Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pentium 90 Pushes PC Life into Fast Lane

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pentium 90 Pushes PC Life into Fast Lane

Article excerpt

A while back I decided to investigate life in the high-speed lane - to drive the PC equivalent of a nitromethane-fueled dragster.

It feels wonderful. And with the prices falling as fast as horsepower is increasing, you can do it without mortgaging the house and kids.

The machine I tried out was a Packard Bell Pentium 90 multimedia outfit, which packs a lot of punch for a price in the $2,500 to $3,000 range.

The machine uses Intel's fastest microprocessor, and that's why I held off writing this review, until Intel agreed to replace any flawed chips.

There's no question that for users of older PCs, the Pentium 90 is a revelation. Windows snap and crackle as they pop up on your screen. Graphics that try your patience as they dribble into view on lesser machines suddenly explode into life. And if you like to play games, this is as close to heaven as you're likely to get.

First things first. The Packard Bell unit I tested includes the Pentium 90 Mhz processor, eight megabytes of memory, a 720-megabyte hard drive, a PCI local bus video board with one megabyte of RAM, a double-speed CD-ROM drive, 16-bit sound card, internal 14,400 bps fax modem and a 15-inch super VGA monitor with side-mounted speakers.

The machine is also designed to take advantage of the new Plug 'n Play standard, which will make it easier to install new sound cards, ethernet adapters, scanners and other equipment as it becomes available.

The innards are wrapped in a compact, two-tone case with fluted accent panels that give the computer a Digital Art Deco feel. The monitor housing carries out the same motif, which led to a minor setup problem.

To keep the footprint small and save money, Packard Bell sacrificed expandability. With the CD-ROM installed, there's only one open drive bay. You can add a 5 1/4-inch floppy or a tape backup unit, but not both. If you need both, one will have to be a more expensive external unit.

Likewise, there's not much room for growth inside. There are only two free expansion slots, one of which holds a regular ISA card, the other a PCI or ISA board.

Outside of the Pentium 90, none of the components is at the leading edge of technology. …

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