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8/96 Reviews Systems: Acma zPower 166

Listing of August 1996 Reviews

Card Carrying Computer

By James E. Powell

ACMA is intent upon making its name known among systems vendors. The company is taking on the big boys with its high-quality, well-designed systems.

The ACMA zPower 166's tower case holds excellent components, such as its Seagate 2GB EIDE hard disk, Toshiba 6X CD-ROM drive and half-height PCMCIA card reader. The system also has 512KB of pipeline burst cache, 16MB of EDO RAM, a Diamond Stealth 64 video card with 4MB of VRAM and a U.S. Robotics 28.8Kbps Sport-ster fax modem. A pair of Altec Lansing ACS-5 powered speakers and a microphone round out the system's on-board Sound Blaster 16-bit sound system. ACMA also includes a Microsoft mouse and its own 104-key Windows 95 keyboard.

ACMA's generous software bundle includes Windows 95, Microsoft Office 95, Quicken 5 Trial Edition and the QuickLink communications program.

The ACMA zPower 166's two ISA slots are used by the modem and card reader interface. The graphics card occupies one of the four PCI slots, and a shared ISA/PCI slot is unoccupied. The system has three internal half-height bays and an external half-height (used by the TEAC floppy drive) and six external full-height bays (two filled by the CD drive and the card reader).

On our Wintune tests, the ACMA zPower 166 scored 303MIPS on the CPU test, and 3.97MB per second for uncached disk throughput. Like its disk score, the system's video score of 15.67 Mpixels per second was quite good. On our application tests, the system completed the Word macro in 13.33 seconds and the Excel macro in 10.33 seconds.

The Plug-and-Play MAG InnoVision DX1795 monitor that comes with the system has a tight 0.26-millimeter dot pitch and offers a maximum resolution of 1280x1024. The monitor has a 16.1-inch diagonal viewing area, digital controls, on-screen display, and power management and low-radiation standard compliance.

I've always been impressed with ACMA's quality. Inside this unit's case is plenty of room for additional peripherals. The system's construction is solid, components are top-of-the-line and supporting documentation combines the user guides from the individual components, not some abbreviated hodgepodge. The unit's case design makes it easy to insert cards without removing the entire cover.

Two things about this system were disappointing: It lacks 32-bit CD-ROM drivers and it could use additional ISA slots.

High-quality parts, good performance, solid construction and extras like the card reader add up to a system that should sit at the top of your shopping list.

Info File
ACMA zPower 166
Pros: Components; performance
Cons: Limited ISA slots
ACMA Computers
800-786-6888, 510-623-1212
WinMag Box Score: 4.0
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