Compaq’s latest addition to the Presario range is pitched at a market segment that is already heaving with products, supplied by companies ranging from the big corporates like Dell down to the smallest OEM in a garage. So the Presario SR1639UK needs to be pretty special to make a difference, yet sad to say it will only appeal to people who remember Compaq from the old days.
That’s not to say the Presario SR1639UK is a bad system. It’s not; it’s a very well made PC. You can tell that just by picking it up – it weighs an impressive 12.8kg – and it has quite a good features list and reasonably good performance. But there are just too many better equipped PCs out there to choose from.
At the heart of the system sits a 3700+ AMD Athlon 64 processor, clocked at 2.2GHz and backed by 1GB of DDR400 memory, which together give a reasonable Sysmark04SE score of 184; not Earth-shattering but it does mean the Presario SR1639UK has enough grunt to power the majority of applications.
The biggest disappointment, however, is the choice of graphics card. The Presario range is aimed at the home and home office use and while the GeForce 6200SE TurboCache is fine for everyday office use, it just doesn’t cut it for playing games, as shown by its 3DMark05 score of 812 and just 17fps in FarCry.
For storage Compaq provides the Presario SR1639UK with two 160GB Seagate drives configured as separate drive letters, although the ATI chipset on the MSI motherboard does support RAID arrays, so you could set them up as a single large capacity drive if you wish.
For backing up data there is a dual layer, dual format DVD burner and, very usefully, a 9-in-1 Flash Card reader. With Compact Flash and other cards now appearing in ever larger capacities, these too can be used to back up large chunks of data.
The rest of the feature set is a little on the disappointing side; integrated 10/100Mbps Ethernet, but no Gigabit interface, and similarly the integrated audio is only 5.1-channel and not 7.1 as is more commonly found these days. On the plus side you do get a 56Kbps modem plus seven USB 2.0 and two FireWire ports to connect all your peripherals to.
As reviewed the Presario SR1639UK comes with just a keyboard and mouse, but it is available exclusively through PC World, Dixons and Currys who bundle a 17-inch TFT panel and an HP All-in-One printer, copier and scanner with the base unit.
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