Sys TaskMaster 950D

A fast 950-MHz Duron processor plus generous components add up to a strong small-office PC

WHAT'S HOT: The TaskMaster 950D is the first machine we've tested with AMD's latest Duron CPU. It earned a respectable score of 191 on our PC WorldBench 2000 tests--25 points above the average for Duron-850-based Windows 2000 systems, and 12 points above the average for Pentium III-933 systems. It includes a reasonably speedy 12X/10X/32X CD-RW drive for data backup. Another nice component is the 19-inch ViewSonic Optiquest Q95 monitor, which displays text that blurs only at the maximum resolution of 1600 by 1200. You can connect a second monitor to the Dual Head Matrox Millennium G450 graphics board as well.

WHAT'S NOT: Sys includes documentation for individual components, but no overall manual. In our recent round of tech support calls, Sys's support quality earned an overall rating of Fair--its reps answered a couple of questions incorrectly.

WHAT ELSE: To access the interior of the standard beige Sys minitower you simply remove two thumbscrews and slide off the side panel. Replacing it can be tricky--you must align the slot on the side of the panel with the single-loop case lock. You can also access the two open PCI slots without tools by removing a thumbscrew. Two externally accessible drive bays are open, but no internal bays in the small but neat interior are available. The network interface card included with our tested configuration was plugged into the Wake-on-LAN-enabled motherboard, rendering the TaskMaster 950D network-ready. The basic Sys keyboard has three hot-keys: Sleep, Wake Up, and Power. It's smooth to type on, but its backspace key is too small and is hard to hit without accidentally pressing proximate keys.

UPSHOT: With fast performance and a graphics board that supports two monitors at once, this budget system will work in small offices.


Sys TaskMaster 950D

PC WorldBench 2000 score of 191, Duron-950 CPU, 128MB of SDRAM, 64KB L2 cache, Windows 2000, 41GB hard drive, 12X/10X/32X CD-RW drive, Matrox Millennium G450 graphics card with 32MB of SDRAM, 19-inch ViewSonic Optiquest Q95 monitor, integrated Creative Sound Blaster 128D sound, Altec Lansing ACS33 speakers, network adapter, minitower case, six-year parts warranty on CPU and main RAM, three-year warranty on other parts, five-year labor warranty, free unlimited 24-hour toll-free tech support.

Street price: $1352


By Joel Strauch

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