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RRP: £765. This is very much an entry-level home PC aimed at the first-time buyer. The core specification is actually pretty basic, with an AMD K6-2/533 processor in the driving seat, backed by a skimpy 64MB of SDRAM and an 8GB Western Digital hard disk. Graphics are handled by an integrated Trident Blade3D accelerator which actually borrows 8MB of system memory for its own use, leaving only 56MB for everything else. This doesn't do performance any good, and the Trident chip isn't much of a 3D accelerator either, so you aren't looking at the sort of machine that will appeal to keen gamers. What's more, there's no AGP slot on the motherboard, so buyers can't upgrade their way around the problem in the future. The Internet part of the name covers two things, the inclusion of an internal Conexant V.90 HSP modem to get you online, and a set of buttons on the keyboard that take you directly to pages on the Compaq website. These contain things like the pick-of-the-week online shopping service, a search facility, driver updates and support information, plus a service that lets you use the PC's speakers and microphone to make voice calls via the Web. None of this is bad or damaging to the Presario's case, but neither is any of it good enough to make you forget about the shortcomings in the core specification. The same could be said of the other two selling points, which are respectively the 8-speed DVD-ROM drive and 24/4/4-speed CD-RW drive. This sort of thing, with its potential for creating compilation CDs of ripped MP3 downloads, and for archiving and backing up of data will make the Presario a great machine to demo to customers, but be cautious if you play a DVD movie - the lack of hardware MPEG sometimes makes itself visible in the playback, and the JBL active stereo speakers provided with this PC aren't terribly good either. To a seasoned eye, the focus on the 17in Compaq-
badged MV720 monitor supplied with the Presario could be better too, although the tube does at least support an 85Hz vertical refresh at 1024 x 768. All told, this machine has rather more style than substance, and is not the right choice for anybody likely to want to get involved with much other than email, web browsing, WP and reference CDs, since it has neither the power nor the upgrade potential to cope. Verdict The Presario will make an adequate basic platform, but for a home PC its 3D graphics handling is weak and the worry is that many buyers are going to reach this PC's limits rather too quickly To be honest you can get cheaper. Www.computerjunkies.net is a lot cheaper and offers CIAO visitors a discount
k6 amd 500mhz processor 64mb memory 8mb on borad agb graphics card 8gb hard disk 512 cache Microsoft wheel mouse DVD Drive 3.5 Floppy Drive jbl pro speakers for surround sound 15 inch Monitor Compaq coumputers are built to last they may not have the most up to date and fastest equipment inside but they will last forever. You also receive lots of software titles like Microsoft word and Microsoft works. Compaq also offer free software, from they web page via a points system. This works as follows, depending on what computer you buy you get awarded a number of points. You then go to there online web page and trade your points for different software titles. The model has now been replaced by a compaq 7474 with the only differnece being the processor being a k6 amd 533mhz. The cost is about £799 from pc-world and with that you get a 17 Inch Monitor. If you buy the same computer from time or other companies it could cost you a lot more.