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9/96 Reviews Systems: AMS InfoGold P6200 NT

Listing of September 1996 Reviews

Pro System Has Appetite for High-End Apps

By James Alan Miller

American MultiSystems could have named its InfoGold P6200 the Info Go-getter. With Intel's 200MHz Pentium Pro processor at its heart, complemented by 256KB of internal cache and Windows NT as its operating system, the InfoGold can take almost anything you can throw at it-it'll rip through even the most compute-intensive processes in record time.

InfoGold lets the powerful processor work with some equally high-performance components. The system's configuration includes Adaptec's 2940Wide SCSI card, which can handle up to 14 devices. Hooked into the Adaptec controller is Quantum's capacious 2.1-gigabyte Atlas 9ms Wide SCSI-2 hard disk.

The InfoGold's tower design affords plenty of room for expansion. Unfortunately, the unit I reviewed didn't take advantage of the space, having only one free internal 3.5-inch drive bay. But American MultiSystems said that by the time you read this, the system will have a new configuration. It will offer two available internal bays and an optional rack that tucks under the system's massive 300-watt power supply to provide two more bays.

The system's case is sturdy and steady enough to stand on its own, but four snap-in feet are included to ensure stability. To remove the case's shell, you'll need a screwdriver, as the InfoGold lacks the more convenient thumbscrew arrangement found on many other systems. Once inside, you'll find that the external drive expansion is fairly generous, as befits the tower design. The case has three 5.25-inch bays, one housing a Toshiba 6.7X SCSI CD-ROM drive, and two 3.5-inch bays, one filled by the floppy drive.

Three fans cool the Pentium Pro and other components. One fan snaps into place near a ventilation grid at the front of the case, and a second is mounted on the power supply. The third fan sits atop a heat sink mounted above the CPU, which sits in a ZIF socket.

The system uses an Intel motherboard with a small ATX design-the key contributor to the system's clutter-free internal roominess. Intel's new Natoma PCI chipset is socketed to the ATX motherboard. The system ships with more than ample RAM-two 32MB modules occupy two SIMM slots for a total of 64MB of EDO RAM. If you run into applications that push this hefty RAM to its limits, you can expand system memory up to 256MB.

The InfoGold has three PCI and four ISA slots, along with one shared PCI/ISA slot. Two of the PCI slots are filled, one with the Adaptec SCSI card and the other with a Matrox Millennia 3-D video controller that comes with a generous 4MB of WRAM. The system uses a software MPEG solution, which is fine for such a fast computer.A Creative Labs 16 sound card sits in one of the ISA slots and, while it represents a de facto PC audio standard, a wavetable solution would better complement the system's other high-performance components. A pair of Sony speakers completes the system's offerings.

American MultiSystems includes a 17-inch ArtMedia monitor with the system. Built and OEMed by Sony, this monitor is equivalent to Sony's own Trinitron 17SE2 model. With its 0.25-millimeter dot pitch, the monitor uses Trinitron technology to provide a good picture and adequate controls, including the standard adjustments for horizontal and vertical position and size, brightness and contrast, as well as tilt, pincushion and convergence. You can choose from three color temperatures: 9300K, 6500K and 5000K. The monitor lacks an on-screen menu system, but adjusting settings is still fairly simple. The monitor has a 16-inch diagonal viewable area, and a maximum resolution of 1280x1024, with horizontal and vertical scanning frequencies of 29kHz to 82kHz and 50Hz to 150Hz, respectively. It complies with the strict Swedish MPRII emission standards, a must for European use.

The InfoGold's front panel has a large, soft-touch power button, which is easy to distinguish from the rectangular reset button, located below. Between the two buttons are three LED status indicators for power, hard disk activity and operating mode. At the rear of the case are two PS/2 ports, a port for the SCSI card, and serial and parallel ports.

The input side of the InfoGold is well equipped with a large keyboard that includes Windows 95 keys and an ergonomically designed Microsoft Mouse 2.0.

The system blazed through the WINDOWS Magazine Wintune benchmarks, earning a mark of 416MIPS on the CPU test. The InfoGold also performed well on the video test, averaging an impressive 49.67Mpixels per second. The system made short shrift of our application macro tests, rocketing through the Word macro in 7.33 seconds and completing the Excel macro in 4.33 seconds.

The InfoGold P6200 offers state-of-the-art performance and generally high-quality components at an eye-catching price.

--Info File--
AMS InfoGold P6200 NT
Pros: Performance; SCSI controller
Cons: Expansion bays
American MultiSystems
800-888-6615, 408-945-2296
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

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