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8/96 Reviews Systems: Micron Millennia P200

Listing of August 1996 Reviews

Micron Builds Solid Case for System

By James Alan Miller

Not too long ago, stepping over the line into the world of high-performance computing meant shelling out some serious money-usually $4,000 or more. Today, though, your PC buck has more bang than ever, with prices for high-end systems-built around Intel's flagship 200MHz Pentium processor-hovering around the $3,000 mark.

Micron's Millennia P200 is a case in point. Not only does it offer 200MHz Pentium computing, but it also configures an array of top-notch components around the processor. The Millennia P200 boasts outstanding performance, an excellent motherboard, a superior warranty and a solid software bundle-and packs it all into a uniquely designed case that will make future upgrades a breeze.

Opening the mini-tower case is a tool-free affair. You need only loosen a single thumbscrew and apply pressure to two flexible release tabs to "pop the top" and get inside. On the inside, there's plenty of room around the nicely organized cabling. The system uses a Micronics motherboard with the new and adroitly arranged ATX form factor.

No special effort is required to access any Millennia component. The SIMM slots are located near the top of the motherboard, with 16MB of EDO RAM that is expandable to 128MB. The Pentium CPU is mounted in a ZIF socket to the right of the SIMM slots, where it is kept cool by a round heat sink that has a fan screwed directly on top. Moving down, you come to the system's expansion slots. With its three PCI and three ISA slots, as well as a shared ISA/PCI slot, the Millennia P200 offers ample room to grow. The first PCI slot is occupied by a Diamond Stealth 3D 2000 with 2MB of EDO RAM; a wavetable upgrade card that complements the Millennia's on-board Creative Labs Sound Blaster Vibra 16 sound card fills the last ISA slot.

The Millennia P200's motherboard also holds the system's 512KB of pipeline burst level 2 cache and Intel's Triton 2 PCI chipset. A fan, bolted to the back of the case below the 250-watt power supply, helps cool all of the system's high-performance components.

The system has three available external expansion bays: two 3.5-inch drive bays and one 5.25-inch bay. There is one 3.5-inch internal bay. At the back of its case, the Millennia P200 has two serial ports, mouse and keyboard ports, and sound systems ports (headphone, microphone, line in/line out jacks and a MIDI/game port). Small graphics identify each port and make setting up the system a breeze.

Included with the system is an ergonomic Microsoft Mouse 2.0 and an adequate Windows 95 keyboard. The Advent speakers supplied with my evaluation unit performed well. If you are less discriminating, you can save $99 and use the standard configuration's basic speakers. The Millennia P200 also features a Hitachi 8X CD-ROM drive.

The system's 17-inch Micron 17FGx monitor is satisfactory. It has a 0.26-millimeter dot pitch, and its 16-inch diagonal viewable area displays acceptable color. The monitor can handle a maximum resolution of 1280x1024 at a refresh rate of 60Hz, but Micron's manual recommends 1024x768 at 75/76Hz. The monitor's controls are limited, and it doesn't have an on-screen display of menus to make adjustments

and fine-tune the image. You can adjust the display for trapezoid, pincushion and tilt. The 17FGx complies with Energy Star, NUTEK/ TCO, MPR II and VESA DPMS standards.

This Micron powerhouse system's performance never sank below a "good" rating on any of the WINDOWS Magazine Wintune benchmark tests. The Millennia P200 achieved an excellent video test score of 19.33Mpixels per second, and a CPU mark of 361MIPS. The P200's hard disk performed quite well, with an uncached throughput of 3.33MB per second. This system's low-level test scores were impressive, but its application test results were absolutely awesome. The Millennia P200 sped through our Word macro in only 10.67 seconds, and made short shrift of the Excel macro, completing it in a stunning 9.33 seconds.

The Millennia's software includes Microsoft Office Professional and Bookshelf, as well as the Windows 95 Plus Pack. The system is also backed by a reassuring warranty that provides five years limited coverage on the CPU and memory, and three years on the rest of the system. Service for the Millennia P200 during the first year of the warranty is on-site.

Micron's Millennia line of desktop systems has established a tradition of quality, and this latest entry only enhances that image. Although you may be able to save a few bucks with other 200MHz machines, you're not likely to find the Millennia P200's combination of performance, excellent components, expansion capabilities and affordability.

Info File
Micron Millennia P200
Pros: Performance; components; expansion
Cons: Monitor
Micron Electronics
800-243-7615, 208-893-3434
WinMag Box Score: 4.0
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