At a Glance
Mini-PC offers nice balance of power-consumption and performance, but it's not easily upgraded.
We tested Enano Computers' EX7200 ($1500 as of 9/12/07) for "Green PCs: A First Step," a story on energy-efficient computing. What we found was a cute, compact PC that's peppy in performance and light on power consumption.
The reason for both traits, partly, is that the EX7200 uses a 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7200 notebook processor, which uses less power than a desktop processor. Equipped with 3GB of RAM, our test unit earned a 79 in our WorldBench 6 Beta 2 benchmarking tests. That score is above average among recently tested value desktops. Its integrated graphics, however, gave our test unit a bottom-of-the-barrel graphics score.
But the EX7200 does well as an energy-efficient PC, consuming the least energy among the three desktops tested for this story. (The other two were HP's rp5700 Long Lifecycle Desktop and Dell's OptiPlex 755 Mini-Tower.) When idling, it drew a constant 24 watts. While performing our WorldBench beta's multitasking and Photoshop scripts, it consumed 4.6 and 5.2 watt-hours, respectively. (Watts measure a static rate of energy consumption. Watt-hours measure the energy used for a time-based task.)
Enano says that it has applied for EPEAT certification for its desktops (EPEAT is an environmental performance rating program funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). The company also says that it is working on a recycling program whose cost will likely either be built into the purchase price or recovered as a fee collected at the time of recycling. Finally, Enano says that the EX7200 is 90-percent recyclable, with packaging that includes biodegradable shrink-wrapping.
The shiny black case with its silver front panel looks smart, and the backside ports, including FireWire and S-Video, are labeled. The front has a USB port, a media-card slot (which accepts SD Cards and Memory Sticks), and a slot-loading double-layer DVD rewritable drive. (One glitch we encountered with the latter: Its flimsy eject button got caught inside the drive bezel, and we had to take off the top of the case to resituate it.)
Once inside the case, we found the components well organized but tightly packed. To replace the memory, for example, you'd have to remove the optical drive, which is stacked above the hard drive, which is stacked above the memory. We found no open slots for expansion cards.
Our test unit came with built-in Wi-Fi and a 19-inch wide-screen AOC LCD display that Enano says its partners commonly sell with the EX7200. The monitor has a black enclosure and shows a clear picture; it tilts but doesn't adjust for height. It also has built-in speakers.
I liked the EX7200 and would consider it if I wanted a second PC for the home, because in that situation, my desire for upgradable components and good graphics performance wouldn't be as high.