What is it: a no-frills AMD K6/200-based desktop PC.
Applications: office suites and general business use; Internet/Web.
AMD has been a tenacious adversary of Intel for years now, repeatedly coming up with alternatives to its rival?s products in an attempt to erode Intel?s dominance of the PC processor market. AMD?s strategy is simple: develop a processor cheaper and more powerful than the Intel equivalent. In pursuit of this goal, it bought another chip
Contact: Elonex on
0181 452 4444
Verdict: AMD?s new K6 is fast and cheaper than Intel?s Pentium MMX 200. It is complemented by a solid configuration, including 32Mb of RAM and a massive 5Gb hard disk, as well as a 33.6Kbps internal modem. The result is a well-specified business machine at a reasonable price. maker, Nexgen, and acquired some high-powered R&D personnel and the rights to Nexgen?s forthcoming Intel-killer CPU.
The result is AMD?s K6 range, which appears to be targeted at anyone considering a Pentium MMX-based PC. In fact, the K6 contains the additional 57 MMX instructions, legally licensed from Intel, so you don?t forego the benefits of MMX technology by opting for K6.
Furthermore, K6 is fast. Early indications are that the 200MHz version will outperform a Pentium MMX/200, and the 233MHz version is actually faster than a Pentium Pro 200, which is no mean feat. In keeping with AMD?s strategy, the K6 is also cheaper than its competitor: Elonex estimates that an Intel P200-based version of the machine reviewed here would cost #145 more ? roughly the cost of the Microsoft Office software bundled with it.
Elonex offers a range of cases, so if the 13.5in high mini-tower our sample came in is unsuitable, there are alternatives. Our only criticism of the case was the amount of noise audible from the cooling fan, which could do with damping down.
The machine is supplied with the comfortable, well-designed Microsoft mouse and a narrow-border Windows 95 keyboard with a rattly, middleweight action rather lacking in character. The keyboard is made entirely from plastic and clearly didn?t cost much but, as with the case, Elonex offers an alternative, metal-based version.
At this price, you get a 15in FST monitor with digital controls, including barrel/pincushion and trapezoidal geometry corrections. The 13.6in diagonal image is reasonably sharp overall, and we found it comfortable enough to work with at the 800x600 resolution best suited to this size of display. Flicker isn?t a problem, thanks to vertical refresh support all the way up to 100Hz at 800x600.
The review machine was fitted with an ATI 3D XPression Plus graphics card with 4Mb of video memory, but you could opt for an alternative, such as a Matrox Mystique, without affecting the overall price. The ATI card is based on the 3D Rage II chip which, though not the fastest 2D/3D accelerator around, does benefit from stable Microsoft-certified drivers.
The core configuration is sound: the 200MHz K6 is helped by 512Kb of pipeline burst cache and 32Mb of EDO RAM, and down in the basement you?ll find a cavernous 5Gb Fujitsu EIDE hard disk that should keep you going for a decent length of time. The motherboard uses Intel?s latest TX support chipset, so you get up-to-date TX features like a pair of USB sockets and, so we were assured, faster SDRAM main memory at no extra cost.
We got a 16-speed Sony CD-ROM drive, but this is shortly to be replaced by a 24-speed drive, at no extra cost. There?s room for two ISA and two PCI cards in the system, although the AT-style design of the motherboard means that a couple of the slots are shortened to half length by the processor socket. The third ISA slot is given over to a data-fax modem rated at 33.6Kbps, the highest currently ratified bi-directional data transfer speed. The model includes a copy of Microsoft Office Small Business Edition, conveniently pre-installed.
Contact: Elonex on
0181 452 4444
Verdict: AMD?s new K6 is fast and cheaper than Intel?s Pentium MMX 200. It is complemented by a solid configuration, including 32Mb of RAM and a massive 5Gb hard disk, as well as a 33.6Kbps internal modem. The result is a well-specified business machine at a reasonable price.
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