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-- by John M. Cummings
The new Tiger Gx86 112MHz computer is one of the smallest desktops we've ever seen, yet its size is deceptive: It's a capable system that's a lot of fun to use.
The Tiger uses a Cyrix MediaGX processor (which combines video, sound and communications functions) rather than an Intel chip. Since you can use your TV screen as a monitor, the Tiger is ideal for home use. But its small-office appeal should not be overlooked: It provides small businesses an inexpensive alternative to the $2,000 PC. Measuring 12 by 3.5 by 14 inches, the Tiger comes with 16MB of RAM, a 1.3GB (nominal) hard drive, a 4X CD-ROM drive, a 33.6Mb-per-second fax modem, and one parallel and three serial ports. There are two PCI and two ISA expansion slots, and a 200-watt power supply. The Gx86 comes preloaded with Windows 95 and Corel WordPerfect Suite 8 software.
On our Wintune benchmarks, the Tiger scored 150MIPS, 13Mpixel-per-second video throughput and 15MBps cached-disk throughput. Its marks on our new macros were 223 seconds for Word and 455 seconds for Excel. These results (run at a color depth of 16 bits) are slow, but backing off to a color depth of 8 bits should result in better performance.
While not the best and brightest new system on the market, Tiger's Gx86 is a well-constructed, reasonable performer that will meet many users' needs. Its bargain price makes it an excellent choice for the first-time system purchaser. Both the Tiger Gx86 and the HP Vectra 500 (see review in this issue) are inexpensive new systems. Although the Vectra outperformed the Gx86, neither computer is a speed demon; the Vectra's lack of a CD-ROM drive makes the Gx86 the more desirable system.