by November 7, 2000 0 comments

The e-Vectra from HP is a mini PC aimed primarily at corporates. It’s about 1/5 the size of a conventional desktop PC and is only 3.5″ thick. You can lay it flat or keep it upright on a small plastic stand that comes with it. The e-Vectra has an external power supply similar to that in laptops, so it saves the space of an internal SMPS. The main computer is divided into two parts. One holds the bulk of the system including the motherboard, processor, RAM, etc. The other half contains the hard drive. A thin metal sheet separates both these. The hard drive can easily be taken out by simply sliding the cover, but you can’t access the other components. 

Since the eVectra has such a compact design, it’s not meant to be upgradable. So there are no PCI, ISA or AGP slots for any further expansion. One thing we did miss in it though was a floppy drive. Also it doesn’t have any extra bays to add devices like a DVD or a CD-Writer. 

HP e-Vectra Mini PC. 

Features: PIII/733; 128 MB RAM; built-in LAN, sound and video.
Pros: Good performance; compact; good hardware security.
Cons: No floppy drive and extra bays to attach drives. 
Source: Hewlett-Packard India Chandiwala Estate
Maa Anandmai Marg
Kalkaji
New Delhi 110019. 
Tel: 11-6826000 Fax: 6826059 E-mail: subin_joseph@hp.com 

The model we got for review had a PIII/733 MHz processor with 128 MB SDRAM and came pre-installed with Windows 2000 Professional. It uses an Intel 810e chipset motherboard, and comes with onboard sound, graphics, and network connectivity. Graphics functionality has 4 MB VRAM. Sound is produced by a Crystal WDM audio Codec, and a 3Com Fast Etherlink LAN card gives it 10/100 Mbps network connectivity. It has 2 USB, 1 serial, parallel, and 2 PS2 ports. It also has jacks for microphone, line-in and line-out functions. All ports and jacks are placed on the system’s back panel and are color coded for easy identification. 

A special security feature of the e-Vectra is the HP Port Control System, which is basically a small plastic stand, which when attached covers its I/O ports. So, it prevents anyone from removing VGA, USB, serial, parallel, or PS2 devices that may be attached to your system. It also locks the hard drive chamber. These features and the fact that you can’t access the other components make the eVectra a secure machine. Each e-Vectra comes with its own unique key, and a master key is also available for the whole fleet of e-Vectra’s. This means that your system administrator needs only one key to open any eVectra machine’s lock, making it easier to manage. 

To check out the overall system performance while running productivity applications we ran Business Winstone 99 on it. It got 34.4, which is pretty good. We then installed Win 98 SE on it and repeated the test. The score fell to 28.1, a difference of more than 22 percent. So according to the score, Win 2k Professional seems a better option for this system. The e-Vectra uses a zippy hard drive, which gave pretty good transfer rates.

The e-Vectra came pre-installed with Win 2k Professional, and also had two CDs. One is called the Image Creation and Recovery CD, which let’s you restore your PC with Win 2k or Win NT in case of a crash. You can also use the CD to format your hard drive, create partitions, reinstall or change your OS. The other CD contained device drivers for Win 98, Win NT 4 and Win 2k. 

So, if you’re looking for small and manageable PCs for your company’s productivity work, then the eVectra is a good candidate. Provided, of course, you don’t plan to add any additional hardware as it doesn’t have room for further expansion. 

Sachin Makhija at PCQ Labs

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