The side door on the Equium 7000S desktop PC is one of those small features that works so well it's a wonder no vendor thought to include one like it before.
The side door on Toshiba America Information Systems Inc.'s $1,714 Equium computer is designed to make servicing the system easier for IS staff and less intrusive for users. In PC Week Labs' tests of the 7000S, which began shipping last month, we could open the door and add graphics and main memory as well as replace the entire motherboard.
The Equium 7000S can be serviced without moving the monitor from on top of the system or clearing space from the front of the system to accommodate removing the cover. We did need to clear enough space on the system's side, about a foot square, to slide out the motherboard.
According to Toshiba officials, product plans for the 7000 series call for continuing to use the same motherboard components, including the graphics controller, as processor speeds increase. In the event that the motherboard fails, it could be replaced without having to reinstall software on the hard drive or replace the drive.
Installing an add-in card or replacing the hard drive does require taking the cover off the system, however. Although we didn't need a screwdriver to remove the cover, once inside we needed one to add or remove expansion cards and the hard drive.
The system has remote management features as well. It can be configured with a Wake-on-LAN Ethernet card and supports the DMI (Desktop Management Interface) 2.0 specification. In benchmark tests, we found the Equium offered performance comparable to other 266MHz Pentium II-based desktop PCs. (PC Week Labs' benchmark results for the Toshiba system are included with benchmark results that can be downloaded for the latest 350MHz and 400MHz Pentium II-based systems.)
Toshiba, of Irvine, Calif., can be reached at (888) 598-7802 or computers.toshiba.com.