Wave Point LP300C review:

Wave Point LP300C

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Small footprint, few cables; stylish LCD; modular drives; a host of ports; excellent manual; business users will appreciate the swappable components.

The Bad Difficult memory upgrade; USB ports aren't powered.

The Bottom Line The LP300C is a chic, LCD-based PC/notebook hybrid made for IT departments seeking a compact design that's easy to maintain and for power users who appreciate a convenient package.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.0 Overall

Is that a notebook on steroids or a lean desktop PC with a low TCO? That's the question we asked ourselves when we first laid eyes on the Wave Point LP300C in May 2002. Before the 17-inch Apple iMac, before the Gateway Profile 4, and before the Sony VAIO PCV-W10, there was the Wave Point LP300C, with its slick, all-in-one chassis and built-in, 17-inch flat-panel screen. The company has since upgraded the components in the newer LP287S model, but the design remains largely unchanged. The Wave Point's modular, notebook-style bays; ports for everything from USB to FireWire; and dual Type II PC Card slots, which can also hold one Type III, blur the line between desktop and notebook.Is that a notebook on steroids or a lean desktop PC with a low TCO? That's the question we asked ourselves when we first laid eyes on the Wave Point LP300C in May 2002. Before the 17-inch Apple iMac, before the Gateway Profile 4, and before the Sony VAIO PCV-W10, there was the Wave Point LP300C, with its slick, all-in-one chassis and built-in, 17-inch flat-panel screen. The company has since upgraded the components in the newer LP287S model, but the design remains largely unchanged. The Wave Point's modular, notebook-style bays; ports for everything from USB to FireWire; and dual Type II PC Card slots, which can also hold one Type III, blur the line between desktop and notebook.

Neat package
The designers clearly thought a lot about what users are looking for. Weighing a mere 30 pounds and with a footprint of just 18.5 by 16 by 8 inches, the Wave Point has a compact, charcoal-and-silver design that fits into today's cubicle culture as easily as it does in a cramped home office.

While most PCs have a mess of cables hanging off the back, the Wave Point keeps it clean. The high-quality speakers are built in, and our configuration included a Logitech wireless receiver (that works with the cordless keyboard and mouse) stuck with Velcro behind the screen. A floppy drive lives on the left side of the screen, while dual USB ports, an array of audio/video connections and controls, and the PC Card slots inhabit the right. The rear includes jacks for the built-in modem and LAN adapters, dual nonpowered USB ports, an IEEE 1394 port, one parallel port, and external display support via VGA or S-Video connectors. Because the USB ports aren't powered, certain devices may not work with it.

Upgrading your system can be easy or hard, depending on what you want to add. The two modular bays on the front of the base support options for CD-RW, CD-ROM, and DVD drives, as well as a second hard disk or an RF module. You can easily reach the full-sized desktop hard drive by removing a single screw and sliding out the housing on the left side of the base. To upgrade memory, however, you'll have to disassemble much of the LCD housing and base.

Moments of clarity
Die-hard gamers may wish for a way to upgrade the ATI Radeon Mobility (M6-P) chipset, but the LP300C's test scores are about what we expected for a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 with 256MB of RDRAM and the Intel 850 chipset. Weak as they are, though, the system's 3D graphics scores still beat those of the 1.8GHz Sony VAIO PCV-RX670. By including a 7,200rpm drive (most manufacturers opt for a 5,400rpm model), Wave Point keeps the LP300C's application scores at a satisfactory level.

You have four OS choices: Windows XP Professional and Windows 2000 Professional for business users and Windows XP Home or 98 for those at home. The manual is one of the best we've ever seen, blending thorough technical detail, a logical flow, helpful diagrams and icons, and a clear writing style.

The company offers a three-year warranty on parts and labor and says it will hand-deliver replacements to IT departments in its local area. For businesses located elsewhere, Wave Point guarantees a 24-hour turnaround and pays shipping costs both ways. Consumers outside the company's local area should expect a 72-hour turnaround, while locals must deliver their PCs to Wave Point for service. Starting in May, the company plans to offer 24/7 toll-free phone support, as well.

A quick comparison to a nearly identically configured Gateway PC shows that you're paying a few hundred dollars for the extra integration. Is that extra cash worth it to you? It all comes down to how much space you have in your work area.

Performance test
100=performance of a test machine with a PIII-800 processor, an Intel 815EEA motherboard chipset, 128MB of 133MHz SDRAM, a GeForce2 with 32MB DDR, ATA/100 hard drive, Windows 2000 with Service Pack 1, and Windows' display properties set to 1,024x768 and 16-bit color at 75Hz
Longer bars indicate better performance

Overall rating   
Internet content creation   
Office productivity   
Gateway 500X
217 
297 
158 
Sony VAIO Digital Studio PCV-RX670
164 
217 
124 
Wave Point LP300C
155 
206 
116 
 
Quake III Arena test
Longer bars indicate better performance
Gateway 500X
54.4 
Wave Point LP300C
37.3 
Sony VAIO Digital Studio PCV-RX670
13.2 
 
Gateway 500X
Windows XP Home; Pentium 4-1.8GHz; 768MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; 64MB Nvidia GeForce2 MX 400; WDC WD800BB-53CAA0 80GB 7,200rpm

Sony VAIO Digital Studio PCV-RX670
Windows XP Home; Pentium 4-1.8GHz; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; 32MB Nvidia TNT2 M64; Maxtor 4D080H4 80GB 5,400rpm

Wave Point LP300C
Windows XP Professional; Pentium 4-1.7GHz; 256MB RDRAM 800MHz; 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon M6-P; Western Digital WD400BB 40GB 7,200rpm

Die-hard gamers may wish for a way to upgrade the ATI Radeon Mobility (M6-P) chipset, but the LP300C's test scores are about what we expected for a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 with 256MB of RDRAM and the Intel 850 chipset. Weak as they are, though, the system's 3D graphics scores still beat those of the 1.8GHz Sony VAIO PCV-RX670. By including a 7,200rpm drive--most manufacturers opt for a 5,400rpm model--Wave Point keeps the LP300C's application scores at a satisfactory level.

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