Tiny Tornado test and review from Computer Video Magazine

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Tiny Tornado

There's probably never been a better value £799 PC than Tiny's fast and well-equipped Athlon 64-based Tornado, but is it fit for video editing?

National newspaper ads for big-value computers are ten-a-penny but, of late, the ads from Tiny.com have repeatedly caught our eye. Most notable is a £699 (inc VAT) PC running Windows XP Home and fitted with an AMD Athlon 64 3000 processor (currently on offer at the time of writing).

But the company is set to outdo itself with an offer running for seven days from May 11. The deal is for the Tiny Tornado, a £799 PC reviewed here that has all the features of the £699 machine, plus more besides.

Each PC offers 1GByte of RAM, a 200GByte Western Digital system hard disk, an NEC 8x DVD burner (and a 16x DVD-Rom drive), an ATI All-in-Wonder graphics-card-cum-TV-tuner-personal-VCR (with remote handset and analogue video/audio in/out), front/rear FireWire and USB 2.0, a multi-format solid-state memory-card reader, and a floppy disk drive.

A PCI modem card is fitted, 10/100Base-T networking is built-in, and a keyboard and optical mouse come, too - though monitor and speakers are extra. An additional £100 buys a much faster Athlon 64 3400+ (2.2GHz) processor, plus a second WD 200GByte hard drive for data, but there's less graphics-card RAM - 128MByte, rather than 256MByte. Tiny says that the Tornado is the first of a series of 'breath-taking' special offers, each available for just one week.

We set out to see if the Tornado is suitable as the centre-piece of a video editing system and, if it is, for whom it's most appropriate. To do that, we started off by running 18 real-world software speed tests using Main Concept's stand-alone MPEG encoder, Sorenson's Squeeze 3 suite and three Adobe programs - Premiere 6.5, After Effects 6 and Photoshop CS.

The Tiny Tornado is extraordinary. It's very fast, well equipped and astonishingly cheap. However, although it seems like wonderful value, there are hidden extra costs - most notably for proper support.
Anyone who earns money from video editing absolutely must have decent technical support from their system provider - unless they consider themselves highly expert with PCs. To expect Tiny to provide the sort of hand-holding that dedicated video editing system builders offer would be dangerously naïve, even if buying the company's most expensive support package.

But we reckon that our more technically adept and power-hungry readers - both pros and amateurs - would be well advised to grab a Tornado while the offer lasts. They'll save money even if they simply strip out the key components and install them in a bigger case fitted with a better-spec'd motherboard, a more powerful PSU, quieter fans and more hard disks.

We also think that every video editing system builder in the UK ought to be up on Tiny's site, credit cards ready, early in the morning of May 11 to ensure that they buy one of these machines.
They'll have to have hands on with this new Athlon processor before they'll believe how fast it is, and they probably can't get the components cheaper, so will save time and money buying a ready-built Tornado.

Bob Crabtree

Read the full review in June 2004's Computer Video magazine.

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Canon MV750I
Tiny Tornado

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