So, impressive performance and impressive hardware. But this equals a wallet-busting price tag, and we would hesistate to recommend this system to anyone other than those with plenty of cash to spend on the latest technology.
The Dan Ultimate 800M is not for the faint-hearted. It offers some of the very latest technology to provide just about the best performance and functionality a PC can currently deliver.
Despite fierce competition between Intel's Pentium III and AMD's Athlon, Dan has plumped for Intel's latest Pentium III 800Mhz processor. This is complemented by 128Mb SDRAM and a motherboard featuring Intel's 820 chipset. The gigantic 30Gb hard drive and Ricoh combination DVD and CD-RW drive are both top quality components.
We liked the big 19" flat screen monitor. The picture was crisp and bright, and gamers will particularly appreciate being able to play their games at high resolutions.
The other half of the graphics story, of course, is the graphics card. You shouldn't have any problems here, as a 32Mb Creative GeForce 256 Annihilator 3D accelerator sits in the AGP slot ready and willing to deliver blistering frame rates. This is not the top-end Pro model with DDR-Ram, but it is still a great card.
A 56Kbps modem is included but there's some bonus hardware too. Removable storage usually presents itself in the form of a Zip drive, but an LS-120 replaces the floppy drive in the Ultimate 800M. In addition, Dan has provided an LS-120 disk and ten CD Recordables. A Microsoft Sidewinder gamepad is included.
Software includes several games and Encarta Encyclopaedia 2000, with Lotus Smartsuite providing the office applications. If you're intending to watch DVD movies, the Creative DTT2500 Digital speakers will enhance the experience ten-fold. They deliver true Dolby Digital sound, and matched with the Sound Blaster Live Platinum sound card, this is an impressive sound system.
Build quality is good, and as the motherboard supports both SDRam and RDRam memory, longevity is assured. The motherboard also features an integrated sound chipset, made redundant by the PCI Soundblaster card. However, the minijack sockets and joystick port for the onboard sound are covered with a piece of tape, a sloppy move on Dan's part.
With a Sysmark score of 143, this PC displayed almost identical performance to another PC we have recently tested with an AMD 800MHz processor and 256Mb of Ram - double the amount of the 800M. Essentially, this is pretty much the best performance you can currently buy, but as usual you have to pay a premium for this luxury.
Graphics performance was almost as impressive, with a score of alomost 4000 3D Marks. Only GeForce cards with DDR-Ram have beaten this score, so as soon as games appear supporting the new DirectX 7 features, you'll start to see the full capability of this graphics card.