Three 800MHz machines compared

What do you get when you cross an 800MHz Intel Pentium III processor with a 133MHz front side bus, 128MB of PC700 RDRAM (Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory), an AGP 4x slot with Fast Writes, a 32MB GeForce256 graphics card, and a 37GB ATA66 enabled hard drive? A record score of 321 in PC WorldBench and gaming frame rates bordering the 200 frames per second mark!

We were totally blown away by this machine's fantastic feats, and spent many hours repeating tests to make sure we weren't just seeing things. We tested the machine with Quake II, KingPin and 3D Mark 99 Max to compare results with machines from our Best Buys charts, but we also ran the Quake III timedemo 1 benchmark.

The lower resolutions of 640 x 480 and 800 x 600 is where the 800MHz Intel processor contributed greatly to produce supersonic frames rates of 198fps and 176fps, respectively, in Quake II. At the highest resolution setting of 1600 x 1200, the GeForce graphics adapter came into its own, supplying 61fps - a number we're more used to seeing at lower resolutions on other machines. Our 3DMark 99 Max test produced a score of 7221 3D Marks, the most that's ever been dished out in the Test Centre, but its 12063 CPU 3D Marks is still lower than that of the Athlon processor.

The machine's motherboard is based on the Intel 820 chip set, and has been a long time in the making. The infamous Rambus problem Intel had with the third memory slot on its motherboards has been resolved quite ingeniously by removing the third slot. One 128MB PC700 module and a terminator occupy the two RIMM (Rambus In-line Memory Module) slots found in this system. The terminator is required as the Rambus Channel directs the data flow through each slot continuously, reaching data transfer speeds up to a maximum of 1.6GB/sec. This motherboard has provided throughput increases in other areas as well, supporting AGP 4x for video bandwidth up to 1.07GB/sec, and implementing ATA66 to double the burst transfer rates of the IDE bus.

As usual, Dell can configure its systems to suit your individual needs, but for $5997 you get all the aforementioned features and performance as well as a SoundBlaster Live! Value sound card, an 8x DVD-ROM drive, Altec Lansing THX certified speakers, and a 19in monitor.

Dell Dimension B800r

Configuration: Intel Pentium III 800EB CPU, 128MB RDRAM, 37GB hard drive, 32MB GeForce graphics adapterExtra Features: 19in Dell monitor, 8x DVD-ROM drive, Altec Lansing ADA-885 speakers, internal 56Kbps modem, SoundBlaster Live! Value sound card, Microsoft Works Suite 99, McAfee Virus Scan, PowerGame Pack IIPrice: Not availableWarranty: 3 years/1 year on-siteVendor: DellPhone: 1800 335 502URL:

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Spiro Hionis

PC World
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