WHAT’S HOT: With its enhanced Athlon-800 processor and running Windows Me, this NuTrend achieved a score of 149 on our PC WorldBench 2000 tests, making it one of the fastest budget systems we’ve seen. (Its midrange twin, the Business Athlon 1, uses the same operating system and CPU and posted an identical score.) The Optiquest Z70 17-inch monitor delivers vibrant colors and sharp text at the default resolution of 1024 by 768, though we saw a slight blur at the maximum resolution of 1280 by 1024. The system includes Corel’s WordPerfect Office 2000, as well as a useful setup poster and a system manual with detailed troubleshooting information–all kept in a big binder.
WHAT’S NOT: The keyboard’s flimsy keys have a tendency to wiggle. Also, in our anonymous calls to NuTrend’s technical support line, we waited on hold for up to 15 minutes before speaking to a technical representative–longer than we’ve had to wait for help from some vendors.
WHAT ELSE: Despite its wiggly keys, the keyboard does allow for generally smooth typing, and it supplies 17 multimedia buttons. You must remove two screws on the side panel of the midsize tower case to get inside, but once you do the panel comes off and goes back on smoothly. The neat, spacious interior offers three open PCI slots and four open drive bays for expansion; NuTrend tacks the audio cable that runs from the soundcard to the DVD-ROM drive out of the way–a welcome touch.
BEST USE: For a thrifty user in a small office with light multimedia needs, this Force2 delivers the goods.
NuTrend Athlon Force2
PC WorldBench score of 149, Athlon-800 CPU, 128MB of SDRAM, 256KB of L2 cache, Windows Me, 20GB hard drive, 10X DVD-ROM drive, ATI Xpert 128 graphics card with 32MB of SDRAM, Optiquest Z70 17-inch monitor, Creative Ensoniq AudioPCI ES1371 sound card, Altec Lansing ACS33W speakers, V.90 modem, midsize tower case, Corel WordPerfect Office 2000. Three-year parts warranty, lifetime labor warranty; free, unlimited 24-hour tech support.
NuTrend can be reached at 1-800/482-6678 or at http://www.nutrend.co>
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Prices listed are in US currency.