One of the most interesting aspects of the review system was its provision of twin, 320GB Seagate Barracuda hard drives, configured as a mirrored RAID array. Combined with a copy of Norton Save and Restore, the system provides automatic backup of all important programs and data, giving you a higher level of data security than a single drive system. This has long been a better RAID configuration for business customers than a striped array, which gives improved drive speeds, but no extra security.
Quite a lot of the options fitted to this review system are extras over the basic price of the Vostro 200 and this includes a copy of Microsoft Office 2007 Basic, rather than Works 8.0. The extra £90 asked for this is probably worth it, if your business requires serious software support.
The Vostro 200 is a very easy PC to use and everything is in place for quick and useful computing straight out of the box. There’s sufficient power in the processor to handle the extra backup tasks needed to take advantage of the mirrored RAID.
Running PCMark 05 produced an index of 4916, not at all bad for a machine ostensibly designed for small-business use. In fact, we can see little difference between this Vostro 200 and several mid-range home PCs we’ve looked at in recent months.
OK, Windows Vista Business doesn’t include Media Centre, so there’s no option to watch a bit a TV, but the specification and extras like multi-channel audio, memory card readers and to some extent the widescreen monitor seem superfluous to most small-business environments.
The PC comes with a one year, on-site warranty and this can be boosted to three year cover. Surprisingly, although McAfee Security Center comes pre-installed on our system, no subscription is included in the basic price, so you need to specify either McAfee or Norton as an extra, when ordering.
This is a good, solid small-business PC, which would be even more useful in a home office, where you might want entertainment and leisure services as well. Although the base price of £276 (£235 ex VAT) looks extremely attractive, bear in mind that to get to the specification reviewed here costs a lot more than that. As with all pick ‘n’ mix, you can end up paying more than you expected.