What is a Nettop?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
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A nettop is a personal computer (PC) intended for use primarily for navigation and interaction with the Internet. Nettops are typically smaller and require less power than a full desktop computer or a laptop computer. This conservation of size and resources comes at the sacrifice of computing power and peripherals, as a nettop will usually not have any sort of optical disk drives or other devices. Nettops are mainly intended for use in accessing the Internet and Web-based programs, such as email, and document creation and processing.

The term nettop comes from a combination of the words Internet and desktop, as the computer is intended to be a desktop meant primarily for Internet use. Nettops have enough computing power to run an operating system (OS) and may have universal serial bus (USB) ports as well as plugs for speakers or headphones. While not intended to run programs that require a great deal of processing power like cutting-edge PC games or music mixing software, the nettops are made to be used much like other desktop computers for home entertainment.


Manufacturers of nettops use drives and processors that require as little as 1/10 the power needed to run a typical desktop PC. This makes a nettop a good economical and environmental choice for someone looking to buy a first computer, or an experienced computer user who wants another one. These particular demographics have been targeted by nettop manufacturers, and it is considered a growing industry with as-yet untapped markets. A nettop in a centralized location would allow a person, or a family, to be able to access the Internet, create text documents in a word processor program, and download and play music.

Since a nettop can run simple programs and allow a user to easily access the Internet, they are being considered for use in assisting citizens in developing countries. They require a great deal less power to run, which makes nettops optimal choices for people in countries that cannot produce or afford as much electricity and power as other nations. But with improved technology at their fingertips, the people of such countries could be better able to build a stronger future for themselves. As more people work toward creating a truly global community, with a network of citizens across every nation of the world, cheaper and less consumptive forms of technology may be needed to achieve such a reality.


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