Compaq Deskpro Workstation 300

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  • Good performance
  • good suite of manageability software.


  • No backup device
  • expensive considering that no monitor is supplied.

By combining a 1.4GHz Pentium 4 with 256MB of PC800 Rambus memory and a fast hard disk, you'd expect Compaq's Deskpro Workstation 300 to deliver the goods. However, in practice, its benchmarks are on a par with a Pentium III or Athlon PC running at 1GHz.

The Deskpro Workstation 300 has manageability high on its list of design features. The case is tool free, fastened by two captive thumbscrews. Releasing the drives from their bays is simply a matter of releasing the tool-free front facia and releasing the sprung drive-lock button, whereupon the drives are free to be removed. The system is very quiet despite having both a large power supply fan and a large case fan.

There's a good package of software manageability tools: Compaq's well-known Diagnostics for Windows is pre-installed, along with SiSoft Sandra, an in-depth information and diagnostic utility, and Insight Management LC, a remote system management tool.

The Workstation 300 comes with either an Ultra-ATA/100 or a SCSI hard disk. The unit we reviewed was fitted with an 18.4GB, 10,000rpm, Quantum Atlas 10K II Ultra 160 SCSI hard drive, which occupied one of the two 3.5in drive bays. For optical storage there is a 48-speed CD-ROM drive in one of the two 5.25in. bays. All the usual I/O ports are housed in a colour-coded panel at the rear of the system.

Access to the motherboard with its Intel 850 chipset is easy and uncluttered. The motherboard is fitted with a SoundBlaster 128 audio chip, freeing up one of the five PCI slots. Because of the way the four RIMM slots are arranged, the AGP slot is nestled among the PCI slots to provide clearance for the graphics card, a 64MB nVidia Quadro 2 Pro adapter. Three of the PCI slots are free, the other two being filled by an ATA PRO/100 LAN card and an Adaptec AIC-7892 Ultra SCSI controller card.

The Deskpro Workstation 300 comes with Windows 2000 pre-installed, with NT 4.0 available as an option. Compaq's warranty provides three-year, on-site parts and labour coverage, with a next business day response time.

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Although the Compaq Deskpro Workstation 300 performs well, it does come at a high price considering that a 1GHz Pentium III or Athlon system is just as fast and that a monitor isn't included. The picture may change when Pentium 4-optimised software and faster memory becomes available, but for now you'll get better value from existing PC designs.