Elonex – WebRider Pro review

powerful Athlon XP-based desktop workstation
Photo of Elonex – WebRider Pro
£1,745.00 + VAT

Elonex’s new XP 1800+ machine is aimed at the business sector. From the LCD monitor and network adapter to the no-frills component list, AMD’s new power plant is being put to practical rather than entertainment use. Only the graphics card seems a little over the top.

The case that Elonex has chosen for its XP machine is a rather basic one, albeit with a padlock hook to prevent unauthorised access. It would be unremarkable were it not for the stickers on the front panel, announcing the fact that this machine is powered by AMD’s Athlon XP processor – in 1800+ guise here, which equates to 1533MHz in real clock speed terms – and that it uses DDR memory. There’s a total of 512MB of the latter, in fact, in two separate DIMM sticks, leaving space for just one more for upgrade purposes.

The memory and processor are located in an MSI motherboard that features integrated sound, although this had been disabled in our review system. In its place, sound output was supplied by a Creative SoundBlaster Live! PCI card. An Intel Pro/100S network adapter is the only other PCI card in the system.

Providing the graphics power for this PC is one of nVidia’s own GeForce3 Ti 500 cards, which are proving popular in this type of high-end system. This card has DVI and S-video outputs in addition to the standard 15-pin VGA D-sub connector. It sends its output to a 17-inch Elonex-branded LCD monitor which has a fair level of contrast and good consistency of brightness and colour across the screen. Its top resolution is 1280 x 1024 pixels.

Handling the storage requirements of this machine is a 7,200rpm Western Digital Caviar hard drive with a capacity of 100GB. This drive, which uses the EIDE interface, is connected to the primary channel on the motherboard via a space-saving IDE cable which help to ensure that the air flow is as high as possible across the system’s sole cooling fan. The latter is mounted on the processor’s heat sink and there’s space for a second fan should you require additional cooling power.

The cabling throughout the system is neat and tidy, in fact – similar slimline cables are used to attach the DVD and 16x/10x/32x CD-RW drive to the second IDE channel. These drives are manufactured by Matsushita and Acer respectively. Access to these or any other components will require a screwdriver, since the case is not tool-free. At the rear of the system there’s the usual collection of two USB, two serial and one parallel ports at the rear, but there’s no front USB port replication, so users will have to either plug their digital cameras, scanners, MP3 players and other devices in at the rear or use a USB extension cable.

Our review system was supplied with Windows XP Professional, with Microsoft Office XP pre-installed on the hard drive. Elonex provides a three year on-site warranty with this machine.

Company: Elonex

Contact: 020 8452 4444


Verdict
This is a sensibly-equipped desktop workstation for business use; only the graphics card is a little over the top for the rest of the specification, adding unnecessarily to the cost. But in all other respects - performance, storage, display - this is a well-rounded system.