Maxdata 300XS Mini PC - Review

Maxdata 300XS Mini PC - Review

Maxdata 300XS Mini PC - ReviewPros: Quiet; small; easily mounted; low power consumption

Cons: More expensive than a Mac Mini; no TV tuner or remote control

Bottomline: Small PC with low power consumption and pleasant design

Price: £589

We’ve seen more than a few mini PCs in our Labs, but Maxdata’s 300XS caught our attention because of its optional Vesa 100 mount (£19.99) that lets you attach it to the back of most TFTs.

It takes four screws to attach the mount before the 300XS slides discreetly behind your monitor. A 30cm DVI cable then neatly connects the two.

The robust white chassis (also available in black) is 8mm squatter than Apple’s Mac Mini but has a 20 per cent larger volume overall since it’s longer.

Inside, the components come straight from the laptop world. The Core 2 Duo T5500 CPU, running at 1.66GHz with 2MB of L2 cache, is joined by 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 Ram.

The 300XS will hit the shops with 2GB of Ram, but performance will remain similar to what we measured. PCmark05’s overall score was dragged down by Intel’s integrated graphics but the CPU-specific score of 4,199 is a good result. It’ll chew through office work without flinching, but gaming is out of the question.

Other features include a notebook form-factor 120GB hard disk, slot-loading DVD writer, headphone jack that doubles up as an S/PDIF for surround sound, and 802.11b/g Wifi.

Power consumption hovered around a frugal 20W - the lowest we’ve measured from a desktop - and it remained quiet and cool when sitting on the back of a monitor.

It takes just three screws to open up the chassis, but once inside you’d be hard pushed to replace and upgrade anything.

An identically specified Mac Mini, but with a faster 1.83GHz CPU and remote control, can be bought for £539. The £19.99 mount is excellent, though, and the inclusion of Vista Business is a sensible inclusion, since installing Windows onto the Mac Mini takes time and effort.