Novatech – Encore DDR 1.4 review

low-cost, Athlon-based business PC
Photo of Novatech – Encore DDR 1.4
£710 + VAT

For the most part, Novatech has chosen sensible components for this business PC, and that’s reflected in the low price of the machine. The company has opted for a midi-tower case, with a traditional design that means you’ll need a screwdriver to get inside. Security features are conspicuous by their absence – there’s no padlock hole to prevent access to the internal components.

Inside there’s a 1.4GHz AMD Athlon processor in an MSI motherboard, along with a single 128MB stick of DDR memory. A 20GB EIDE Western Digital hard drive handles data storage, while the only removable media drive – aside from the obligatory floppy drive – is a 52-speed Samsung EIDE CD-ROM drive. Some manufacturers of business PCs would prefer to fit CD-RW drives, but for the majority of client PCs, Novatech is probably on the right track here. You want your employees to be working, not burning compilations of MP3s…

Other sensible, business-oriented components include the four-port USB system, a Surecom 10/100 PCI network adapter and an Intel-based V.90 PCI modem. Arguably the only frivolous component is the 64MB Elsa Gladiac 511 AGP graphics adapter (3D isn’t particularly useful in a business environment), but this doesn’t add much to the cost of the system and it does offer the useful addition of an S-video output for presentations, should you wish to carry the PC to a meeting room. The graphics card connects to a reasonably good Samsung Samtron 17-inch CRT monitor.

Novatech includes no software of any kind, bar the operating system, with this PC. That helps keep the price down, but means that IT managers will have to supply their own manageability tools. The one year RTB warranty isn’t ideal for businesses; on-site is preferable if you want to minimise down-time.

Company: Novatech

Contact: 0845 345 0088

Apart from the warranty, this is a competent entry-level business machine. It's fairly well priced and will suit businesses who have their own software licensing policies.