Tiny – Entertainment Performance review

comprehensive home PC with a clever twist
Photo of Tiny – Entertainment Performance
£1,499

Tiny’s Entertainment Performance system offers a lot for not too great an outlay. The system is built around an 800MHz Pentium III processor with 128MB of fast 133MHz memory and a substantial 28.6GB hard drive. In the front panel is a combo DVD/CD-RW drive which helps keep most of your record and playback options open, with a standard floppy drive below that.

Expansion is a bit limited, with only one slot of each type (PCI and ISA) free. This is partly because a lot of hardware is already included. There’s a TV tuner card, for example, which enables you to display a TV picture on your monitor, either full screen or inset on the screen while you work on other things. Sound is provided by a SoundBlaster card running a trio of well-above-average Altec Lansing speakers, and a V.90 modem is included, too.

Tiny uses a 32MB nVidia GeForce 2 MX graphics adapter which is quick enough to run any current game, and the picture is displayed on a flat-faced monitor from LG, which gives an excellent, undistorted picture right into the screen corners. It incorporates a USB hub, too, providing four extra sockets.

The most unique feature of the Tiny Entertainment Performance system is TinyWave; a miniature transmitter and receiver pair which considerably expands the possibilities of the system for entertainment. The transmitter fits to the TV output of the GeForce 2 MX graphics card and transmits the video signal to the receiver, which you connect to the Scart input of your TV. By tuning your TV to the A/V channel, you can then see whatever the DVD drive is playing back.

This all works smoothly enough, but you’re still faced with starting and stopping the DVD. TinyWave doesn’t include a remote control, so you have to rush to your PC every time you want to pause the action. Perhaps TinyWave 2 will add this extra facility.

Performance of the system was good, though not as good as some other 800MHz Pentium IIIs. While 3D graphics tests gave good results, general application benchmarks were a bit under par. In real world terms, though, this system has plenty of processing power.

Tiny has always done well on bundled software and this system is no exception. Starting with Works Suite 2000, which includes AutoRoute and several other Microsoft extras, the company then adds 32 other software titles, ranging from education to reference and leisure.

A scanner and printer are also bundled, and while neither is particularly well specified, both are useful for an assortment of home duties. All in all, this is an excellent system, with good value written all over it. The innovative TinyWave will increase its appeal as a family purchase.

Company: Tiny

Contact: 0800 783 9812


Verdict
If you're after a family entertainment PC, you can't go far wrong with this Tiny system. It has a high specification, including a fast processor and an excellent video system. On top of this, there's Tiny's so-far unique TinyWave, which enables you to play DVDs on your lounge TV, with the PC elsewhere in the house.