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PC World's bargain P4 beast

We never said you should buy it

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PC World is proudly shouting it's got the cheapest Pentium 4 machine that you can buy - that is if you want to take it home with you there and then.

For £1,199 (inc VAT) you get the 1.3GHz P4, 128Mb RDRAM, 20Gb hard drive, and the 32Mb TNT2 graphics card.

But you get what you pay for. This system contains the PC600 RDRAM - the slowest Rambus memory you can get, so the machine will probably run slower than a 1GHz PIII box. The PC World system just gives you bragging rights down the pub that you own a P4 machine.

In the PC World advert it states that "RDRAM - offers 3 times the performance of SDRAM". That may be but PC600 RDRAM doesn't.

Reg reader Euan Robertson says the PC World P4 system is "kinda like getting a lovely big Cosworth V8 engine, but installing it in a lead Mini with a ten litre fuel tank and a pallet of bricks in the back."

And as for the TNT2-64M - opinion is divided. El Reg tech heads like the card as long as you keep updating your drivers, but it has been around a long while.

However reader Nick Palmer isn't excited at all about the P4/TNT-64M combo. "So, we take this chip, whose only real benefits so far (and these are disputed) are in graphics handling...and we'll couple it to the lowest budget graphics decelerator we can find - I mean, the M64 has been around a couple of years already, and that was the cut-down, slowed-down version of the TNT2 anyway."

Tom's Hardware has published an article on how you can equip an Athlon box that hammers any P4 system, and for a lower price.

But if you want a P4 machine to take home today you know where to go. ®

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