Both the 160GB hard drive and the 18-speed DVD rewriter are SATA devices, ensuring good data throughput when storing and backing up your files. There are three fans in the case; one in the power supply, another over the processor and a third on the case side. The processor fan developed an intermittent rattle during testing; a shame as the machine is otherwise very quiet.
Even though the system board is a microATX design, all four expansion slots, comprising 16x and 1x PCI Express slots as well as two PCI ones, are available. This gives the option of installing a faster graphics adapter at a later date.
The Intel system board also includes Intel’s Active Management Technology (AMT). This is ideal if the VP Plus is going into a business environment where remote monitoring from a centralised IT department is required. AMT can be used for checking the status of networked machines, updating their PC and anti-spyware protection and generally ‘healing’ them as Intel likes to say.
To do this, AMT doesn’t use software agents but can gain access to diagnostic data held in non-volatile memory on the PC, which is available even if the operating system has crashed. Vista crash? Unthinkable, we know, but it’s still handy to have a remote way in when you can’t boot to Windows. It seems a bit odd to pair the obviously corporate AMT with Works rather than Office, but you can always try before you buy the heavyweight integrated suite. Or you could run OpenOffice for next to nothing.
If you’re after a PC for general SOHO duties you won’t go far wrong with the Prestige VP Plus. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s neatly put together in an all-Intel design, has plenty of expansion potential and enough processor and storage muscle to handle most business and some leisure applications.