Had enough of that clunky great grey box sitting on your desktop? Want to replace it with something smaller, svelter and infinitely more aesthetically interesting? Judging by the success of the Apple iMac, so do lots of people, and now the computer-in-a-box idea is coming to the land of the PC.
Companies such as Brother have made one-box PCs before, with the processor, motherboard and other gubbins located inside an over-sized monitor case, but the Intecra P2 is just a little bit different. For a start, it doesn’t have a conventional CRT screen. Instead, it uses an LCD panel, of the sort seen in notebook computers. This 15-inch screen – which has a viewable area not much smaller than a standard 17-inch CRT monitor – is driven by a 4MB 2D-only graphics controller. It will display a top resolution of 1024 x 768, and it’s very clear and sharp, even when playing action games. It can also be rotated into portrait mode for viewing A4 pages, which is cleverness incarnate.
Powered by a 333MHz Pentium II processor, this machine has plenty of input/output ports, including infra-red, USB, serial, parallel and joystick/MIDI. There are built-in speakers, too. Supplied software includes Microsoft Word 97, Microsoft Works 4.5 and IBM ViaVoice Gold speech recognition software with a headset microphone.
It’s pretty easy to remove the back of the Intecra, but once you’ve done it, there’s not a great deal you can add. There’s space for an ISA and PCI card, but no room for extra drives. You can add one more DIMM memory module to increase the standard 64MB, but that’s about it. As far as storage is concerned, the Intecra P2 has a 4GB EIDE hard drive, a standard floppy drive and a 20-speed CDROM drive. The latter is from a notebook PC, because the machine itself is so compact that there isn’t even room for a full-sized desktop drive. This really is a very small machine indeed…
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