[ Go to January 1997 Table of Contents ]

WinLab Reviews
Recommended List
Desktop Systems

Every month, we test, evaluate and compare hundreds of products. Here are the best of the best: the WINDOWS Magazine Recommended List, the ultimate buying guide.

Since you want to know what we recommend now, not six months ago, we update the list every month with brand-new hardware and software. Products stay on the list for as long as they remain the best in their categories.

The list tells you why we think each product is the best of its kind and for what type of application it's best suited. It also includes pricing, and a phone number and circle number for requesting more information from the vendor.

If you want to know what products we'd buy or recommend to a friend, check out these six pages. If it's on the list, you know you can buy it with confidence!

DESKTOP SYSTEMS

200MHz Pentium Pro

Micron Millennia Pro2 400 Plus

800-730-0931

Two CPUs produce the fastest performance for apps that can use them properly. (12/96)

$5,547

Two 200MHz Pentium Pros, 64MB RAM, 512KB pipeline-burst cache, 2GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

Micron Millennia Pro Plus

800-730-0931

Blazing speed and components like a SCSI hard drive and a Jaz drive make this our pick. (10/96)

$5,147

200MHz Pentium Pro, 64MB EDO RAM, 512KB pipeline-burst cache, 2GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

Dell OptiPlex GXPro

800-388-8542

Mind-boggling power today with the growth potential to meet tomorrow's needs. (7/96)

$3,702

200MHz Pentium Pro, 32MB EDO RAM, 256KB on-chip cache, 2GB IDE HD, 4X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

Compaq Deskpro 6000/6200

800-345-1518

The latest design available for a high-end corporate desktop. (12/96)

$3,275

200MHz Pentium Pro, 32MB RAM, 2.15GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, no monitor

AST Bravo MS-T 6200

800-876-4278

One of the fastest Pentium Pro machines you can get at this price. (11/96)

$3,233

200MHz Pentium Pro, 32MB EDO RAM, 256KB on-chip cache, 2.5GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 15" monitor

HP Vectra VA 6/200 MT

415-857-1501

One of the best NT Workstation choices. (11/96)

$3,125

200MHz Pentium Pro, 32MB EDO RAM, 256KB level 2 cache, 1.28GB HD, 8X CD-ROM

Pionex Elite Pentium Pro

908-560-3610

A great choice for SOHO users seeking high performance at a low price. (12/96)

$2,999

200MHz Pentium Pro, 32MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 2.5GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

Dell Dimension XPS Pro200n

800-388-8542

The most powerful sub-$3,000 system ever; its Pentium Pro CPU is a steal at this price. (11/96)

$2,979

200MHz Pentium Pro, 32MB EDO RAM, 256KB on-chip cache, 2GB SCSI HD, 8X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

200MHz Pentium (or equivalent)

IBM PC 350

800-426-2968

A top performer with IBM's Wake-on-LAN capability. (12/96)

$4,143

200MHz Pentium, 32MB RAM, 512KB pipeline-burst cache, 3.2GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

Dell OptiPlex GXi

800-388-8542

One of the best office PCs, offering serviceability, manageability, reliability and performance. (12/96)

$3,676

200MHz Pentium, 32MB EDO RAM, 512KB cache, 2.1GB HD, 17" monitor

HP Pavilion 7285

810-357-1219

Pentium 200 performance and high-end features in a tower case. (1/97)

$2,999

200MHz Pentium, 32MB RAM, 256KB cache, 3.1GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, no monitor.

Toshiba Infinia 7200

800-334-3445

The best of the new breed of consumer "computertainment" systems. (1/97)

$2,799

200MHz Pentium, 32MB RAM, 3GB HD, 8X CD-ROM drive, no monitor

Dell OptiPlex Gs+

800-388-8542

A DMI-compatible Pentium system, aimed at the office and with room to grow. (12/96)

$2,749

200MHz Pentium, 32MB EDO RAM, 512KB cache, 2.1GB HD, 17" monitor

Compaq Deskpro 5200/1080

800-345-1518

A top-performing system for the office combining serviceability and features. (11/96)

$2,599

200MHz Pentium, 32MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1.0GB HD

Dell Dimension P200v

800-388-8542

A Pentium under $2,000, with top performance and scads of extra-cost options. (11/96)

$1,999

200MHz Pentium, 16MB SDRAM, 256KB pipeline-burst cache, 1.6GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 15" Trinitron monitor

Cyrix 6x86-P200

214-968-8387

Performance like a Pentium 200's, loaded with all the features on your wish list. (9/96)

$3,489

200MHz 6x86, 32MB EDO RAM, 256KB pipeline-burst cache, 4GB SCSI HD, 8X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor.

Micro Express 686/P200+

714-852-1400

An unbeatable price for top performance, with a Cyrix chip that runs like a Pentium. (10/96)

$2,299

200MHz 6x86, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 2GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

133MHz-180MHz

Gateway 2000 G6-180 FPC

800-846-2000

Pro power despite the Windows 95 OS (rather than NT); great for SOHO users. (12/96)

$2,424

180MHz Pentium Pro, 32MB EDO RAM, 256KB on-chip cache, 2.5GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

Dell OptiPlex GXMT 5166

800-388-8542

A solid performer for the office users who don't need need 200MHz speed. (6/96)

$3,394

166MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 512KB cache, 1.6GB HD, 4X CD-ROM, 17" monitor.

Robotech Cobra XLT/2 P166

801-565-0645

Excellent documentation, easy to upgrade and plenty of expansion room. (3/96)

$2,299

166MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB pipeline-burst cache, 1.2GB HD, 6X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

AST Advantage 9310

800-876-4278

Scanner, 33.6Kbps telephony modem and support software; good for a home office. (12/96)

$2,199

166MHz Pentium, 24MB EDO RAM, 2.5GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, no monitor

Micro Express PCI/166

714-852-1400

A speedy system at a low price for those who don't need an extensive software bundle. (7/96)

$1,699

166MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 512KB cache, 1.2GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 15" monitor

Micro Express 686/P166+

714-852-1400

Matches or beats a Pentium 166 on our macro tests; high performance at a low price. (7/96)

$1,599

166MHz Cyrix 6x86, 16MB RAM, 512KB cache, 1.2GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 15" monitor

Quantex QP5/150 SM-

800-632-5022

An awe-inspiring feature set and an unintimidating price for multimedia computing. (5/96)

$2,249

150MHz Pentium, 24MB EDO RAM, 512KB pipeline-burst cache, 2.5GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

Micron P150 Millennia

800-730-0931

Super performance for a machine at this price. (2/96)

$1,649

150MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 512KB cache, 1.6GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 15" monitor

Compaq Deskpro XL 5133

800-345-1518

One of the best systems for the office, with built-in fast SCSI-2, Ethernet and more. (3/96)

$3,998

133MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HD, 4X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

Tangent MediaGem 5133/95

800-800-5550

This system is excellent for multimedia applications. (4/96)

$1,795

133MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 512KB secondary cache, 1.2GB HD, 6X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

Gateway 2000 P5-133 Family PC

800-846-2000

An outstanding home system: performance, bundled software, and room to grow. (2/96)

$1,774

133MHz Pentium, 16MB SDRAM, 256KB pipeline-burst cache, 2.5GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

Compaq Deskpro 4000/5133

800-345-1518 Circle #703

A solid office system if you don't require top speed. (12/96)

$1,485

133MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, no monitor

120 MHz and lower

Quantex QP5/120 SM-

800-632-5022

A top choice in systems for performance and reliability at a good price. (2/96)

$1,999

120MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 512KB pipeline-burst cache, 2GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

Gateway 2000 P5-120

800-846-2000

A bare-bones system-performance without the frills should please purists. (2/96)

$1,554

120MHz Pentium, 16MB SDRAM, 256KB pipeline-burst cache, 1GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 15" monitor

Quantex QP5/100 M-

800-632-5022

Good performance and capability; for those who already have business software. (2/96)

$1,699

100MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 512KB cache, 1.6GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 15" monitor

Dell Dimension P100t

800-388-8542

Admirable capabilities at a bargain price. (2/96)

$1,599

100MHz Pentium, 8MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1.08GB HD, 4X CD-ROM, 17" monitor

AMS InfoGOLD P100

408-945-2296

Our top pick in December '95, and still a smart pick for dollar-conscious consumers. (12/95)

$1,299

100MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB pipeline-burst cache, 1.7GB HD, 8X CD-ROM, 15" monitor

Notebook Computers

133MHz-150MHz

Dell Latitude XPi CD P150ST

800-388-8542

A super performer with the best keyboard we have tested. (12/96)

$4,599

150MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 2.0GB HD, 12.1" display, 2.5" by 11.1" by 9.2", 7.3 lbs.

NEC Versa 6030H

800-456-9372

One of the brightest 12.1-inch screens around, and relatively light weight. (7/96)

$4,999

133MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1.35GB HD, 6X CD-ROM, 12.1" display, 2.1" by 11.7" by 9.5", 6.9 lbs.

Austin Edge Duet

512-339-3500

The best fully NT-compatible multimedia-notebook-and-dock combo available. (1/97)

$4,849

133MHz Pentium, 32MB RAM, 1.3GB HD, 6X CD-ROM, 11.3" display, TK" by TK" by TK", 6.75 lbs.

HP OmniBook 800CT

800-443-1254

One of the lightest high-performance notebooks, with PCI and excellent video speed. (12/96)

$4,370

133MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 1.44GB HD, 10.4" display, 1.57" by 11.12" by 7.27", 3.75 lbs.

Dell Latitude LM P133ST

800-388-8542

Among the fastest 133s, with one of the largest screens and the best touchpad we've used. (10/96)

$3,299

133MHz Pentium, 40MB RAM, 256KB cache, 810MB HD, 12.1" display, 1.9" by 11.8" by 8.9", 7 lbs.

120 MHz

Hitachi M-120T

800-555-6820

One of the best for office/road, with built-in LAN, 28.8Kbps modem and infrared transceiver. (8/96)

$4,499

120MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 1GB HD, 11.8" active-matrix screen, 2.2" by 12.0" by 9.0", 7.3 lbs.

IBM ThinkPad 560

800-772-2227

Best for the frequent flyer, a featherweight with sizzling performance. (7/96)

$3,749

120MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 810MB HD, 12.1" active-matrix display, 1.2" by 11.0" by 8.5", 4.2 lbs.

WinBook XP5/120MHz

800-468-3590

Best value for a notebook with this performance and user-friendly design. (6/96)

$2,699

120MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 810MB HD, 10.4" display, 2.0" by 11.7" by 8.7", 6.1 lbs.

UNDER 120MHz

Toshiba Satellite Pro 420CDT

800-999-4273

Best 100MHz multimedia notebook, with hardware-based MPEG and accelerated graphics. (7/96)

$2,999

100MHz Pentium, 8MB EDO RAM, 1.26GB HD, 6X CD-ROM, 11.3" display, 2.2" by 11.8" by 9.3", 7.4 lbs.

Canon NoteJet IIIcx

800-848-4123

The most versatile notebook, including a Pentium processor and an ink jet printer/scanner. (4/96)

$4,999

90MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 810MB HD, printer/scanner, 11.8" display, 3.25" by 14" by 12", 10 lbs

Copyright 1997 CMP Media Inc.


(From Windows Magazine, January 1997, page 185.)