WHAT'S HOT: The MicroFlex 2100A we tested ships with the fastest Athlon XP processor currently available, the 1.73-GHz 2100+. Overclocked to 1.76 GHz by Micro Express, this system earned the highest PC WorldBench 4 score we've recorded for a Windows XP system. When asked about the overclocking, Micro Express stated that all 2100A systems the company ships to end users will be slightly overclocked. Micro Express also says it is confident of the long-term reliability of this PC, but we cannot verify that claim independently.
Micro Express managed to pack a lot into a $1499 system: Our test model shipped with a DVD-RAM/R drive that will back up data to 4.7GB DVD-RAM cartridges, as well as to DVD-R write-once discs, which hold the same amount of data as DVD-RAM cartridges but can be read by more devices, including most DVD-ROM drives and recently manufactured home DVD players. Micro Express also included a 32X/10X/40X CD-RW drive for handling recordable and rewritable CD media.
WHAT'S NOT: Micro Express included only an on-screen version its user manual with our MicroFlex, but the company said a print version of the manual will ship with the system.
WHAT ELSE: Our system came with a Samsung SyncMaster 700NF display, which currently holds the number two spot on our Top 10 17-inch Monitors chart. It produces crisp, legible text and beautiful graphics.
The system's Sound Blaster Audigy card has a FireWire port for use with compatible digital video cameras and fast external drives.
To open the basic gray-and-beige MicroFlex midsize tower you must loosen a single thumbscrew, pop off the top panel, and then snap off the sides. Though you cannot remove the components without tools, drive cabling is bundled and out of the way, making it easy to reach the three open PCI slots and three open drive bays (all of which can handle a removable-media drive).
UPSHOT: Bargain-hunting power users will find the MicroFlex 2100A an attractive choice. By Joel Strauch