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-- by Hailey Lynne McKeefry
If most kings have only one kingdom, I feel very rich indeed: I have two Kingdoms sitting right on my desk. These two systems combine two of the latest processors (a 166MHz Cyrix 6x86 and a 200MHz Pentium) with name-brand components that will please even the pickiest users.
At first glance, both PCs have a lot in common, providing the standard equipment you would expect from a mainline computer system. Both have tower cases and come with a 2.5GB hard drive, a 104-key ergonomic keyboard, a PS/2 mouse and a Lite-On 12-speed CD-ROM drive. Both keyboards have a wrist rest, which was disappointingly flimsy. The 200MHz system comes with a Logitech two-button mouse, which I liked a lot. The 166MHz system ships with a Mitsumi mouse that's a little less robust.
Especially pleasing is the Princeton Ultra 50 15-inch monitor. It provides excellent clear and crisp color with a 13.8-inch diagonal viewable area and a 0.28mm dot pitch. The on-screen display makes controlling the picture's every facet a breeze. An added bonus is each system's TrippLite surge suppressor, which is probably better than the one offered at your local computer warehouse. In addition to safeguarding the system's power lines, the surge suppressors have phone jacks that prevent a marauding current from frying the modem.
Each computer comes with a small software library that includes Body Works 5.0 and Time Almanac '96. The P166 adds Microsoft Works and Money, and Infopedia, while the P200 also comes with Grolier's Encyclopedia and Lotus SmartSuite. If you're looking for a huge number of titles, these systems aren't for you. However, their prices (less than $1,600 for the 166MHz Pentium and just under $2,000 for the 200MHz Pentium) are low enough that you can probably afford to go out and buy exactly the software you want.
Both systems provide good multimedia features, including a 2MB video card, a set of speakers and a microphone. The P166's sound system comprises 7-watt Symphony 2000 stereo speakers and a 16-bit 3-D sound card, while the P200 comes with 18W speakers and a Sound Blaster 16-bit sound card. Oddly, the slower system included a state-of-the-art 33.6Kbps fax/voice/speakerphone modem, while the P200 had none.
These systems are easily upgradable and provide ample room for additional drives or cards. The screwless case allows you to upgrade by simply pulling off the front cover and then sliding off the rest of the case. Once open, the slots are readily available and easily accessible. Three empty bays for additional drives are underneath the CD-ROM drive. In addition, there are three ISA slots and five PCI slots. You can expand both the P200 system's 16MB of RAM and the P166 system's 32MB of RAM to 128MB.
The Kingdom P166 proved to be an average system in almost every way when I put it through its paces using WINDOWS Magazine's Wintune testing suite and Microsoft Word 7.0 and Excel 7.0 macros. It earned an average score of 258MIPS on our Wintune raw benchmarks, a slightly lower-than-average 3.33MB-per-second uncached disk score and a fair score of 15Mpixels per second on the video tests. It achieved a good score of 13 seconds on the Word macro and a slow score of 31 seconds on the Excel.
Overall, I was somewhat disappointed by the Kingdom P200's test scores. The system earned a typical 200MHz Pentium score of 362MIPS. Its uncached disk performance, at 1.7MBps, was lukewarm at best, when compared to other systems tested by WINDOWS Magazine in recent months. On the Excel 7.0 macro the unit scored a very slow 26 seconds, while performing at an average 13.67 seconds on the Word 7.0 macro.
The Kingdom P166 is a solid system with all the bells and whistles you need to get everyday work done. The components are close enough to technology's bleeding edge that the PC won't be outmoded in a few weeks. At under $2,000, the Kingdom P200 will appeal to those who are price conscious or want to add their own modem and memory later. But these systems, because of their average performance, do not replace competing systems on our Recommended List-the Micro Express PCI/166 in the case of the P166, and the Dell Dimension P200v in the case of the P200.
Copyright (c) 1997 CMP Media Inc.