by December 31, 2001 0 comments

IBM recently introduced its latest range of NetVista PCs. The model we got for review features the 1.5 GHz P4 along with
128 MB SDRAM and a 20 GB 5,400 rpm HDD from Maxtor. Interestingly enough, this machine is aimed at the entry level, first-time user.

The cabinet has a nice and compact design, which combined with its black color, makes it very attractive to look at. The PC has an onboard LAN port and an internal modem. It is pretty well equipped for expansion with two vacant PCI slots, three DIMM slots which can support up to 3 GB RAM and two vacant drive bays that can accommodate additional hardware like a hard drive, DVD, or CD-ReWriter. All ports–two USB, two PS2, LAN, three audio, parallel, two serial–are color coded for easy identification.

It is pretty well equipped for 
expansion with two vacant PCI slots and three DIMM slots

Price: Rs 51,999 with three-year warranty 
(one-year onsite, two-year on parts)
Meant for: Entry-level users 
Features: P4 1.5 GHz, 128 MB RAM, 20 GB HDD, 15” color monitor, SiS 305 display card with 32 MB
VRAM, 48x CD-ROM, Windows Me, onboard Sound/LAN, modem, 90-hour Satyam Internet connection
Pros: Feature-rich
Cons: Could have done with better video card
Contact: IBM India. Tel: 011-3702020 (extn 573) Fax: 3730235. Express Building, First Floor, 9-10 Bahadur Shah Zafar
Marg, New Delhi 110002,

The graphics department is a little disappointing with a SiS305 display card, which incidentally is a 2x AGP card (the standard now is 4x). The card is fine for productivity applications, or browsing, but is not suitable for high-end gaming. The PC also has matching speakers, a 15” color monitor, a keyboard and a mouse. Overall, apart from the display card, the PC is pretty much jam-packed with features.

We ran our standard benchmarks on the PC, to see how it fares in productivity, gaming, and graphics. It comes with Windows Me, so that’s what we used for all the tests. The first test we ran was Business Winstone 2001, which runs productivity applications such as MS Office, Netscape Navigator, and Norton AntiVirus, and comes out with an overall score which indicates how well these applications ran on it. This machine got a good score of 34.2. We then ran Content Creation Winstone 2001, which runs high-end graphics applications like Dream- Weaver, Adobe PhotoShop and Director 8. Here also it preformed well with a score of 34.

Its good fortune ended in the next set of tests, which focused on gaming and graphics. In 3D Winbench 2000, which runs a set of graphic and gaming tests, it managed an overall frame rate of only 15.5 fps. For good performance you need around 30. This clearly indicates the limitation of the graphics card. The story was repeated in Quake III Arena test, with very low frame rates of 23.5 fps at 800×600 with just 16-bit color. 
The machine comes with a restore CD, in case your system ever crashes. Also thrown into the package is a 90-hour Internet account and Lotus SmartSuite.

Overall, given the price tag of Rs 52,000, and the three years warranty (one year onsite, plus two years parts) it’s a decent branded buy.

Sachin Makhija at PCQ Labs

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