Narrowly missing out on an award, this machine deserves a special mention for its execution and incredible value for money rating. When we sent out the invitation for systems to review, we asked for PCs with plenty of peripherals and features. Punch really delivered on this request, returning with a machine packing Gigabit Ethernet, digital HDTV tuner, 8x multi-format DVD burner, 256MB RADEON 9600LE graphics and a 15in LCD monitor. Truly unheard of at this price! But it doesn't end there, Punch has whacked the latest 2.8GHz Prescott processor onto an ASUS P4P800 Deluxe motherboard, which features an integrated 802.11b wireless module, allowing you to get up and onto a wireless network without purchasing additional expansion devices. Now that's future-proofing. Best of all, the wireless module does not take up a PCI slot, leaving you five free slots to play with.
The software bundle covers system integrity and media creation with copies of the popular Norton Internet Security 2004, Nero 6.0 and WinDVD Gold Suite which allows for DVD ripping, creation and playback.
This case is somewhat strange however. Although packed with all the goodies you're likely to want in a new machine, the case features a clear Perspex side panel, with an unusual etched image: the Internet Explorer 'e' logo. While there's no cold cathode inside to illuminate this, the symbol is still clearly made out. Users may want to add a coloured neon tube and give their PC that mod look, in which instance you won't need to buy a new case or modify one yourself, just pop in a light and away you go. Care of the ICHR5 South Bridge, Intel has given the ASUS P4P800 motherboard SATA RAID capabilities, meaning you need only add an additional drive if you want to set up either a RAID stripe or mirrored array. Although space is hardly scarce with Samsung's 120GB 8MB cache drive onboard. Unfortunately, this is a PATA drive, meaning you'll need a pair of SATA disks to achieve the array. This system offers great value for money and reasonable performance -- a great budget PC with the lot.
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