RM Desktop 311 review
A high-performance desktop PC built to tackle anything a school can throw at it
Review Date: 18 Feb 2012
Reviewed By: George Cole
Price when reviewed: £499 (£599 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The RM Desktop 311 is a high-performance PC with a fair bit of power under its bonnet, including a 3.1GHz Intel Core i5-2400 CPU and 8GB of RAM. In other words, it’s ideal for processor-intensive activities such as video editing or audio, although its 160GB hard disk isn’t especially generous.
Like all RM products, this PC is designed for the classroom and comes with a metal, graffiti-resistant case. It feels rugged, and can be used in both horizontal and vertical configurations. However, it’s hefty, so you’ll need quite a bit of desk space to accommodate it – and at 9kg, you won’t want to shift it around too often either.
Our review sample came with Windows 7 Professional preinstalled, plus a full-sized keyboard, mouse and mouse mat – all of impressive quality. The front of the PC is designed so that almost everything you’ll ever need is close to hand, including headphone and microphone ports, two USB 2 ports, a FireWire port, DVD writer and 15-in-1 memory card reader. The result is that pupils can connect an array of devices to this PC including digital cameras, camcorders, music players and USB-controlled robots without ever needing to touch the back of the PC.
The rear of the Desktop 311 PC has a good selection of ports, too, including four USB 2, two USB 3, two eSATA, Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort and line-out and microphone audio sockets. However, while there are two DVI ports (Type I and D), there’s no VGA, which could be an issue if you’re using a legacy monitor. Luckily, RM has thought of this and includes a DVI-to-VGA adapter.
In operation, the Desktop 311 runs smoothly and quietly; it will run pretty much anything you throw at it with ease. The benchmark score of 0.93 is the best in this group. The only thing missing is 3D graphics capability: the Core i5 has a built-in GPU, but it can’t match the performance of a dedicated graphics chip, or even the GPU built into AMD’s A8 series APUs. If 3D matters, you may want to look elsewhere; otherwise, this is an excellent classroom PC that’s built to last.
Author: George Cole
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