- ✓Maintenance-friendly case design
- ✓competitive price.
- ✕Moderate performance.
Toshiba's Equium 8100D is a desktop PC with a distinctly conservative look about it: the monitor sits on top of the off-white case, with the floppy disk and DVD drives stacked at the front right-hand side. This design is practical, with two USB ports located conveniently on the front. For enterprises, it's also an advantage that Toshiba offers two styles of case, the midi-tower 8100M and the desktop 8100D, so that a single configuration can be rolled out and updated across the network.
Our review sample was based around a Pentium 4 processor running at 1.5GHz, supported by Intel 845's chipset and 256MB of SDRAM. The graphics card is a Geforce2 MX-based adapter with 32MB of graphics memory -- hardly spectacular, but sufficient for office use.
The benchmark results are uninspiring, although not out of line for a 1.5GHz Pentium 4 with SDRAM. On Business Winstone 2001, the Equium 8100D scored 33.5 points, which is roughly equivalent to a mid-range notebook. The graphics card does badly, though, scoring only 1,335 points on the 3DMark 2001 test. Overall, the Equium 8100D is fine for running mainstream productivity software, but isn't up to demanding applications or 3D games.
The Equium 8100D has a DVD-ROM drive, but neither a CD- or DVD-burner. The bundled WinDVD player software is not pre-installed -- presumably DVD in offices is expected to be used only as a storage medium. However, archiving and data storage, given the missing DVD-burner, can only go over the network. A network connection -- Intel's Pro 100 VE -- is integrated on the motherboard, but the modem occupies one of the system's three PCI slots.
The Seagate ST360020A hard drive has a rotational speed of only 5,400rpm, although this does contribute significantly to the system's low noise level -- without it, the case would have needed insulation. It has a capacity of 60GB, which Toshiba has formatted as two 30GB partitions. This allows you to use a single partition exclusively for data, or install a second operating system.
There's a standard floppy drive at the front of the system, which in most cases will be superfluous. An external 5.25in. drive bay remains free for further devices. Internally, two of the three PCI slots are empty, so the system can, if necessary, be upgraded to USB 2.0 or IEEE 1394 (FireWire). The I/O options are as conventional as the design: one parallel port, a serial port, VGA port and two PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse. Also present are a game and audio ports, which are serviced by the on-board audio chipset. There are also four USB slots, two at the front and two at the back.
The case can be opened easily, as the large screws can be loosened by hand. The left half of the cover gives access to the PCI slots and memory banks, while the right side opens up the free drive bays. The two sides open independently. The motherboard has three memory slots, one of which is occupied by a 256MB module. The Equium 8100D, like many notebooks, comes with a dual installation: at first boot-up you can choose between Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional. We chose the latter.
The Equium 8100D is a thoroughly conventional system. That applies equally to its design, specification and performance. As an traditional-looking desktop, it makes sense for office use. But anyone who wants above-average performance or the very latest technology needs to look elsewhere. There are good points, though: the casing with two independent halves is well thought out, and the two USB ports on the front let you quickly plug and unplug peripherals.