Review: Top 15 office PCs
By the PC World staff
(IDG) -- This month, one of the first Athlon XP 1900+ systems PC World has tested makes the Top 15.
A good overall performer and number six on the power chart, the Systemax Ascent-SA15 features Windows XP Professional and a 60GB hard disk. The other newcomer to the power chart is the Pogo Linux Pogo Altura Workstation, at number four. This system, which achieved a PC WorldBench 4 score of 118, includes a 1.53-GHz Athlon XP 1800+ processor, 512MB of SDRAM, and a 120GB hard disk.
The top ranks of both charts remain unchanged from last month. On the power side, the Polywell Poly 815TS-1260, which uses a 1.26-GHz Intel Pentium III CPU for servers, takes the top spot -- and the Best Buy award -- for the third month in a row. In the value rankings, the Micro Express MicroFlex 1200C, which uses a 1.2-GHz Athlon processor, once again gets the nod for Best Buy.
Three new systems debut on the value chart. At number four is the Sys Taskmaster 1000T; our $1342 test system came with a 1-GHz Athlon CPU and a sharp 15-inch LCD monitor. The fifth-place IBM NetVista A22p, based on a 1.6-GHz Pentium 4 processor, couples average performance with ample security and manageability features. Meanwhile, the $899 1.7-GHz Pentium 4-based Systemax Venture-U17, in sixth, is the least-expensive system on the chart.
Five other systems tested this month didn't make the cut: the Dell OptiPlex GX240, the Hewlett-Packard E-pc 40, the Hewlett-Packard Vectra VL800, the Polywell Poly 880XP-1900, and the Premio Aries 845M.
Top 7 power PCs for the office
- Polywell Poly 815TS-1260: For users in small to medium-size businesses looking for high-powered performance without heavy power consumption, the Poly 815TS-1260 should fit the bill. However, we recommend an upgrade to another monitor, such as the ViewSonic GS790 or the ViewSonic PF790 (Polywell carries both).
- Micro Express MicroFlex 18A: This system offers excellent performance for a great price of $1199, though the low cost reflects the use of some low- to medium-grade components. Our only major gripe is with the display; you can substitute a better monitor at additional cost.
- Sys Performance 1800+: With plenty of power and an attractive flat-panel monitor, the Sys Performance 1800+ will appeal to a small-office user looking for a combination of speed and design.
- Pogo Linux Pogo Altura Workstation: This speedy, well-rounded, reasonably priced system is a good choice for people who want to use Linux or who would like to try the OS out without having to install it on their own.
- MicronPC Millennia Max XS: A powerful machine with an excellent monitor, the Millennia Max XS ships with some worthy extras that help it overcome its minor design flaws.
- Systemax Ascent-SA15: This inexpensive PC will do the job for any small-office user, but we recommend skipping the Systemax display and finding a better one on your own.
- HP Vectra VL420: The well-designed case, excellent flat-panel display, and suite of management tools will suit medium-size or large businesses that need a versatile, easy-to-manage system.
Top 8 value PCs for the office
- Micro Express MicroFlex 1200C: Budget-minded buyers looking for top speed might well consider the 1200C. However, we recommend choosing a better display (Micro Express offers other 17-inch and 19-inch options), even though doing so will increase the package price.
- ABS Conquest VP: Geared for the video editor, the Conquest VP is powerful and inexpensive, although the included monitor was disappointing.
- Tangent Valera PC: Very fast and quite reasonably priced, the Tangent Valera would make an excellent small-office system with lots of room for expansion.
- Sys TaskMaster 1000T: A basic small office system, the TaskMaster 1000T couples powerful performance with a good LCD monitor at an affordable price.
- IBM NetVista A22p: For $1108, this NetVista offers a nice combination of value, network management features, and attractive design. It would suit medium to large businesses looking to add systems from a reputable vendor at a reasonable price. Going with the small, lackluster E54 monitor is probably unwise, though.
- Systemax Venture-U17: The Venture-U17's rock-bottom price makes it a good choice for buyers on tight budgets. To get a PC with better performance, you'd have to spend at least $1100.
- Compaq Evo D500: Its performance is average, but the D500's low price, small size, and security and manageability features point to its use as a mainstream workstation in large companies.
- Gateway E-3600: Although the E-3600 offers only adequate performance and storage, it is an excellently designed machine with plenty of features for network administrators, including management software and chassis-intrusion detection.