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Review: Top 15 office PCs

PC World

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. INFOCENTER
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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

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

  1. 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.
  2. ABS Conquest VP: Geared for the video editor, the Conquest VP is powerful and inexpensive, although the included monitor was disappointing.
  3. 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.
  4. Sys TaskMaster 1000T: A basic small office system, the TaskMaster 1000T couples powerful performance with a good LCD monitor at an affordable price.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.


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