Intel's low power consuming and low-cost Atom processor has been all the rage in the tech industry for the past year or more. ASUS helped make it famous and successful by implementing it into its extensive range of Eee PC netbook computers - but that was just the beginning.
Now there are countless manufacturers producing netbooks based on the Atom processor and many of these products have been very well received in the market, with truckloads being sold to consumers, who crave small systems with good battery life - and ones that won't make a mess of their bank accounts.
Soon after the netbook craze really set it and some smart folk thought, "Hey, we can apply the same principles of the netbook to a desktop system". In came nettop systems using the same hardware as the popular Eee PC style small notebooks, but in a desktop form.
Today we have one such system in for testing, but with a difference. Instead of using just the Intel Atom processor, it makes use of NVIDIA's ION technology, which packs in a GeForce 9400M graphics processor chipset to really extend the capabilities of the system for HD video playback and some basic gaming. Regular nettop systems come with an Atom 230 single core processor, Intel 945G chipset and single channel memory. This is fine for basic office type computing, such as surfing the Internet or sending emails. However, if you want to do anything remotely entertaining with the system, purely Intel based nettops at this time just don't have the hardware features or horsepower under the hood to do it.
ASRock realized this and recently announced the ION 330-BD Nettop system. This sexy baby built by Pegatron and designed by ASRock is the most high-end nettop system we've seen or laid our hands on. Not only does it pack in the ION processor, but it also comes with the more expensive Atom 330 dual-core processor and dual channel memory support. Compared to a full sized modern gaming desktop system, it cannot even begin to compare against it, but for the tiny size of this system and the low cost, we got quite a surprise by what it could do.
Let's take a close look at this system now and see exactly what it can do!