It’s not often you come across a PC from a mainstream supplier which is properly geared up for key leisure interests. Time’s Mercury Creative 3000+ is one such, though, and could prove an ideal vehicle for digital photography or digital video editing. Although the price is comparatively high, Time has put the budget to good use in the way the system is configured and in the extra equipment added into the equation.
Starting with an Athlon XP 3000+ processor, close to the fastest AMD chip available, and adding in 1GB of main memory, you would expect this system to have a good turn of speed. A SYSmark 2002 score of 253 shows this is the case and the ATI Radeon 9700 Pro graphics adapter does similar things for 3D game performance, returning a top index of over 14,000. It’s connected into a 19-inch CRT monitor from LG, with a fully flat tube face, giving a low-distortion image.
The monitor also includes a four-port USB hub, which when added to the single USB2 and four FireWire ports in the PC itself, provides excellent connectivity. To improve this further, there’s a six-format memory card reader in the front panel of the Mercury Creative 3000+, so you can plug in a card from virtually any camera, MP3 player or voice recorder.
When you look at the fixed storage included in the system, you get a further surprise. There’s a 120GB hard drive offering plenty of room for just about any combination of software you’d care to install, with an identical second drive directly below. This may seem excessive, but it’s just the kind of arrangement that’s ideal for editing video, as you can devote the second drive to video clip storage as you work.
If your interests lie with the still image rather than movies, you’re well catered for by the bundled Fujifilm FinePix A204 digital camera. While this is roughly equivalent to a 35mm compact conventional camera, it’s by no means an entry-level digital device and can take some decent shots, which you can then edit using the included PhotoSuite image editor.
To round off the package there’s a well-matched sound system, partnering a Creative Audigy sound card with a set of Videologic ZXR500 speakers. This combination provides excellent 5.1 sound, equally suitable for playing music, movie soundtracks or games effects. This is a very capable system for creating and using all three of these types of media.
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