Not every desktop has to look like a tower. There are also smaller units available. They have some advantages over their bigger counterparts like low price and compact size. Quantum Byte QS-1043-QB is such a mini desktop from Miami-based distributor who claims to be “the intersection of quality electronics and reasonable pricing”. Sounds good, but ad copy always does. So let’s find out if that’s actually true!
Is it powerful enough?
The performance of these smaller desktops can hardly be compared to real power PCs. Mini computers are primarily used for lighter tasks, so it’s entry-level components that usually inhabit them. Indeed, the processor of this Quantum Byte QS-1043-QB is Intel Atom Z3735F. It’s often planted in laptops and tablets, although occasionally also in small form factor desktops as we see.
The Atom processor contains four cores and is clocked between 1.3GHz and 1.8GHz, the latter frequency gained with turbo use. According to CPU Passmark tests, it receives less than 1000 points which is not a lot. Other low key processors like Intel Celerons score around the same or even a little bit more. So a powerful performance can’t be expected, although media center and other not so demanding uses are something the Atom can easily tackle.
Quantum Byte QS-1043-QB contains 2GB DDR3L RAM. Combination of that and the pre-installed Windows 8.1 (32-bit) is usually rather slow, although many users reported smooth use and fast booting up times of ~13 seconds. So it looks like two gigabytes is enough for this computer. Just don’t try to multitask a lot with it. And keep in mind the system doesn’t support a RAM upgrade.
The storage is provided by a 32GB embedded MultiMedia Card. Some people call it SSD, but it’s not really a solid-state drive. Real SSDs are faster and more durable, although eMMC still beats conventional hard drives by a mile in performance. The 32GB size is quite a small, so not a lot of multimedia can be locally stored. There should be 15-20GB space left on the system after Windows and essential files. Upgrading the SSD is not possible, however you can increase the storage by 128GB with an SD memory card.
Can I play games on it?
Quantum Byte QS-1043-QB may be an excellent pick for movies and stuff, but gaming is not something I’d recommend on it. Graphics are powered by Intel HD (Bay Trail) engine. It’s the slowest member of Intel’s integrated chip family. Only older games would run smoothly on this system. World of Warcraft will, for example, get ~35FPS on low details. Minecraft would get less than that, experiencing some lag, although still somewhat playable. 2014-2015 first person shooters and action titles are too much for this desktop.
Quantum Byte QS-1043-QB comes with three USB 2.0 ports, but no USB 3.0 are sadly available. However, the unit has both VGA and HDMI outputs. As such, a dual monitor setup is supported.
Internet access works like any other desktop: there are 100Mbps RJ-45 Ethernet and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi adapters installed. Bluetooth 4.0 is enabled as well, giving an effortless way to hook up smart phones.
The box has no space for a fixed optical drive. Of course, a way around this would be to use an external DVD drive. And speaking about external devices, you can also connect an external hard drive if you require more storage space and the SD card slot is not enough for you.
Any other things to keep in mind?
Quantum Byte QS-1043-QB doesn’t weight a lot, just 0.8 pounds. Dimensions are 5.9 x 1.5 x 4.1 inches length, width, height. As such, the footprint is very small, finding space for the unit shouldn’t be an issue. I can also imagine somebody taking it on his travels, although the desktop has no battery. It needs to be connected to a power socket, and besides you need a monitor of some sort to use it.
Desktops often include a starter keyboard and mouse, but this computer does not. So those you have to get separately. Perhaps wireless ones are the best option to go with this small system.
If it’s streaming Netflix and other similar services you’re after, Quantum Byte QS-1043-QB can work wonders for you. It’s extremely cheap, although powerful enough to work with 1080p movies and videos without stutter and lag. Browsing Internet and playing old games also work, although I wouldn’t run Photoshop or recent, demanding games on it. Connections are solid: WiFi, dual monitor support and three USBs (although none USB 3.0). The fanless design also makes the unit practically silent, no humming noises will disturb your night with a movie. The only bigger disadvantage I can think of is small default storage, but you can use SD card to combat that to an extent. All in all, it looks a great device for multimedia use in living rooms, holiday homes and more!