IBM – NetVista X40 review

all-in-one PC with LCD screen; cute but costly
Photo of IBM – NetVista X40
£1,751 + VAT

For those among you with limited desk space, the latest version of the all-in-one NetVista range, the X40, may be worth a gander. It may look like an LCD panel with a larger than normal stand, but in fact it’s a well-specified PC, with all the hardware components tightly packed into the back of the monitor casing.

Built around a 15-inch LCD monitor, the X40 we looked at was powered by an Intel 866MHz Pentium III processor and 128MB of PC133MHz SDRAM. Although the memory is upgradeable to 512MB, there is only one spare memory slot, so problems arise if you want to add this much memory. For example, if you buy the 64MB system and want to upgrade, you’d have a choice of buying a 64MB, 128MB or 256MB memory module, but if you want to upgrade further, you would have to remove the initial 64MB and replace it with a 128MB or 256MB module. Memory is pretty cheap at the moment, though, so this shouldn’t be much of a hardship.

The NetVista comes with no serial or parallel ports, only USB ports, so don’t expect to be able to plug your old serial or parallel devices into this machine without a USB port expander. There are five USB ports, two in the monitor and three in the back. A single, low-profile PCI slot provides the Netvista with very limited expandability.

Powering the display is an integrated 16MB AGP 2X chipset that allows a maximum resolution of 1,024 pixels by 768 pixels with 16.7 million colours. Although fine for the office, this sort of graphics package isn’t going to get gamers out of bed.

System security is well taken care of with two levels of password protection, hard disk and floppy disk protection all in the BIOS, and the unit’s speakers are built into the base, which is quite a neat solution. For storage there is a 7,200rpm, 30GB ATA/66 hard drive and a built-in 10/100 Ethernet port takes care of any networking duties.

The notebook-style, slimline 24-speed CD-ROM drive (DVD is available as an option) and floppy disk drive are hidden in a drop-open unit that opens from the neck of monitor stand, and which is operated by pushing a button on the front of the monitor. Cute.

The NetVista comes equipped with Windows 2000, along with a licence for Lotus SmartSuite. Also installed are copies of ConfigSafe, Norton Anti-Virus and PC-Doctor, along with the usual online manuals. IBM provides the NetVista with a 3-year parts and labour warranty.

Company: IBM

Contact: 0800 169 1458


Verdict
A stylish if very expensive solution for saving desk space, the IBM NetVista X40 is let down by its lack of expandability and average performance, the latter mainly due to its graphics sub-system. It is still perfectly good enough for most of today's home and office applications, but there are much cheaper alternatives on the market. However, it does score highly in the 'I want one' stakes and, visually at least, is a refreshing change from the big beige box.