In the Forums...
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Posted: February 13, 2000
Falcon Northwest, long known for its killer gaming systems for the guys who have the money to spare and don't want to get their hands dirty, has decided to take a shot at broadening its market by producing some machines for the common man on a "budget" - if you can call $1500 for just the tower on a budget. Either way, I got my hands on one of the mangy beasts for a review - let's see how it held up against my onslaught of testing.
Pricing and Features
When this system originally debuted, it was competitively priced for the market - Dell, Gateway, and the other big system makers were building comparable machines (based on Intel processors of the same MHz speed...so this one is probably a bit faster than those) for about the same amount of cash. Now, however, $1449 for a 550 MHz Athlon system seems a little steep. I guess it's a good thing that they've upgraded their fourteen hundred and fifty dollar system to a 650 MHz processor then. The only other changes in the design has been the lateral move from the Vortex 2 based MX300 to the Sound Blaster Live Value (which is more likely due to the fact that Aureal is no longer selling audio chips to 3rd party board makers and is producing their own in-house Vortex 2 based cards), an upgrade on the hard drive to the slightly faster 13.6 gig model, and a speed increase on the CD-ROM drive. Anyhow, here are the specs on the system I reviewed:
- AMD Athlon 550MHz Processor
- IBM Deskstar 13.5 gig Hard Drive, 7200 RPM
- 128MB PC100 SDRAM, 7ns - CAS-2
- 3dfx Voodoo3 3000 AGP, 16MB, TV Out, 166MHz
- Creative Labs Live! Value Sound Card, PCI
- 56k V.90 Internal Modem (software)
- Toshiba 40X CD ROM, UDMA/2, ATAPI
- Microsoft Intellimouse PS/2
- Keytronics Propeller Pilot 104 Keyboard
- Teac 1.44MB Floppy Drive
- ATX Mid Tower Case, 250w Power Supply
- Microsoft Windows '98 SE, Full Version
- System Recovery CD
- Everglide Falcon Mousepad
Even back in November, I probably could have put together a slightly better system for the cost - but this is about as good a price I could find on a pre-built system from a reputable vendor such as Dell or Gateway.