Three 800MHz machines compared

Much like its 700MHz stablemate, which sits at the number one position of Best Buys' Home chart, the Peripherals Plus Athlon 800 boasts a fully-featured configuration and provides powerful 2D and 3D performance. At 800MHz, this machine is almost 7 per cent faster than the 700MHz version, achieving a high score of 296 in PC WorldBench. Unlike the previous versions of the Athlon processor, this chip is manufactured using 0.18 micron technology.

How does it perform? In comparison to the Pentium III 800MHz system from Gateway, which also uses SDRAM instead of the faster and more expensive RDRAM, the Peripherals Plus recorded a score merely 4 per cent lower in PC WorldBench. When compared to the RDRAM-equipped Dell, though, the gap was much wider, with the Peripherals Plus system recording a score almost 9 per cent lower.

At the base of the system lies a Microstar MS-06167 motherboard, which provides ATA66 support for faster data transfer rates, and has three DIMM slots for memory, expandable up to 768MB. Expansion slots include five PCI and two ISA, while the standard backing plate contains the usual parallel, serial, PS/2 and USB connectivity. It's housed in an Aopen mid-tower case that has a 250-Watt power supply, and an extra case fan is installed at the front to create a cool airflow around the Athlon CPU. The CPU itself is cooled by a double fan and heatsink assembly and a fan is also located on the processor of the Leadtek GeForce256 graphics adapter.

The Leadtek GeForce card is of the DDR variety and the default memory speed is a staggering 300MHz! And if that's not enough bandwidth, you can use the Speed Runner program located in the Display Properties to bump the memory speed up to 360MHz, and clock speed up to 320MHz from the default 120MHz. 3DMark 99 Max gave us a score of 6074 3D Marks, and 12735 CPU 3D Marks. In our gaming tests using OpenGL acceleration, KingPin returned frame rates of 71 (1024 x 768), 59 (1280 x 960) and 44 (1600 x 1200), while Quake II returned 92 (1024 x 768), 70 (1280 x 960) and 50 (1600 x 1200). At the lower resolutions of 640 x 480 and 800 x 600, KingPin returned 78 frames in both modes, while Quake II scored 125 and 113 frames, respectively. The graphics card displays its output on a 17in Sony Flatron monitor, which provides very clear and sharp images, but has an OSD which takes a little getting used to; we did have trouble getting the geometry of the screen square.

For data storage, the machine ships with a 13.6GB Quantum hard drive and an Acer CD-RW drive, which supports write and re-write speeds of 4x and has a read speed of 32x. Other standard features include a 10-speed slot-loading Aopen DVD drive with software decoding, 128MB of SDRAM, a Creative Vibra 128 sound card, Aopen speakers and an internal Netcomm modem. Software includes Lotus SmartSuite Millennium, Norton AntiVirus, Virtual Drive and an IBM CD Pack. The machine costs $4995 and an on-site three-year warranty is included.

Peripherals Plus Athlon 800

Configuration: AMD Athlon 800, 128MB SDRAM, 13.6GB hard drive, 32MB Leadtek WinFast GeForce256 DDR graphics adapterExtra Features: 17in Sony Multiscan E200 monitor, Aopen 10x DVD drive, Acer CD-RW 4 x 4 x 32, Aopen speakers, internal Netcomm 56Kbps modem, Creative Vibra 128 sound card, Lotus SmartSuite Millennium, Virtual Drive, Norton AntiVirus, IBM CD PackPrice: $3999Warranty: 3 years on-siteVendor: Peripherals PlusPhone: (02) 9630 3166 URL: www.perplus.com.au

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