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-- by Jim Forbes
It's now possible to buy an Internet-ready Pentium-class PCI machine that's loaded with features for just over $1,000. Everex Systems, a name you might remember from the boom days of corporate computing, has introduced the Explora line of PCs to tap the potentially huge market for inexpensive, basic Windows 95 computers.
The Explora 995, the first of this family, is a mini-tower PC with 16MB of system memory, a 1GB hard drive and a 4X CD-ROM drive. The Explora provides a keyboard, a mouse, a pair of small speakers and a video display socketed with 1MB of memory. A 14-inch monitor and a 14.4Kb per second internal fax modem are included as well.
This PC comes with an impressive software bundle.
The Explora incorporates a 100MHz Pentium-compatible processor designed and built by Advanced Micro Devices. I tested this unit with several applications, and had no compatibility problems.
I found the Explora's performance surprisingly good. Its 100MHz processor clocked out at 108MHz, drumming up a speedy 204MIPs. Its 1GB hard disk subsystem had a three-pass average throughput of 2.86MB per second, and its video system had an average throughput of 13Mpixels per second. Our 32-bit application test results were equally impressive. The Explora 995 took 14 seconds to complete our Excel macro and 19.33 seconds to complete our Word macro. That performance was much better than I expected from a $1,000 machine.
Already a reasonable entry-level choice, the Explora line will be worth considering as it continues to mature.
Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.