Built around AMD's 850-MHz Athlon processor, 128MB of 133-MHz SDRAM, and an ample 20GB, 7,200-rpm hard drive, Atlas Micro's RS 5000 comes in at a shockingly low price of $999. This potent configuration translated into high scores in CNET Labs' tests. Thanks to its GeForce2 MX graphics card, the system turned an impressive 83 fps (frames per second) in our Quake III test, though the similarly configured system from ABS scored an even more impressive 90 fps. Both systems have the power to provide smooth, high-resolution gameplay for even the most demanding 3D games; and as far as business applications go, they'll never know what hit 'em.
The PS 5000 is so well equipped that it could double as a budget home-entertainment system. We plopped a vintage T. Rex concert on DVD into the system's 12X DVD-ROM drive and watched Marc Bolan mince about the PS 5000's vivid, 17-inch (16-inch viewable) monitor. The band's '71 hit, "Get it On," rocked the MLI 460 speakers with subwoofers, which are powered by the system's Sound Blaster 16 sound card.
The PS 5000 offers lots of room for expansion. Options include three open, external 5.25-inch bays; two internal, 3.5-inch bays; and three open PCI slots. The system also includes two serial ports, one parallel port, and five USB ports. Two touches that shouldn't be overlooked are the Microsoft's Natural Keyboard Elite and IntelliMouse scroll mouse, which came with this configuration. Both are ergonomically designed and have a solid, quality feel.
The PS 5000's software bundle includes Sun Microsystems' StarOffice 5.2 and Norton's AntiVirus SE. Atlas backs the PS 5000 with a three-year limited parts and labor warranty. However, the CPU, memory, and mainboard are covered for the first year only, and customers are required to pay for repair shipping. Lifetime toll-free tech support is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Pacific time.
This powerful, full-featured system has Editors' Choice written all over it and makes spending more than $1,000 on a new home PC a little hard to justify.