Micro Express MicroFlex 1200C

Vigorous performance for a low price, but monitor is subpar

WHAT'S HOT: Powered by a 1.2-GHz Athlon and 256MB of 266-MHz DDR memory, the MicroFlex 1200C blasted to a score of 224 on our PC WorldBench 2000 tests, which is three points above the average for similarly configured systems running Windows 2000, and eight points above the average for 1.7-GHz Pentium 4-based systems. A quick setup poster and color-coded, icon-labeled rear ports help make system assembly a simple process.

WHAT'S NOT: Though the 17-inch Tatung C7ES monitor rendered vibrant colors, text looked blurry at 1024 by 768 resolution and became difficult to read at the maximum resolution of 1280 by 1024.

WHAT ELSE: To open the standard gray-and-beige MicroFlex midsize tower, you must loosen a single thumbscrew on the top panel, remove that panel, and then pop off the sturdy side panel, which repositions smoothly. Three open PCI slots and three open external drive bays provide ample expansion room. Most cabling remains bundled and out of the way, except for two sound-card cables that block access to one PCI slot. The spiral-bound system manual, though it covers the entire MicroFlex line, contains a thorough glossary. (The same manual is available on an included CD-ROM in PDF form.) Although a bit slow by current standards, the 8X/4X/32X CD-RW drive is a welcome component at this price. The contoured Microsoft Natural keyboard allows for quiet, comfortable typing.

UPSHOT: Budget minded-buyers looking for top speed might well consider the 1200C. However, we recommend choosing a better display (Micro Express offers other 17-inch and 19-inch options) even though doing so will increase the package price.

By Joel Strauch

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