Closer look at the outside
Before we get into the examination of the system I would like to say a few things about the Atom 330 Processor as it needs a paragraph or two of its own.
The Atom 330 is the newest of the Atom family of processors. The first was a single core unit that we saw in many of the first generation netbooks. The newer micro-processor is a dual core unit that rated at 1.6GHz just like the previous model. Operating at a front bus of 533MHz at 1MB of total cache it is able to multitask at a moderate level. The above numbers are all the reasons why the processor can run at a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 8 watts which is not including the rest of the system.
Now back to the Nettop Ion from Asrock. Besides the Atom 330 processor the nettop comes complete with a slim-line DVD with recorder, a 320GB 2.5" hard drive and 2GB of 240-pin PC6400 of ram with support for 4GB. The above is more than enough power for what the unit was meant for. And for those that choose to add more they can. Considering the largest laptop is 500GB at 7200RPM, you can add plenty of speed and size to the storage capacity. And if more speed is needed a SSD can be supplemented.
Besides the processor the nettop is centered around the Nvidia Ion graphic processor and chipset. The Ion is fully DirectX 10 compatible and capable of supporting screen resolutions up to 2560x1600. And with Azalia high definition audio you are almost guaranteed to have a visual and audio good time when playing your favorite DVD movie. And if you were to substitute the DVD with a Blu-Ray Rom things get that much better.
Back to the system now. The model we got was the black one. The Ion 330' enclosure is simple but sleek. The only thing showing in the front is the DVD loading door, Asrock logo, power button and a area for venting. One thing that I would have like to see on the front of the Ion 330 is a couple of extra USB ports. This would have been nice for people like me that carry family photos, digital movies and music on phones and flash drives.
Continuing the tour around to the back of the system we see all the inputs in which the unit has to offer. In the case of the Ion 330 we see they are numerous. For major storage input as well as other devices there are a total of six USB ports. I would have sacrifice two of them to the front but I won't get on that soapbox again. For connecting to a network a hard-wired LAN is provided. An integrated wireless LAN would have made the unit complete. But adding a simple USB wi-fi adapter would solve this small issue. Like I stated earlier the unit is capable of hi-def audio and video inputs. Typical are the audio inputs but the visuals are ported through a HDMI connection. But if you wish to remain analog there is a VA port as well.