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Caliber Alps DT1310i

WHAT'S HOT: The Caliber Alps DT 1310i system we reviewed--part of the company's DT1300 line, which the company says is geared toward high-performance users--provides some high-end components for a low-end price. Buyers investing $1650 will get bragging rights to a 2.2-GHz Northwood Pentium 4 processor, an 80GB hard drive, and a Leadtek WinFast GeForce 3 card (with S-Video and DVI outputs). Backing up data or burning audio CDs takes little time with the speedy Plextor 24X/10X/40X CD-RW drive.

WHAT'S NOT: Our test system managed a score of 115 on PC WorldBench 4--just matching the average of similar systems with a 2.0-GHz Pentium 4, using Intel's older "Willamette" processor design (The 1310i's the first system we've tested with the 2.2-GHz Northwood P4 CPU and Windows 2000; all the other 2.2-GHz P4 systems we've tested have come with Windows XP.)

While our system came with some component documentation, Caliber doesn't include an integrated system manual. Also, the mismatched shades of the front drive bezels cheapen the system's appearance.

WHAT ELSE: The 17-inch ADI MicroScan M700+ monitor proved an adequate display. It delivered reasonably clear 12-point Arial text with only minor blurring in our test document and adequate flesh tones and color richness in a photograph.

There's plenty of room for expansion in this system, with a whopping six open PCI slots, plus two open bays for removable media drives and two bays for additional hard drives. The interior cabling is tied out of the way, so you can get your fingers to components with little to trip you up. The system features four USB 1.1 ports (all on the back) and an integrated network interface for connecting the system to an office LAN or a broadband modem.

UPSHOT: The high-caliber components of this Alps may attract power users' attention, but the performance is less impressive than the specs might indicate. By Joel Strauch

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