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MicroPro MicroHome 199B review: MicroPro MicroHome 199B

MicroPro MicroHome 199B

William Flanagan
6 min read
The MicroPro MicroHome 199B gives you about what you'd expect from a budget system: only a few bells and even fewer whistles. With a 2.0GHz Celeron processor, 256MB of DDR SDRAM, and a 40GB hard drive, the system has the muscle to handle simple computing tasks such as light word processing and surfing the Net but not much more. The basic black minitower case leaves room for expansion, and the motherboard has an AGP slot, should you want to upgrade from the integrated graphics. Feature highlights include a speedy CD-RW drive, a three-piece speaker set, and Microsoft Works. But don't expect a lot of hand-holding in the form of a long warranty or generous service policies.

What the MicroHome 199B lacks now it has room for you to add later.
A true budget system, the MicroHome 199B pops few surprises. Your basic black box, the MicroHome's minitower has one front-accessible 5.25-inch drive bay and one internal 3.5-inch bay. The system's additional bays are filled with a CD burner, a floppy drive, and a hard drive.
Inside, there's a highly integrated motherboard that's home to a SiS 650GL graphics chip as well as all ports. The motherboard offers you two free PCI slots and, more importantly, an AGP slot. Most budget buyers aren't serious gamers, but the AGP slot gives you the option to add a graphics card, if your interests turn to gaming in the future. In addition to three USB 1.1 ports, the system has a standard array of connectors including serial, parallel, modem, Ethernet, microphone, and speaker. Sadly, the USB ports are neither located on the front panel, nor do they support high-speed USB.

Having an AGP slot gives you the option of upgrading the graphics capability.

The only USB ports you'll find are around back.

A fast 48X/16X/48X CD burner is a budget bonus.
Underneath the MicroHome 199B's bare-bones facade lies a mixed bag of capabilities. Our test system came based on a 2GHz Celeron processor with 256MB of DDR memory, a sufficient 40GB Western Digital hard drive, a fast 48X/16X/48X Lite-On CD-RW drive, and an AOC 17-inch CRT. This is a solid budget-system base, despite the fact that the graphics subsystem steals RAM from the system's main memory.
Although the MicroHome 199B has a ports for a PS2 keyboard and mouse, our test system shipped with a USB-based optical mouse from Microsoft and a Lite-On USB keyboard that we found very comfortable to use, with good feedback. The included no-name speakers come with a subwoofer and, in our tests, produced above-average sound for a budget system, though aspiring audiophiles may want to upgrade.
The software bundle is limited but still appreciated. MicroPro thoughtfully included Nero Burning ROM, as well as Microsoft Works 7.0. Even this limited productivity suite is a welcome surprise, considering that many budget systems ship with no software beyond their operating system.

Application performance
The MicroPro MicroHome is one of only two systems of those we've recently reviewed that is representative of its respective processor class. Both the MicroHome and the Cyberpower AMD Value XP perform relatively well, while three other configurations we've tested underperform because of budget-minded system-design decisions. Unfortunately, while the 2GHz Celeron-based MicroHome performance is indeed commensurate with that of other 2GHz Celeron-based desktops, its shared system/graphics memory architecture and slow hard disk subsystem keep MicroHome's application performance from topping the charts. Nonetheless, this system is at least capable enough to run most common office-productivity tasks.
Application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo SysMark2002 rating  
SysMark2002 Internet content creation rating  
SysMark2002 office productivity rating  
Cyberpower AMD Value XP (Athlon XP 2100+, 256MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz)
Freeway Tech Innovation A2800M (Athlon XP 2000+, 256MB SDRAM 133MHz)
MicroPro MicroHome 199B [2.0GHz Celeron, 256MB DDR SDRAM (shared memory) 266MHz]
Nutrend Centra 4 AMD [Athlon XP 2100+, 128MB DDR SDRAM (shared memory) 266MHz]
Gateway 300S Plus [2.1GHz Celeron, 128MB DDR SDRAM (shared memory) 266MHz]
To measure application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark2002, an industry-standard benchmark. Using off-the-shelf applications, SysMark measures a desktop's performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).
3D graphics and gaming performance
Similar to the majority of systems in this roundup, the MicroHome's anemic SiS 650 graphics engine is far too underpowered to drive today's demanding 3D games and family titles. If you want faster graphics, the system includes an available AGP slot. But since MicroPro doesn't include any graphics-card upgrade options for the MicroHome, you'd you have purchase a graphics card separately and install it yourself.
3D graphics performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Futuremark's 3DMark2001 Second Edition Build 330 (16-bit color)  
Futuremark's 3DMark2001 Second Edition Build 330 (32-bit color)  
Cyberpower AMD Value XP (Nvidia GeForce4 MX 440SE)
Nutrend Centra 4 AMD (integrated Nvidia GeForce2)
Freeway Tech Innovation A2800M (ATI Radeon 7000)
Gateway 300S Plus (integrated Intel 845G/GL)
MicroPro MicroHome 199B (integrated SiS 650)
To measure 3D graphics performance, CNET Labs uses Futuremark's 3DMark2001 Pro Second Edition, Build 330. We use 3DMark to measure a desktop's performance with the DirectX 8 (DX8) interface at both 16- and 32-bit color settings at a resolution of 1,024x768. A system that does not have DX8 hardware support will typically generate a lower score than one that has DX8 hardware support.
3D gaming performance in FPS  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Quake III Arena  
Cyberpower AMD Value XP (Nvidia GeForce4 MX 440SE)
Nutrend Centra 4 AMD (integrated Nvidia GeForce2)
Freeway Tech Innovation A2800M (ATI Radeon 7000)
MicroPro MicroHome 199B (integrated SiS 650)
Gateway 300S Plus (integrated Intel 845G/GL)
To measure 3D gaming performance, CNET Labs uses Quake III Arena. Although Quake III is an older game, it is still widely used as an industry-standard tool. Quake III does not require DX8 hardware support--as 3DMark2001 does--and is therefore an excellent means of comparing the performance of low- to high-end graphics subsystems. Quake III performance is reported in frames per second (fps).
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:
Cyberpower AMD Value XP
Windows XP Home; 1.73GHz AMD Athlon XP 2100+; 256MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 MX 440SE 64MB; Western Digital WD400EB-00CPF0 40GB 5,400rpm
Freeway Tech Innovation A2800M
Windows XP Home; 1.67GHz AMD Athlon XP 2000+; 256MB SDRAM 133MHz; ATI Radeon 7000 64MB; Maxtor 6E040L0 40GB 7,200rpm
Gateway 300S Plus
Windows XP Home; 2.1GHz Intel Celeron; 128MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; integrated Intel 845G/GL 32MB (shared memory); Western Digital WD400EB-11CPF0 40GB 5,400rpm
MicroPro MicroHome 199B
Windows XP Home; 2.0GHz Intel Celeron; 256MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; integrated SiS 650 32MB (shared memory); Western Digital WD400EB-00CPF0 40GB 5,400rpm
Nutrend Centra 4 AMD
Windows XP Home; 1.73GHz AMD Athlon XP 2100+; 128MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; integrated Nvidia GeForce2 32MB (shared memory); Western Digital WD400BB-00DEA0 40GB 7,200rpm

The MicroPro 199B is backed by an average one-year parts-and-labor warranty, which includes lifetime toll-free, phone tech support weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. (ET). For problems that you can't be solved over the phone, you'll need to pay to ship the system to MicroPro; the company pays to send it back to you.
MicroPro offers various upgrades to its warranty, including onsite service for an added cost. You can also find additional tech support on the company's Web site in the form of FAQs, a driver download page, and a slightly unsettling but welcome page for Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) forms.

MicroPro MicroHome 199B

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 6Support 5