Atlas – Meridian A1400 review

fast, no-frills business PC
Photo of Atlas – Meridian A1400
£829 + VAT

AMD’s advance into the business sector continues with this machine from Atlas, which is aimed at companies looking to bulk-buy desktop PCs for their employees.

The midi-tower case of this machine has a tool-free cover that can be removed in seconds – a padlock ring at the rear can be used to prevent unauthorised people from doing so. Inside there’s a 1.4GHz AMD Athlon processor in an Asus motherboard, with a selection of cooling fans that make the Meridian A1400 rather a noisy beast.

There’s space for just one additional PCI card in this machine – the other empty slot is far too close to the AGP slot to be of practical use. That’s not likely to matter, though, since there’s a lot here already, including an SMC 1211 10/100Mbps network card and an Allied Data V.90 modem. There’s also a Guillemot Maxi Sound Fortissimo sound card, complete with digital output; arguably an unnecessary luxury in a business PC.

Not so the graphics card, which is a relatively low-cost model; the Vivid! XS from VideoLogic. Although it does have 3D features, which few business users will require, these don’t significantly affect the price of the system and the card works well with the 17-inch CTX PR705 CRT monitor. Atlas also includes both a CD-RW drive (a Teac 8x/8x/32x unit) and a DVD drive in this system, both of which are plugged into the IDE bus, while a 40GB Western Digital EIDE hard drive provides plenty of storage.

There’s nothing in the way of manageability software supplied with this machine, so IT managers will have to add their own if they want to manage the system over a network. There is a selection of office applications supplied, but this will only be of interest to smaller companies without a site-licensing deal with software suppliers.

The company provides a one year on-site warranty as standard, with telephone support at standard rates. This completes a fairly well-specified and sensible business package.

Company: Atlas

Contact: 020 8523 6111

There are few frills or extras with this machine; just the necessities for a business system. But that's reflected in the price. Placing AMD's chip at the heart of this system means that Atlas can offer a lot of power for relatively little cost.