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-- by Deborah K. Wong
Call me greedy, but if I were spending my money on a desktop system, I wouldn't want anything less than the Quantex QP6/200 WS-4. For $3,299, you get Intel's 200MHz Pentium Pro and 440FX chipset, 64MB of EDO RAM, 256KB of level 2 cache, a Seagate 4.3GB SCSI hard disk, a Panasonic PD/CD-ROM drive and 4MB of WRAM on a Matrox Millennium video card. About the only thing missing is a network card.
You would think Quantex might skimp on power by including all these attractive features. But when tested with WINDOWS Magazine's Wintune benchmarks, the system's CPU yielded a blazing 416MIPS, and its hard disk averaged a 2.3MB-per-second throughput. Video throughput averaged an incredible 44Mpixels per second. The Word and Excel macros executed in impressive times of 6.33 and 4.33 seconds, respectively, due in part to the preloaded NT 4.0.
Removing three screws from the mini-tower case reveals a roomy, well-designed interior. There are three PCI slots, three ISA slots and one shared PCI/ISA slot. The video card and a 68-pin, 16-bit Adaptec PCI Wide AHA-2940W SCSI controller occupy the PCI slots. SCSI multithreading capabilities are useful for increased performance under Windows NT, and a SCSI host adapter's speed and flexibility are great companions for the Panasonic PD/CD-ROM drive. Although the CD-ROM is only 4X, this dual-purpose unit offers expandable storage with rewritable optical disks that can be inserted for data storage and retrieval or backups. It comes with one 650MB rewritable cartridge and adds great value to the system.
The system has five external bays (four 5.25-inch and one 3.5-inch); one 5.25-inch bay contains the PD/CD-ROM drive; the 3.5-inch bay holds the floppy drive. The hard disk occupies one of three 3.5-inch internal bays, leaving plenty of room for expansion.
A 17-inch MAG InnoVision DX700T monitor with a 0.25mm aperture grille was provided. Tested with Sonera Technologies' DisplayMate suite, the monitor showed exuberant color scales and commendable screen regulation. However, it lacked color intensity and video bandwidth, and showed some geometric distortion.
By the time you read this, Quantex will offer an Ensoniq Vivo 90 wavetable sound card with Altec Lansing speakers and a subwoofer, a Motorola BitSurfr Pro ISDN terminal adapter and a 33.6Kbps data/fax/voice/speakerphone modem as options.
The QP6/200 certainly earns a spot on our WINDOWS Magazine Recommended List. Compared to the AST Bravo MS-T 6200 (see Reviews, November 1996), the QP6/200 WS-4 offers better performance, SCSI, a PD/CD drive, more expansion room and a larger monitor, all for just a few extra dollars. Need I say more?