Pulstar SXP. (computer system) (Evaluation)
by Rick Leinecker
One-stop shopping--that's what I like best about this complete package, and that would be even more important if I were new to computing. The Pulstar hardware includes all the important pieces: a fair-sized hard drive, a modem, Super VGA, high-density floppy drives, a mouse, a joystick port, and more.
My Pulstar odyssey began with a long installation of all the software. I prefer to have bundled software copied to the hard drive at the factory, a service that many manufacturers provide. With so many programs in the package--Quattro Pro, Chessmaster 2100, DeluxePaint II, Publish-it!, Word for Word Professional, and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, to name a few--installation takes time.
If you want to install the programs selectively, though, this is a more efficient approach. You get only what you want on the hard drive, saving room for data files. The installation program was easy to use, so there wasn't much to do but swap disks.
Without reasonable performance, all the attachments in the world wouldn't matter. But the Pulstar performed well above acceptable standards and even excelled in several respects. The 40MB hard drive seemed to outperform its 28-millisecond rating.
The video card and monitor combination outshone the video combo on my personal system. Video output was one of the best I've seen for a system in this price range.
I loved the crisp feel of the keyboard. The 2400-baud Hayes-compatible modem worked like a charm, too.
The issue of footprint size sometimes divides users into two camps. I like a big box that dissipates heat and lets you easily install cards. Some users with limited desk space think the smaller, the better. Consider the small and sleek Pulstar for your office if you pitch your tent with the prodownsizing crowd.
With a 386SX microprocessor running at 16 MHz, the Pulstar ran noticeably slower than the 386DX running at 25 MHz that I'm used to, but I didn't find the SX's performance a handicap. The system performed so well as an integrated unit that I never really noticed the lower clock speed. On almost every count, it kept up with me.
Should you consider this system for yourself? That depends. Those new to computing will get everything they need, and this system won't be obsolete next year. Furthermore, it will be some time before you're out buying software or hardware add-ons. If you want a reasonably priced system and don't need a speed demon, then the answer, once again, is yes. This computer performs admirably and will probably meet all of your needs. The only person who might look elsewhere is someone who needs top performance. Not too many of us do, so this great package gets my vote for serious consideration.