A nettop (or miniature PC, Mini PC or Smart Micro PC) is a small-sized, inexpensive, low-power, legacy-free desktop computer designed for basic tasks such as Internet surfing, accessing web-based applications, document processing, and audio/video playback. The word nettop is a portmanteau of Internet and desktop.
Compared to ordinary desktop computers, nettops are not only smaller and cheaper, but they also consume much less power. For example, CompuLab's fit-PC2 consumes no more than 8 watts of power whereas a typical desktop would easily consume more than 100 watts of power; consequently, nettops require significantly less cooling and may even be completely fanless. Some do not have an optical disk drive and use a solid state disk, making them completely silent. The tradeoff is that the hardware specifications and processing power are usually reduced and hence make nettops less appropriate for running complex or resource-intensive applications.
There are three platforms that are primarily intended for nettops and netbooks:
Some nettops have also adopted system-on-a-chip designs. Although many major parts such as chipsets, video cards and storage devices can also be found on desktops, the CPUs that are put inside nettops are the fundamental component that differentiate them from normal desktops. The list below contains a range of hardware components that a typical nettop may be assembled from.
- typically 512 MB to 2 GB SDRAM, DDR or DDR2 memory
- Storage devices
- I/O ports
- LAN, USB 2.0, video out, audio out
Intel's Atom processor has been adopted by several hardware manufacturers, such as ASUS, MSI, and Sony, for nettops. Nvidia has also released its first generation ION platform, which puts GeForce 9400M Motherboard GPU alongside the Atom processor to provide better high definition video playback ability and lower power consumption. In addition, Nvidia has announced that it will support VIA's CPUs this year. To further reduce the manufacturing cost and improve power efficiency, many manufacturers and start-up companies have chosen to use CPUs that were originally targeted at embedded computing devices such as AMD's Geode and ARM Cortex-based CPUs.
Many net-top models are x86-processor-based and as such are capable of running standard PC OSs. There are also operating systems designed specifically for nettops and other machines in the same performance class. Linux distribution supporting nettops is Ubuntu; previously supported Ubuntu Netbook Edition, Moblin, and Joli OS. Some high-end nettops and upcoming models are capable of running Windows Vista and Windows 7. Linux has also been adopted by nettop manufacturers as it costs little to no money to install and supports a wide range of CPU architectures. Google's Android Linux distribution is another option. Although Google's Android was originally designed for smartphones, it has also taken a seat in the nettop market.
Nettops fall into Intel's category of "Basic PC", which usually cost from $100 to $299. Intel describes nettops as a large potential market. Nettops can serve as an affordable first computer for people in developing countries, or as an environmentally friendly choice as a secondary computer for people in developed countries.
- Apple TV
- AMD Fusion
- Cloud computing
- Comparison of single-board computers
- Mac mini
- Plug computer
- Tablet computer
- Thin client
- http://techreport.com/articles.x/21556 Zotac's Zbox Nano AD10 Plus nettop - Zacate in the palm of your hand
- 'Netbooks,' 'Nettops' target secondary PC users
- hexus.net: What is a nettop
- whatis.com: Entry for nettop
- Intel Nettop is all about cost cutting
- Fit-PC2 Specifications
- Is a Nettop Right for You?
-  Archived January 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Next-Generation NVIDIA ION Graphics Processors". Nvidia.com. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
- "News Release VIA Trinity Platform Brings Hi-Def to Small Spaces - VIA Technologies, Inc". Via.com.tw. 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
- "Nvidia's Ion platform - The Tech Report - Page 1". The Tech Report. 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
- "NVIDIA Ion platform to support VIA Nano processors this year". Engadget. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
- "Microsoft places stamp of approval on Vista-based Ion SFF PCs". Engadget. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
- "Asustek to Make Google Android Netbook, Says Report". PCWorld. 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
- CNet article
- Netbooks and Nettops New category of emerging Internet Devices
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nettops.|
- "Touch-enabled net-top boots Linux fast". Archived from the original on 2013-01-27.
- Approximate computer power usages list by Univ. of Pennsylvania
- Russian portal of nettops