers indicate is that the Esprimo Q900 will be more than fine for running multiple applications at the same time, be they email, an office suite, Web-based apps and even photo editing or media encoding software. Its hard drive recorded a transfer rate of only 31 megabytes per second, but that's not too bad for a drive with a 5400rpm spin speed and the system overall didn't feel sluggish while we used it.
Repairing or upgrading the Esprimo Q900 isn't as easy as a typical desktop with a tool-less case. You need to remove two screws before you can take off the cover, and then you need to remove more screws to detach the drive bay in order to access the hard drive and the RAM and CPU parts underneath. A riser board is used to attach the SATA interface to the motherboard (it has both SATA II and SATA III ports), and the front-facing USB 3.0 ports plug in to one of the motherboard's PCI Express slots.
The CPU and chipset are cooled by a common heat spreader, which is attached to heat pipes that lead to a heat sink at the rear of the system. A fan blows through the fins of the heat sink, pushing warm air out the rear of the system, and it's not an overly loud fan. In fact, the whole system runs very quietly.
Our review model didn't ship with an optical drive, but there is a space for a slot-loading model DVD burner or Blu-ray combo drive. A card reader was also missing from our unit, but an 8-in-1 module is an option. There are two USB 3.0 ports at the front, which are very convenient, but audio jacks are relegated to the rear of the PC due to its small size. This can be a hassle unless you plug the PC in to a multimedia monitor that also has a headphone jack. The rear has line out (a combo analogue and optical jack), line in, microphone, DisplayPort, DVI, Gigabit Ethernet and five USB 2.0 ports. We're not fans of the capacitive power button at the front, which we were never really sure if we'd pressed or not — we'd prefer a physical button instead.
As for its power consumption, the Esprimo Q900 on its own consumed about 16W when it was sitting idle, and up to 46W when its processor was under a full load. Its adapter is external, which means you'll need to either find a place to store it or let it fall behind a desk cavity.
The small size of the Esprimo Q900 and its power efficiency compared to most desktops are its major drawcards. It can be placed on a desk beside or under a monitor, and at 1.4kg, it can even be transported very easily from one room to another. As is the case with many business desktops though, the price is relatively high considering the specs you get: prepare to part with around $799 without a monitor. But if you value space-saving and power efficiency, it's worth checking out.