Stories by Mick Lockey

HP Compaq Presario S5300nx

SAN FRANCISCO (10/09/2003) - WHAT'S HOT: Designed for homes, our review Compaq Presario S5300nx came with an optional 15-inch Hewlett-Packard Co. Compaq FP5315 LCD monitor, a 120GB hard drive, plenty of built-in ports, and pretty good upgrading options for just US$1107.

HP Pavilion A250n

SAN FRANCISCO (10/07/2003) - WHAT'S HOT: Designed to be an inexpensive rig for home video editing, the Hewlett-Packard Co. A250n ships with a 4X DVD+R/RW drive and a 120GB hard drive. It also comes with a six-in-one memory card reader that can accept CompactFlash I or II, Memory Stick, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, and SmartMedia memory cards.

PC Power and Cooling SleekLine 3000MX

SAN FRANCISCO (10/07/2003) - WHAT'S HOT: Powered by Intel's 3.2-GHz Pentium 4 processor (with an 800-MHz frontside bus) and a gigabyte of dual-channel DDR400 memory, the PC Power and Cooling Inc. SleekLine 3000MX proved a robust performer. It achieved an impressive 136 score on PC WorldBench 4 tests--the fastest performance we've recorded for a system with this configuration. The all-black steel case measures less than 4 inches high, and is quiet, due to its three small fans and hushed power supply.

MPC Millennia 920i Professional

SAN FRANCISCO (10/06/2003) - WHAT'S HOT: The MPC Computers LLC Millennia 920i, powered by a 3.2-GHz Pentium 4 processor and a gigabyte of dual-channel DDR400 SDRAM, earned a score of 127 on PC WorldBench 4, matching the performance of the similarly equipped Dell Inc. Dimension 8300, as well as being just a hair faster than other systems we've seen with a 3.06-GHz Pentium 4 and a similar amount of memory. Compared with systems using one of AMD's top-of-the-line Athlon XP CPUs, such as ABS Computer Technologies Inc.'s Ultimate M5 with a 2.2-GHz Athlon XP 3200+ and a gigabyte of DDR400 memory, the 920i's performance is about 10 percent slower.

Amax AMD Max 3200+

SAN FRANCISCO (10/06/2003) - WHAT'S HOT: The Amax Engineering Corp. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Max 3200+ we tested was equipped with AMD's current top-of-the-line 2.2-GHz Athlon XP 3200+ CPU with a 400-MHz frontside bus (a little faster than the 333-MHz frontside bus in previous Athlon XP chips). Between this CPU and 512MB of DDR400 SDRAM, our test unit cooked up a score of 134 on our PC WorldBench 4 tests, which is only 4 percent less than that of our current top performer, the ABS Ultimate M5.

Sys Technology Performance 3200+

WHAT'S HOT: Powered by Advanced Micro Devices 's 2.2-GHz Athlon XP 3200+ processor and a gigabyte of DDR400 memory, the Sys Technology Performance 3200+ achieved an impressive PC WorldBench 4 score of 136--a scant four points behind the current speed champion, the ABS Ultimate M5, which uses the same CPU and the same amount of memory.

Gateway E-6100

WHAT'S HOT: Gateway 's new E-6100 shares the silver and black tower case style of the company's high-end 700XL systems. The big tower case has an exceptionally roomy and neat interior, making servicing and upgrading the components a cinch. The chassis offers plenty of options for expansion, including three externally accessible bays, two of which can accept 5.25-inch drives such as a CD- or DVD-media optical drive and one of which can handle a 3.5-inch drive, such as a memory card reader or Zip drive. One available internal drive bay is elegantly designed to accept an additional hard drive with no tools or screws required and is oriented 90 degrees to the case axis to present you with the connection-end of the hard drive. There are also five PCI slots for add-on cards and two available memory sockets.

Polywell Poly 880NF2-2800

WHAT'S HOT: Though priced at a rock-bottom US$993, this Polywell Computers is equipped with a 2.08-GHz Athlon XP 2800+ CPU and 512MB of DDR333 memory, and it earned a commendable score of 127 on our PC WorldBench 4 tests. While not the fastest system we've seen, it matches other systems powered with Intel's pricey 3.06-GHz CPU. Like many Polywell systems, the 880NF2-2800 has a window on the side of its brushed aluminum case that lets you peek inside, and it comes standard with a neon light to illuminate the innards of the PC.