Dell Dimension B-1000r Special Edition

Based on the Intel 1GHz processor, this system includes 256MB of PC700 RDRAM, a 4x AGP 64MB DDR GeForce graphics adapter and a 30GB hard drive. Optical media hasn't been forgotten: CD-ROM and DVD capabilities are fulfilled by a 12x Toshiba DVD drive, while a Sony CD-RW drive performs the CD writing and rewriting. Both are IDE devices.

The machine is aimed at enthusiasts and high power seekers. Dell's philosophy is that if you're going to purchase a very fast machine, you might as well include the best available components for ultimate performance.

We tested the machine using a variety of 2D and 3D benchmarks as well as OpenGL and DirectX games to gauge performance, and we were quite impressed with the results.

In the 2D realm we used PC WorldBench 98, PC WorldBench 2000 as well as SYSMark 2000. In PC WorldBench 98 a record score of 346 was achieved, making this PC 8 per cent faster than the previous record holder, which was also a Dell Dimension - the XPS B-800r. Our sister publication in the US recently conducted its own tests on 1GHz machines using PC WorldBench 2000: their pace-setting machine, an IBM Aptiva with 128MB of RDRAM, produced a score of 165. In our tests, the B-1000r ended up with a score of 172 - almost 5 per cent faster. We can't as yet compare results of the SYSMark 2000 tests, but the machine recorded a score of 187 in this benchmark.

For our 3D tests we used Mad Onion's 3DMark 99 Max as well 3DMark 2000, and the machine produced 7322 and 4811 3D Marks, respectively.

As a gaming machine, this unit is unparalleled - the 1000MHz CPU pushed Quake II over 236 frames per second at a 640x480 resolution setting, using OpenGL acceleration. At the other end of the spectrum, the 64MB DDR GeForce came into its own, providing 59 frames per second at a 1600x1200 resolution setting. The main purpose of having so much graphics memory (and such fast memory) is so you can immerse yourself in the game you are playing, using high resolution and maximum texture detail. We played NBA Live 2000 - a Direct3D-based, fast-paced basketball game - at an unbelievable 1600x1200 resolution with maximum texture detail. We were blown away by the smooth gameplay and graphical detail that this machine provided at such a punishing setting. Likewise, when we ran Soldier Of Fortune at this setting, we experienced no performance glitches at all - although we had a hard time trying to locate the small dot required to aim at bad guys, and had to change it to a circle.

A good quality monitor is essential to reap the benefits that this graphics adapter has to offer. Dell shipped the machine to us with a 19in Trinitron display having a crisp 18.1in viewable area. For the complete aural experience a great set of speakers is required - and that is exactly what you get with the Altec Lansing ADA-885 Dolby Digital speaker system. They include a sub-woofer and four satellite speakers which are THX certified to provide you with theatre quality sound in your own home when watching DVD movies.

The case housing all the system's components is a solid little enclosure, which is quite easy to work on despite its small stature and footprint. The side panel removes easily, and is held on by one thumbscrew. The front panel also comes off easily, to expose more of the drive bays and make drive addition or removal a quick task. Status lights on the rear panel of the case help troubleshoot no-video errors if technical assistance is required from Dell staff. All the regular PC connectivity options - including one parallel, two serial, two USB and two PS/2 ports - are offered.

A Logitech Mouseman wheel-mouse handles your point and click action. It has three buttons as well as a scrolling wheel, and is quite comfortable in the hand. The keyboard is a Dell Quietkey keyboard, which, surprisingly, has no multimedia or shortcut keys.

With so many good points, it's hard to go wrong with this system. The only question is - can you afford it? The exorbitant cost of RDRAM has plagued this system with a huge price tag of $8518. The machine comes standard with a three-year (one year on-site) warranty, and a bundle of Microsoft productivity software is included.

Dell Dimension B-1000r Special Edition

Price: $8518

Phone: 1800 335 502

URL: www.dell.com.au

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Elias Plastiras

Elias Plastiras

PC World

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