Price: £745 plus VAT
Pros: Very small chassis. Quiet. Relatively high-spec components.
Cons: Not as powerful as a true desktop workstation.
Many creatives don’t mind having large workstations under their desks. The vulgar display of power represents why you paid so much more than a business desktop. However, if you’re short on desk space or looking for a desktop for your home that you can both work and play on, check out Scan’s 3XS Nanu.
About the same size as a 50s toaster, the Nanu packs a lot into its small frame. The processor is modest – an Intel Core i3 550, which runs at 3.2GHz but has only two cores – and there’s 4GB of RAM: nothing you couldn’t get on a laptop. However, there’s a full-spec workstation-class graphics card in AMD’s ATI FirePro V4800, which has 400 processors and a GB of RAM all of its own.
There’s also a TB of storage from a Western Digital hard drive with a 6Gbps SATA connection – another desktop-only feature.
The Nanu’s also very quiet and comes at a price that’s affordable even as a home machine – but it’s performance may not be enough for your needs. In our After Effects, Photoshop and Cinebench tests, the Nanu proved to be much slower than most desktop workstations – which is unsurprising considering its Core i3 chip – so it’s only recommended if you need workstations-class graphics in such a small format.