Altech Computers Nano Box-VX Mini PC
- Small, solid performance.
- slow HDD compared to normal desktop's, Not enough USB ports, no PS2 ports.
It's a tiny and capable performer for everyday computing and is worth considering if you are constrained for space or what a portable PC to share between locations. We wish it had more RAM and at least one more USB port.
Price$ 1,399.00 (AUD)
Altech's Nano Box-VX harnesses AOpen's MP945-VX Mini PC Duo enclosure to provide a PC that's not only small, but also capable of doling out plenty of speed to keep you productive.
AOpen's enclosure, which measures 16.5cm x 16.5cm x 7cm high, comes with its own motherboard, which has a DC power input, and is based on AOpen's MoDT (mobile on desktop technology), which means it uses notebook components to facilitate the miniaturisation of the desktop PC. Altech has taken this enclosure and furnished it with a 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo T2300 CPU and 512MB of DDR2 667MHz RAM.
Graphics functions are built into the motherboard using Intel's 945GM chipset, which uses up to 8MB of main system RAM, leaving only 504MB for your programs. The display output from the graphics chipset can be directed over DVI, VGA, S-Video or Component video cables, all of which are supplied. Storage is provided by an 80GB notebook hard drive, which is tucked under the slot-loading multi-format DVD burner inside the case.
These components combined to produce a score of 85 in World Bench 5, which is comparable to similarly configured notebooks that we have seen in the PC World Test Centre. It's slower than what a full-sized desktop would achieve with the same amount of RAM and a comparable processor, and this is due to the notebook's hard drive, whose 5400rpm spin speed is no match for a desktop drive's 7200rpm spin speed.
In our hard drive transfer tests, the 80GB Samsung drive in this mini PC scored 8.72MBps, which means disk intensive tasks will be slow compared to a full-size PC. For using everyday applications such as Office or browsing the Internet, the machine is perfect. Its MP3 encoding performance was up to speed (it took 2min 38sec to encode 53min worth of wave files to 192Kbps MP3s using Cdex), and its CD ripping performance was solid, too (it took 4min 45sec to rip a full audio CD to 192Kbps MP3s using Cdex).
The video-out options of the unit allow it to be connected to a TV in order to function as a media centre. How good the unit performs as a media centre will depend on your TV's capabilities. We tested the unit on a 42in NEC NLT42HD1 LCD TV using the PC's component output. This TV has a native resolution of 1366x768, which the mini PC was unable to match, but we did get a decent picture for watching video files by using a resolution of 1280x720.
The unit is so small, it can be used as a part-time media centre. For everyday computing, the machine can reside in your office or bedroom. It can easily be taken into the living room, when needed, to watch movies stored on your hard drive through your TV.
As for noise, the unit only has one fan, which resides on the single heat sink that cools the CPU and chipset, and it's as quiet as a typical notebook. The base of the unit warms up to about 45 degrees and the rubber pad on the base gives it a good grip on a table or when placed on top of other electronic gear.
Not enough ports
As for usability, this mini PC definitely could use some more ports. It only has two USB ports and one FireWire port. There are no PS/2 ports, so you have to use USB peripherals, which leaves no free ports for plugging in external hard drives, USB keys or even USB Wi-Fi adapters. Networking is facilitated by a Gigabit Ethernet port.
We also found the slot-loading DVD drive to be a little tight when inserting discs, but it functioned without any problems.
Overall, Altech's Nano Box-VX is a solid unit if you're looking for something small for your office or bedroom. Its size makes it easily transportable between home and office, and it's a cheaper alternative to a notebook computer if you want to use the same computer between locations. It could use some more RAM, but it's only upgradeable up to 1GB.
Join the newsletter!
MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Realme 7 Pro review: Further progress
- 2 Oppo Watch review: A masterclass in imitation
- 3 Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- 4 Google Pixel 4a review: The Goldilocks Google phone
- 5 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G review: Wrong Number
Latest News Articles
- iMac redesign in the works, half-height Apple silicon Mac Pro coming this year
- Apple’s next M1 MacBook Pros might dump the Touch Bar, revive MagSafe
- Macworld's January digital magazine: Let the Mac revolution begin!
- Adobe Lightroom update adds support for Apple silicon and ProRAW
- If you like the M1 MacBooks, you’ll love what’s reportedly coming next
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- iPhone 12 Pro review: The iPhone that’s future proof
- Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- Oppo Watch review: A masterclass in imitation
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?