Giada N20 Review

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Posted 9 Nov, 2010 2:11 pm


The Giada N20 performs great as a home theatre PC or a low end desktop PC – don’t expect to be able to play the latest 3D games or even games from a few years back. As long as you’re not constantly opening hundreds of browser windows, or doing anything demanding (3D rendering, working with large images) then performance should be acceptable.

Some benchmarks between various dual core, ION 2 nettops show that there’s not much between them:


Acer Aspire Revo 3700 2,898
Lenovo IdeaCentre Q150 2,806
Zotac ZBOX HD-ID11 2,528
Giada Slim N20 2,051

Windows 7 WEI

Acer Aspire Revo 3700 3.5
Giada Slim N20 3.5
Zotac ZBOX HD-ID11 3.4
Lenovo IdeaCentre Q150 3.3

Video Conversion

Converting a 5 minute 1080p MTS file from a camcorder to 720p, with Cyberlink PowerDirector 8:

720p Video Conversion H.264 MPEG-2
Acer Aspire Revo 3700 18:34 15:58
Giada Slim N20 19:08 16:15
Lenovo IdeaCentre Q150 21:43 16:30
Zotac ZBOX HD-ID11 22:45 17:31

HD Video Performance

Non-flash 1080p HD video with supported formats (MKV, WMV, MPEG-2) works great, full screen or not, even at 1080p resolution. HD Flash video works smooth, 720p or 1080p full screen or windowed at up to 720p resolution but it’s noticeably jerky at full screen with 1080p resolution for either 720p or 1080p (windowed is fine).

I used MPC-HC with the latest available Nvidia ION drivers for my testing. For downloaded 1080p movie trailers CPU usage varied between 20% – 70%. Flash HD video varied between 30% – 60%. Some of my own encoded videos for 720p YouTube upload (MPEG-2 and H.264) varied between 40 – 60%. All tests where done at 720p resolution.

Test Format Size Bitrate CPU
Harry Potter DH Part 1 trailer Quicktime 1080p 9,774 Kbps 20% – 70%
Hancock trailer Quicktime 1080p 8,306 Kbps 30% – 40%
Avatar 1080p YouTube H.264 “1080p” 3,475 Kbps 30% – 60%
Netbooknews YouTube video MPEG-2 720p 20,084 Kbps 40% – 50%
Netbooknews YouTube video H.264 720p 16,800 Kbps 50% – 60%

Power Consumption

I’ve tested various nettops and they all end up with the same results – 0W when off or sleeping. 20W when idle. 23W when watching 1080p video.

Other Issues

I noticed the built-in WiFi was a bit poor, which was the same experience I had with the Zotac ZBOX HD-ID11. The built-in WiFi gets me 3 / 5 bars while my Buffalo Wi-Fi dongle gets me 5 / 5 or sometimes 4 / 5 bars.

  • Noosaheads

    I bought one of these, because it was a better price than an Aspire Revo.
    I didn’t specify Windows 7 (extra $$), so it came (in Australia) preconfigured with Ubuntu 10.04LTS,
    already setup with extra apps, free online backup from Ubuntu One etc.

    It worked out of the box, and I also bought a wireless keyboard and mouse,
    and webcam/microphone, and they all worked without any (major) configuring.
    I’ve since upgraded to 10.10 with the latest nvidia drivers.

    It plays 1080p fine from disk, digital camera picture slideshows are fantastic, browsing, youtube and skype via wireless work well, and it’s quiet, so it’s now on the living room TV via HDMI and my partner is happy…
    3D games such as Cube2:Sauerbraten work well, I’m not a big gamer so haven’t tried any like CS or Halo.
    Overall it does a better job than the eeepc that I used to plugin to the TV (and is much cheaper).

  • Noosaheads

    Also, my intention was to use it as an htpc with XBMC, which is already installed, so the 320GB hard disk is already fairly full with multimedia, but connecting a USB terabyte disk also works well.
    We mainly use it now with a slideshow of photos and a streaming internet radio soundtrack from somewhere exotic. There are many sound programs on it that use shoutcast or xiph, although my favorites are Paris One Deeper or Deep Mix Moscow.
    The only problem I had was that it did not recognise a USB hub, but I’ll try another.

  • Shawky99

    where did you get it without operating system, i need to buy one but it is not that cheap there are many other are cheaper with the same specification.