PCs under 12K 

PCQ Bureau
New Update

India being an extremely price sensitive market, the inherent high cost of owning a PC is the prime deterrent in PC penetration being so low here. But now the manufacturers have come out with some pretty interesting solutions. We bring to you two such products-Xenitis and HCL PCs.


The machines

These being budget PCs, our expectations were not too high, but we were pleasantly surprised with the package. The PCs came with a Via processor, 128 MB of RAM and 40 GB HDD plus a decent 15 inch colour monitor. Moreover, the hard drive that shipped with the Xenitis machine had 7200 rpm spindle speed, while HCL machine had the same of 5400 rpm. This obviously translated into better performance. The HCL PC came with RedHat Linux preinstalled. 

Although the Xenitis is supposed to ship with Linux, the vendor never sent us the

installation CDs, let alone installing it for us.

The tests We tried to use the HCL PC for standard office tasks like Internet browsing, office productivity (using the bundled Open
Office) and e-mailing (using the bundled Evolution mail client), but were extremely disappointed by the performance as it took up to a minute to open any app and frankly for all practical purposes, the HCL machine was quite useless. We then installed OSs such as Novell Linux for Desktop Version 9 and Win XP Home on both machines. Both systems ran without any problem with Win XP Home and Office 2003 and we could open multiple windows easily. We then ran our favourite business-productivity applications' test suite, Business Winstone 2003, but due to a BIOS lock on shared memory, we had to upgrade the RAM to 256 MB to meet the minimum

requirements for the test. The Xenitis scored a really low 11.9 Winstones, while the HCL did even worse with a score of 9.9. However, these scores are slightly deceptive, as both machines were quite usable when running Windows. However, the trouble is that installing Windows with Office defeats the whole purpose of a low-cost machine. 

Coming to Novell Linux for Desktops Version 9, we found that the Xenitis machine performed much better than the HCL machine, and we suspect it was due to the faster hard disk. 


However, before we get any further, the NLD installation was not stable on these

machines for some reason and kept hanging. Incidentally, just as we were going to press, we found out that AMD has also launched similar low cost PCs with HCL. Stay tuned as we try to get that machine. 

Bottom Line: Lastly but most importantly, we feel that the vendors have brought the cost of the machines down. But low cost doesn't mean it should be unusable.

Vendors must take this into account. 


specs box

Apna PC

Pride 7741
Processor Via 800 MHz  Via

1 GHz
RAM 128 MB DDR 333 128

MB DDR 400
HDD 40 GB IDE 7200 RPM 40



None 52x


Linux Linux
Monitor 15" Color CRT 15"

Color CRT
Keyboard Mutimedia Multimedia
Mouse Optical PS/2 Ball PS/2
Speakers None None

Varun Dubey