£800 can now buy you a very respectable general purpose home and office PC. This HomePro system from Viglen has a lot going for it, though out and out performance isn’t top of the list.
The midi tower case into which the system is built sports a 10-speed DVD drive in the top bay and a standard floppy drive below that. This is pretty standard fare for a system at this price point, as is the 19GB hard drive. It’s all good enough for mainstream use, with a 733MHz Pentium III processor providing the muscle for virtually any application, possibly excluding digital video editing.
Viglen provides 64MB of main memory, which is enough for all Windows variants, certainly the Windows 98SE supplied here. Windows Millennium will cost you no more as an option. If you buy the HomePro to replace an existing computer, you could use its built-in Ethernet connection as the start of a home network. Are you that nerdy? We are…
Four of the five PCI expansion slots are vacant, with the fifth filled by a Diamond Supra modem, one of the best V.90 devices available at the moment. Sound is provided by an AD1885 chip on the system board and is well reproduced by a trio of Altec Lansing loudspeakers. The inclusion of a good sub-woofer makes a lot of difference to the depth of the sound they can produce.
You can’t really say the same about the graphics adapter, though, which again comes from the system board, but this time from part of the Intel 815 chipset. While this adapter may be good enough for general-purpose display applications, it doesn’t give the 3D support necessary for good games play. Test results were very poor on both 2D and 3D benchmarks, all of which can be laid in the lap of the graphics controller.
Viglen provides a good software bundle with the HomePro PIII 733NLr, starting with MS Works 2000, a good integrated package, though better suited to home than office use. On top of this, there’s the Home Tutor Pack, Entertainment Pack and Education Pack, all of which provide a variety of extra software and are ideal if the PC is to be used by everybody in your family.
Overall, this is a good machine with plenty of scope as the basis of a learning and communication tool. It’s not the ideal vehicle for the fanatical gamer, though.
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