You’ve probably noticed that AMD recently broke with tradition and started naming its processors after ‘real world’ performance measurements rather than raw clock speed. The new Athlon processors launched under this scheme are known as Athlon XP chips. This machine from Evesham.com uses the 1800+ version of this processor and has a mixed range of features that make it suitable for the home office/small office user in particular.
This is a midi-tower machine with a conventional, practical design that includes tool-free case access. Conveniently, there are two USB ports on the front panel plus a further two at the rear, alongside the parallel port and twin serial ports. Inside the case is a Gigabyte GA7V1XH motherboard that holds the processor (which runs at a core speed of 1533MHz) and 512MB of DDR memory. The latter is present in the shape of two DIMM sticks, so there’s space for one more.
A suitably powerful graphics adapter is provided; a LeadTek WinFast Titanium card based on nVidia’s new GeForce3 Ti 500 graphics processor. This card connects to a Samsung SyncMaster 170T LCD monitor, which is quite a nice 17-inch screen with good colour consistency and contrast and a 1280 x 1024 maximum resolution. The display has automatic resolution adjustment which works pretty well. Both the card and the monitor support DVI so a good quality screen image can be obtained with the appropriate cable. The graphics card also has an S-video connector so you can use it with a large TV screen.
In addition to the obligatory floppy drive, you get a 16x/10x/32x CD-RW drive with BURN-proofing, plus a DVD-ROM drive. Both the latter are connected to the second IDE channel, with the first being occupied by the huge 100GB, 7,200rpm Western Digital Caviar hard drive.
The system’s internal cabling is neat and tidy so there’s plenty of space to add new expansion cards or exchange existing ones. But although there are two free PCI slots, realistically only one can be used, as the second is too close to the graphics card’s cooling fan to be of practical use. There is space for another 3.5-inch drive and one more 5.25-inch drive, both externally accessible.
The onboard sound controller has been disabled in favour of a Creative SoundBlaster Audigy PCI card that also has a FireWire port built in. There’s onboard 10/100Mbps Ethernet too, in the form of a RealTek PCI card that supports remote boot and wake-on-LAN operations via its built-in BIOS. A set of Surround Sound speakers plus a keyboard, optical mouse and V.90 SmartLink PCI voice modem card complete the hardware package.
Windows XP Professional is supplied as standard, along with a selection of tools including Star Office, Pinnacle Studio 7.0 and CyberLink PowerDVD. The machine is supported by a three year warranty, the first two years of which are on-site while the third is RTB (parts and labour).
Contact: 0870 160 9500