VeryPC Broadleaf review
A small, efficient PC that strikes a keen balance between its green credentials and raw performance
Review Date: 22 Oct 2009
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £686 (£789 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
VeryPC has spent the last five years producing environmentally friendly computers, but its latest machine, the Broadleaf, is being touted as its greenest PC yet. Paradoxically, it also claims to pack enough power to sate the demands of the most intensive applications.
It's laden with certificates and logos to back up the boasts. It has a PVC, BFR and Halogen-free chassis and a "Class Leader" award from DEFRA’s sustainable development initiative. There's an 89% efficient PSU, which helps it to run 55% more efficiently than the standards required for Energy Star 5. And the entire system’s construction, transportation and running costs have been entirely carbon offset – with VeryPC adding an extra 20% onto this figure for good measure.
Marketing speak aside, the attention to detail has certainly paid off when it comes to power consumption. Despite the Broadleaf’s quad-core CPU it drew just 33W when idle, rising to 76W when the Core 2 Quad Q9550s was pelting through our benchmarks. It may not be the lowest power consumption we’ve seen from a VeryPC – the tiny Fulwood media centre drew just 17W in idle and 27W at peak – but it’s a great deal lower than the average quad-core desktop system.
That quad-core CPU means the Broadleaf can hold its own against much bigger and hungrier systems. Despite a lower TDP than most quad-core CPUs – an impressive 65W – the core clock speed of 2.83GHz powered the VeryPC to an overall score of 1.69 in our suite of application benchmarks.
Away from performance, the remaining components are tempting. The 320GB hard disk and 4GB of RAM will be ample for multitasking, and the integrated Intel GMA X4500 graphics aren't a hindrance to office-based tasks.
All this is packed into an excellent, small form-factor chassis. It has a matte black finish and sports attractive curves, with a green-tinged power button, two USB ports and a slot-loading DVD drive decorating the front. The rear is well-appointed, too, with six more USB ports, a Gigabit Ethernet socket, a pair of DVI-I outputs and an eSATA port for expanding the storage capacity.
The Broadleaf is also a highly versatile system. A removable platform beneath the lid holds the slot-loading optical drive and Western Digital Scorpio Black 2.5in hard disk, with a space for a second hard disk if necessary. The CPU sits beneath a stock Intel low-profile heatsink and the pair of DIMM slots, while full, are easily accessible. In fact, once several untidy cables are moved aside, it’s easy to upgrade every one of the Broadleaf’s main components.
Other corporate systems offer a little more help to the average IT manager, though: the ThinkCentre M58 boasted an ingenious folding design, and the Gateway D10G was tool-free throughout. The VeryPC is accessible, but it's certainly not the last word in upgradeability if you have a whole fleet of PCs to service.
At £686 exc VAT, the Broadleaf is also a little dearer than similarly specified business PCs, but that's the price you pay for its small size and low power draw. That price also includes VeryPC’s five year warranty, which is more generous than most competitors can offer.
This review specification is available on request, but if you don’t need the quad-core CPU, cheaper Broadleaf models are available, including one with an Intel Pentium Dual Core E5300 and 2GB RAM for just £449 exc VAT, and another with a Core 2 Duo E8400 and 3GB RAM for £549 exc VAT. Depending on your business applications, both could be valid cost-cutting alternatives, and their power draw will be even lower.
It may be more expensive than some business rivals, then, but the Broadleaf is one of VeryPC’s most economical efforts yet. It's attractive, versatile, and environmentally conscious without compromising on power, and there are models to suit a variety of needs. It may not quite have the polish of the big guns of the business world, but its strengths lie in equally important areas.
Author: Mike Jennings
- Dell profits slide 79% amid buyout talks
- Forget cloud subscriptions: users prefer standard licences
- McAfee: cloud storage could help spread viruses
- Analysts question Windows 8 as UK PC shipments slump
- Google pools storage across Gmail and Drive
- Ofcom accused of killing off VoIP competition
- ShoreTel dock turns iPhones and iPads into desk phones
- Bill Gates says iPad users "frustrated"
- Intel Silvermont promises three-fold boost for tablets
- Customers fume as BT introduces IP sharing
- Hands on with the new Google Maps
- Nokia Lumia 925 review: first look
- Why I won't subscribe to Creative Cloud
- GoPro camera strapped to a remote-control helicopter: the ultimate boy's toy
- Acer Iconia A1 review: first look
- Acer Aspire P3 review: first look
- Acer Aspire R7 review: first look
- How we produce the PC Pro podcast
- Google Now draining iPhone battery
- The government website that doesn't work with IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Macs or smartphones
- How to get a job in cloud computing
- Are today's tech start-ups simply get-rich-quick schemes?
- Choosing the right tablet for business
- Best free antivirus for 2013
- The best business broadband: how to choose the right package
- Choosing your web hosting package: space, bandwidth, service-level agreements and email handling
- Windows Server 2012 features in-depth
- How to protect your business against spear phishing
- How to install virtual servers with Hyper-V
- Implementing virtualisation through Hyper-V
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
- Turn your tablet into a Sky+ remote control
- How to measure the success of a new IT system
- Three years on: the state of the tablet market
- Windows 8: what works and what doesn't
- Yes, I write down my passwords
- How to make money from apps
- Hack your own radio transmitter
There are dozens of exciting prizes up for grabs on PC Pro Competitions. All our competitions are free to enter. Try your luck.ENTER NOW