This mini computer is ideal for the office

With the Nano-S, all the necessary hardware, software, along with technical support and warranty, are provided by Aftershock.
With the Nano-S, all the necessary hardware, software, along with technical support and warranty, are provided by Aftershock.PHOTO: ATFERSHOCK

The new Aftershock Nano-S is nothing like the gaming PCs that the local PC builder is known for.

For starters, it is a small-form-factor desktop PC based on Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) concept. No bigger than a paperback novel and lighter than a small tablet, the Nano-S can even be mounted at the back of a monitor.

It breezes through typical office workloads, though gamers and enthusiasts will find its graphics performance lacking.

While mini PCs like the Nano-S are not new here, they are usually sold in Sim Lim Square stores without components such as storage and memory.

Buyers have to outfit these computers with the required parts, like they would with a self-assembled DIY system.

With the Nano-S, all the necessary hardware, software, along with technical support and warranty, are provided by Aftershock.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $1,332

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6770HQ (2.6GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Intel Iris Graphics 580

    STORAGE: 120GB SSD

    RAM: 8GB

    CONNECTIVITY: 4 x USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3 port, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, SD card reader, headphone and microphone jacks

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

In terms of chassis design, the Nano-S looks like Intel's Skull Canyon NUC reference kit, down to the skull logo on its chassis. It has an external power brick like the ones used by laptops.

Powering it is a sixth-generation quad-core Intel Core i7 chip and Intel's best graphics chip, the Iris Pro. However, Intel's best graphics solution falls short of graphics chips from AMD and Nvidia.

In the tests I carried out, the Nano-S managed around 34 frames per second (fps) in Bioshock Infinite at Medium setting. By comparion, Aftershock's mid-range SM-15 gaming laptop produced 71 fps at Ultra setting.

The Nano-S was more impressive in benchmarks that focused on the processor.

In the Cinebench performance test, it scored 708. In comparison, an enthusiast-class Intel Core i7-6700K desktop processor managed 892 while an ultrabook CPU (Core i7-6500U) scored 321.

In the PCMark 8 Home benchmark that involved tasks such as Web browsing and photo editing, the Nano-S produced a score of 3,715 compared with 2,942 for the Aftershock SM-15.

In short, the Nano-S has the chops to be a workstation PC for tasks such as photo and video editing. Complementing this role is a Thunderbolt 3 port that connects to external peripherals such as a hard drive and monitors at speeds of up to 40Gbps. It also has a HDMI 2.0 port that supports 4K videos at 60fps.

At $1,332, the Nano-S is cheaper than laptops such as the Dell XPS 15 for professional users. Of course, you will need a monitor for the Nano-S. Aftershock also has a lower-end version Nano (starting at $870) for mainstream users.

Vincent Chang

•A compact desktop computer that is ideal for mainstream and professional users.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2016, with the headline 'This mini computer is ideal for the office'. Print Edition | Subscribe