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November 1996 Reviews TOC

11/96 Reviews SYS: Compaq Deskpro 2000 Model 5200/1080

Too Good to Toss

By Jonathan Blackwood

What exactly do you do with an old Compaq Deskpro? The darn things are so tough and reliable that the world is now full of six- and seven-year-old obsolete Deskpros still running with their 286 processors and 40MB hard drives. Compaq's new Deskpro 2000, with its flawless, granite-like construction, seems destined to follow the company tradition.

This new entry-level Deskpro is certain to wend its way onto thousands of the world's corporate desktops. And for good reason: Compaq, the world's number-one manufacturer of PCs, was bred for the corporate world and knows the market well. Even this entry-level model includes Intelligent Manageability features that are guaranteed to endear it to MIS legions everywhere. It's DMI (desktop management interface) compliant and has built-in inventory management, fault management, security management and support software management.

This means that an administrator can inventory equipment, be alerted to equipment failures-even check the status of software licenses-without ever leaving his desk. With all these corporate-friendly features, it's a wonder Compaq does not include built-in networking.

The Model 5200/1080 I tested had a standard configuration that included a 200MHz Pentium, 32MB of EDO RAM (expandable to 128MB), 256KB of level 2 cache, Intel's 430HX chipset and a 1GB Quantum hard drive; it had no CD-ROM drive. Also included were a Windows 95 keyboard, a Compaq mouse and an integrated Cirrus Logic 5436 64-bit PCI video with 2MB of EDO RAM. There are two externally accessible 5.25-inch drive bays and one internal, none of which were occupied in my test unit. Both of the 3.5-inch bays (one internal, one external) were occupied, by the hard drive and floppy drive, respectively. The two PCI, two ISA and one shared PCI/ISA slots were all free, since the video is integrated on the motherboard.

The system had four SIMM slots, two of which were occupied. Its internal space was clean and uncluttered, since cabling was kept to a minimum. The heat sink on the CPU is about the size of a small Ford-in a previous incarnation it may have tracked satellites. With its airy interior, this 200MHz Pentium should stay nice and cool inside.

I'm normally not a fan of slimline desktop cases, since their design saves space where it doesn't matter-in height rather than footprint. But the Deskpro 2000 may convert me, with its five free slots and two extra bays (after allowing for the installation of a CD-ROM drive). The front of the case shows some new-found styling flair, also.

Compaq's policy of not including a monitor allows corporate administrators to select their own displays, and the company has been selling award-winning Compaq monitors for years. I was fortunate to test this system with the company's excellent 17-inch V70 model (reviewed in our October issue).

Performance is quite good, if not earth shattering. Reliability and manageability, after all, count more in this market than raw performance. Our WINDOWS Magazine Wintune benchmarks yielded an average of 365MIPS (which is normal for a 200MHz Pentium), 13.67Mpixels per second video throughput (good, though not great), and an uncached disk throughput score of 3.57MB per second (excellent). Average times to execute our Word and Excel macros were 12.33 and 10.33 seconds, respectively. This compares with 14.33 and 8.33 seconds, respectively, for the Gateway 2000 P5-200XL desktop reviewed in our September issue. Since our Word macro is a more disk-intensive operation, and our Excel macro is a more video-intensive procedure, one would expect that the Gateway 2000 system has higher video throughput and lower disk throughput. As it turns out, that is exactly the case.With this system's quality and reliability, I can envision a tribal chieftain in Papua New Guinea happily inventorying his computer resale business on his secondhand Deskpro 2000 in the year 2010.

-- Info File --
Compaq Deskpro 2000 Model 5200/1080
$2,599 (without monitor or CD-ROM drive)
Pros: Performance; construction; serviceability; Intelligent Manageability features
Cons: Limited expandability; no CD-ROM drive
Platforms: 3x, 95, NT
Compaq Computer Corp.
WinMag Box Score 4.0

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