Dan Technology – Olympian 1.5 P4 review

fast but expensive RIMM-equipped workstation
Photo of Dan Technology – Olympian 1.5 P4
£2,700 + VAT

Dan’s Olympian 1.5 P4 is a powerful, if very expensive, well-built system that’s aimed at the grey area between high-level business use and entry-level workstation territory.

Most of the high price comes from the P4′s reliance on Rambus memory, and the particular Olympian P4 we looked at came with a whopping 512MB of PC800 memory. It you could ever afford it, the motherboard can support up to 2GB of such memory through the four RIMM slots provided.

Once open, the spacious midi-tower case allows free access to the Intel D850GB motherboard and all the wiring is neatly bundled out of the way. The board also supplies five PCI slots and a CNR (Communications Network Rise) slot, so there’s plenty of room for extra cards. On the system reviewed only one of the slots was filled, by the Soundblaster Live audio card. The D850GB also supports an integrated LAN chip, so networking is taken care of, without loss of any of the expansion slots.

There’s plenty of room for extra drives too, with two 5.25-inch drive bays and two 3.5-inch drive bays free. The third large bay was occupied by the 52-speed CDROM drive, a Sony CDU-5211 unit, while the hard drive is an ATA/100 mode, 30GB Maxtor 33073H3 model. Something of a strange combination – we’d have expected a CD-RW drive and perhaps a larger hard drive on this sort of system.

The graphics card provided is the pointer as to where the Olympian 1.5 sits in the market place. It’s a 32 MB Matrox G450 Millennium with dual VGA output, so this system is no games machine as the G450′s lack of 3D performance is well known. However for pure business use it is a first rate card, while for the workstation segment, it gets by as an entry level graphics card. This outputs to a 17-inch Philips 170B LCD screen, which has a maximum resolution of 1280 pixels by 1024 pixels at a comfortable refresh rate of 75Hz.

Dan supplies the Olympian 1.5 P4 with Windows 2000 as the pre-installed operating system and provides a 1-year RTB warranty.

Company: Dan Technology

Contact: 020 8830 1100

Because it uses Rambus memory, there's no getting away from the fact that the Olympian 1.5 P4 is an expensive system, and although powerful, there are cheaper and faster DDR memory-equipped machines available for business use. However, in its entry-level workstation guise where price isn't as much of a deciding factor, it is certainly a powerful system.