IBM – Netvista X41 review

slimline all-in-one PC
Photo of IBM – Netvista X41
£1,350 + VAT

When IBM first launched the Netvista series of compact, all-in-one PCs they were legacy-free and used a combination of PC and notebook technologies. While they certainly saved space, their performance was nothing to write home about. The latest in this line, the Netvista X41, completely turns this concept on its head and is a powerful and well-equipped desktop PC. However, it is not without its faults; it’s expensive and the review sample came without any form of removable drive.

The Netvista X41 as reviewed sits in the middle of the product line and is powered by one of Intel’s new Socket 478 Pentium 4 processors rated at 1.8GHz. This uses the latest i845 chipset and 128MB of PC133MHz memory. Despite the processor cooling fan, the machine is surprisingly quiet.

Instead of the legacy-free design of its predecessors, the Netvista X41 comes with a good range of connectivity. There are six USB ports; four in the rear of the base unit and two housed in the top of the unit next to the carrying handle, although only four of these are free as both the keyboard and mouse are USB items. Along with these ports are two PS/2 sockets and a LAN port for the integrated 10/100Mbps Ethernet chip. A parallel port sits next to the USB ports in the rear of the base unit, but there is no serial port.

A 16MB ATI Rage 128 Ultra chip powers the graphics sub-system, which allows a maximum resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels at 16.7 million colours and will run normal office applications without problems but will struggle with more demanding games. This connects to the 15-inch TFT monitor, which tilts but doesn’t have a swivel facility.

The memory can be upgraded and there are two half-height PCI slots for expansion cards. Access to all this is easy and straightforward. To upgrade the memory you simply remove the back panel, which is held in place by a key lock and two plastic catches; lowering the tool-free drive cradle reveals the two DIMM slots. To get at the two PCI slots it’s just a matter of removing the plastic moulding on one side of the unit and lifting out the tool-free expansion plates.

IBM supplies a 40GB Ultra ATA/100 Maxtor hard drive for storage while the optical drive is housed in a drop-down bay that is activated by a button which sits next to the two brightness buttons and the power button on the bottom edge of the front fascia. Unfortunately this drive is only a 48-speed CD-ROM drive rather than a DVD-ROM or CD-RW, although there are models in the series that do have either DVD or CD-RW/DVD combo drives. Nor is there a floppy drive so for this model at least there is no form of removable storage.

The Netvista X41 comes with the usual IBM utilities and also PC-Doctor, Norton AntiVirus and ConfigSafe are pre-installed, along with Windows 2000 Professional. The machine has a three year on-site parts and labour warranty.

Company: IBM

Contact: 0800 169 1458


Verdict
The Netvista X41 is a powerful, compact PC for use where space is limited, but it is a pricey option and the review system at least is let down by the lack of any removable storage facility.