WHAT'S HOT: Packed in a better-looking case than its beige-box Altura sibling, the Pogo Linux Verona Workstation houses a 2.2-GHz Pentium 4 CPU inside a sleek aluminum midsize tower. The frosted glass front cover, curved at the bottom to provide unobstructed access to the two front USB 2.0 ports, swings open to reveal the drive bays--including the 82GB hard drive that slides out the front via a carrying handle (the drive can be secured with a front-mounted key lock).
We tested this system using Windows XP Professional and 512MB of DDR RAM. These components propelled the Verona to a respectable score of 118 on our PC WorldBench 4 tests--matching the score of a similarly equipped Gateway that used RDRAM instead of this model's DDR RAM.
The Verona we reviewed came with ViewSonic's 17-inch ViewPanel VE170 LCD monitor. In our document test the unit displayed crisp, clearly readable text, and in our photo screens it produced vibrant colors as well as flesh tones that looked natural--if a bit light.
WHAT'S NOT: The system manual lacks information on Windows XP; however, it does cover the specific product line and contains adequate information on upgrading and troubleshooting the system and on using Linux.
WHAT ELSE: The aluminum side panel on the tower's chassis has two thumbscrews that make it easy to remove and replace. The neat and spacious interior contains four tool-less PCI slots and seven open drive bays, three of which can accept removable-media drives.
This Verona came with Microsoft's Natural Keyboard Elite, an ergonomic-style keyboard that our reviewers found smooth and easy to type on.
Pogo Linux offers tech support for only 10 hours on weekdays--adequate for addressing problems that arise during normal business hours, but not for home-office users or businesses that require after-hours support.
UPSHOT: It's not an inexpensive machine, but if you're in the market for a nice performer in a sharp-looking package, this Verona arrives with all the goods and an extra splash of panache.
By Joel Strauch