Although LCPC recognizes that many enthusiasts may opt for the Linux variants, it is nice to see that they started with Windows 7 Home Premium and not the dreaded Windows 7 Starter edition I have seen pre-loaded on some mini computers. The best thing about the software that comes loaded on Wind system is that there isn’t a ton of it. Wait, you are probably asking yourself why that is a good thing and… pause… allow me to answer… Most PCs come with what we enthusiasts call crapware or bloatware; basically this means that PC manufacturers will typically load your new system with a bunch of garbage that is either completely worthless or borderline spyware. Thankfully, the list of installed applications on the Wind system can be listed without straining my keyboard and my fingers.
- Adobe Flash Player 10 ActiveX
- Adobe Reader X
- ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 5
- avast! Free Antivirus
- Bing Bar
- CyberLink PowerDVD 10
- Microsoft Office 2010 Starter
- Microsoft Silverlight
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005
- Windows Live Essentials
- Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
Although I could have lived without the Bing bar and would rather have seen Microsoft Security Essentials instead of avast! Free AntiVirus, I am very happy to see that CyberLink PowerDVD 10 (capable of 3D blu-ray) comes pre-loaded and licensed.
Outside of the software on the Wind, the hardware is just as impressive. LCPC packs the Wind with an AMD II X4 610e and has a Phenom II Quad Core on backup if you decide that the X4 doesn’t pack enough punch for you. Team this processor up with the onboard ATI Radeon HD4250 graphics and you have a system that can handle most of what you throw at it, except high end gaming (we all know that those crazy gaming cards can have measurements larger than this entire PC). In addition to the processor and graphics card, you have an integrated wireless N adapter, gigabit ethernet, USB 3.0/2.0, SATA 6.0 Gb/s, HDMI & DVI, 7,.1 audio via HDMO or S/PDIF, 4GB of DDR3 1333 RAM (upgradable to 8GB), a 500GB 7200RPM 2.5″ HDD (up to 1TB), and your choice of DVD, Blu-Ray, or Blu-Ray Combo drive.
The system we received to test retails at $1046.00 USD and comes with all the basics but adds the Blu-Ray combo drive and Windows 7 Professional. It provides you with almost all the things you need at a good price. The performance is on par and the amenities (See the list above) make it a worthwhile purchase. Tie that into the appearance of the Wind system and you have a real contender. One thing that holds this system back from being tops on the list is the lack of an included remote control. While the remote control is an option for the systems that Low Carbon PC creates and sells, I would much rather have seen this as an included component. Although the chassis design is sharp, the omission of USB ports, audio ports, and a card reader up front seems like an obvious oversight to me.
Bottom line, this is a good offering that has almost all the elements I would look for in a small form factor computer. The performance, the price, and the power consumption are right in line with what they are advertising on their website. The thick aluminum chassis aids in cooling, but LCPC could have taken this a bit farther and added a second fan for some cross ventilation. Would I buy one? Sure. On a side note, I tested their customer service line and personnel… they passed.