Back to 8/96 Reviews What's Hot: Corel Ventura 7.0
Up to Table of Contents
Ahead to 8/96 Reviews SW: 3D Studio MAX

8/96 Reviews What's Hot: Quantex QP6/200 SM-2

Listing of August 1996 Reviews

Prodigious Pro

By James Alan Miller

In the topsy-turvy computer world, today's hot CPU is tomorrow's passé processor. Even as performance-minded buyers queue up to look at 200MHz Pentium systems-and maybe plunk down a good bit of cash to buy one-a new Pentium chip, the Pro, is poised to surpass its sibling. As dizzying as it may seem, this is really good news, because as the processors spiral upwards, prices drop. The Quantex QP6/200 SM-2 is a good example.

The QP6/200 SM-2 is priced modestly, but it incorporates Intel's 200MHz Pentium Pro processor with 256KB of internal cache, along with a generous 32MB of RAM that's expandable to 128MB. Toss in an assortment of good brand-name components and you have an impressive combination of high performance and value. With its Pro processor, the QP6/200 SM-2 is ready for a full 32-bit operating system such as Windows NT or the promised fully 32-bit version of Windows 9x.

When running Windows 95, the QP6/200 SM-2 earns performance marks equal to or better than 200MHz Pentium systems. Tested with our Wintune benchmarks, its CPU clocked a score of 419MIPS-about 60MIPS higher than 200MHz Pentium processors. Interestingly, its 2.9MB per second uncached hard disk throughput falls short of Pentium 200 systems equipped with the same drive. The QP6/200 SM-2 notched a good video mark of 15Mpixels per second, a score that's likely to improve under Windows NT. On our application tests, the QP6/200 SM-2 completed the Word macro in 10.67 seconds and the Excel macro in 9.33 seconds-meeting or beating most 200MHz Pentium machines.

The QP6/200 SM-2's performance test scores-like those of other Pentium Pro-based systems-certainly don't suggest that the system has a clear advantage over similarly equipped Pentium PCs. But, as suggested earlier, the Pentium Pro's true potential will be realized in a full 32-bit environment. So, for an investment of only a few hundred dollars (or less) over the price of a 200MHz Pentium, you can enjoy top-of-the-line computing today and be ready for tomorrow's desktop operating systems.

The system's roomy mini-tower case is home to a number of quality components, beginning with the Intel ATX motherboard. The motherboard helps keep everything inside neat and well organized, leaving plenty of room to perform system upgrades. The case opens easily, by loosening a couple of screws and sliding off the left side panel. Inside, Quantex has tucked a 2.5-gigabyte Western digital IDE hard disk that is partitioned for use under Windows 95 and an 8X Toshiba CD-ROM drive. The processor sits under a large heat sink, and a fan bolted to the power supply blows air in its direction.

You can easily access the EDO RAM and the expansion slots, consisting of three PCI, two ISA and one shared slot. A Diamond Stealth Video 3200 with 2MB of VRAM uses one PCI slot, while the Diamond SupraExpress 28.8Kbps modem and the Ensoniq Vivo Wavetable sound card occupy two ISA slots. There are three open drive bays, one internal 3.5-inch bay and two externally-accessible 5.25-inch bays. Expansion is adequate for its mini-tower size, but limited in comparison to the Quantex QP5/200 SM-2, also reviewed this month.

The system's monitor is the commendable MAG InnoVision DX17T. It features a Trinitron monitor with a 0.25-millimeter dot pitch. Though on-screen controls would be nice, as they give you visual and or numerical feedback on the changes you make, the DX17T arrives with a good set of easily accessible controls. Most of them, except brightness and contrast, which use separate thumbwheels, reside behind a panel beneath the screen. Aside from the standard fare, you get a decent selection of higher end controls. These controls include horizontal and vertical convergence, rotation, trapezoid and pincushion. A microphone and a pair of Altec Lansing speakers with subwoofer complete the audio system.

Quantex includes its usual generous and eclectic software bundle with the QP6/200 SM-2. Called the Professional Software package, it includes Corel's PerfectOffice suite, Sharkware, Quicken, Astound multimedia presentation software, a number of reference works such as the 1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Mindscape's Complete Reference Library and Phone Disc Business. Quantex's bundle also has communications software for faxing, the Web and online services, including FaxTalk, Netcom and Netscape Intuit Edition, and trial packages for CompuServe, AOL and Prodigy. And when too much work steers you in the direction of play, Al Unser Jr.'s Arcade Racing should prove diverting.

One of the few drawbacks of this system is the meager one-year on-site technical service plan.

The Quantex QP6/200 SM-2 is an impressive package. It provides all the horsepower you need, and it's ready if and when you switch to a full 32-bit operating system.

Info File
Quantex QP6/200 SM-2
Pros: Price; hard disk; RAM; motherboard
Cons: Limited expansion
Quantex Microsystems
800-632-5022, 908-563-4166
WinMag Box Score: 3.5
Back to 8/96 Reviews What's Hot: Corel Ventura 7.0
Up to Table of Contents
Ahead to 8/96 Reviews SW: 3D Studio MAX