Altech Custom

This Altech Custom machine must have come straight from Texas, because everything about it is BIG!

Its price tag has come down to $4705, helping to propel the system to the number one position on the chart this month. For your money you get a fully-featured package with components that are pretty much at the top of the pack in their respective fields. It offers a very fast 1.4GHz AMD Athlon processor along with 512MB of PC2100 DDR SDRAM, a SoundBlaster Live! DE 5.1 sound card and a 64MB GeForce3-equipped ASUS V8200 Deluxe graphics adapter. These core components sit in a Soltek SL-75DRV motherboard, which itself can accommodate a total memory capacity of 3GB via three DIMM slots, and also has room for expansion via five PCI slots.

Aimed very much at the enthusiast and hardcore gamer, this machine is destined to keep you entertained for hours on end - especially if you're keen on DVD movies. The accompanying Cambridge DTT2500 Desktop Theatre 5.1 speaker system features a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital decoder and is perfect for watching Hollywood blockbusters, but its settings can also be tuned to deliver great stereo and surround-sound signals for normal music listening and game playing.

These activities will look fantastic on the high-end 19in Sony G420 monitor (although the top right corner of our unit had colour problems and its geometry wasn't perfect), which also features an array of BNC connectors. As such, the system is also great if you're looking for a mean graphics workstation. It ships with Windows 2000 as its preferred operating system so, finally, many home users will be able to experience the stability and enhanced security features that the 9x platform sorely lacks.

A plethora of bundled software, particularly games, is provided through the graphics and sound card packages.

Pros: Massive configuration, Windows 2000
Cons: Very large footprint

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