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October 1996 Reviews TOC

10/96 Reviews Systems: Micron Home MPC P200

Multimedia Fun for the Family

By James Alan Miller

Micron's Home MPC P200 system offers all the ingredients you'd want in a bang-up home PC. This system should suit everyone in your household, no matter how diverse the range of tastes. It includes Intel's 200MHz Pentium processor, a 1.2GB Quantum hard disk, 32MB of EDO RAM (expandable to 128MB) and 256KB of pipeline-burst cache, and an eclectic array of software-all for only $3,108.

Since this is a home system, multimedia components are essential, and Micron doesn't skimp. You get a pair of good-quality Advent speakers and Creative Labs' Sound Blaster AWE32 wavetable sound board. Though not a topline sound system, it supplies good audio. Three components plug into the sound card: a Supra 288 fax modem and Hitachi's CDR-7930 8X CD-ROM drive internally, and a Microsoft SideWinder 3D Pro joystick externally in the Game/ MIDI port. The card has two SIMM slots, so you can add RAM to expand MIDI instrument maps. You also get a microphone and Microsoft Phone software.

The video subsystem is equally important to your enjoyment of multimedia. In the MPC P200's case, you receive a satisfactory monitor, Micron's 17FGx, and the Diamond Stealth 3D 2000a video card, which is an excellent performer. This MPEG and 3-D card meets the current standards for multimedia video and has a driver that lets you adjust the refresh rate at every supported resolution. I can adjust the refresh rates under 800x600 and 1024x768 up to 120Hz and 100Hz, for example.

The 17FGx monitor has a 0.26mm dot pitch, accounting for the sharp picture in an otherwise limited performer. Its 16-inch viewable area is a good size for a 17-inch monitor. There is a decent, but unspectacular, range of controls on the monitor itself; I'd prefer on-screen adjustments. Controls include brightness, contrast, degauss, a reset button, trapezoid, pincushion and tilt, as well as position and size.

The Home MPC P200's performance matches that of most other 200MHz Pentiums. Under WINDOWS Magazine's Wintune 95 benchmarks, it earned a good uncached score of 3.47MB per second for the hard disk and an excellent mark of 362MIPS for the CPU. In our application macros, it attained marks of 11.67 seconds for Word and 10.33 for Excel. Though these scores burn rubber, they are a little off from the best P200s.

You won't need any tools to enter the mini-tower case-just turn the thumbscrew a few times, depress a couple of tabs and slide the cover off. Free bays include an external 5.25-inch, two external 3.5-inch and an internal 3.5 inch. Two fans cool the system and the CPU. One fan sits directly on top of the processor's heat sink, and the other is attached to the rear of the case. You get two free PCI slots and an empty shared ISA/PCI slot. The Intel ATX form-factor motherboard incorporates the latest PCI chipset, the 430HX. You can easily access the four SIMM sockets, as the interior is quite roomy with the cables folded nicely to the side.

Software includes Microsoft Office Professional, Works, Money, Cinemania 96, Music Central 96, Publisher, Encarta 96 World Atlas, Encarta 96 Encyclopedia, Wine Guide, Arcade, Entertainment Pak and Scenes Sports Extremes Collection, among other things.

By most standards an excellent performer, this PC stands out because Micron supplies a turnkey unit that is practical and fun.

Info File
Micron Home MPC P200
Pros: Software bundle; expansion
Cons: Monitor
Platforms: Windows 95
Micron Electronics
800-243-7615, 208-893-3434
WinMag Box Score: 4.0

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