PC Magazine May 31, 1994 v13 n10 p160(2)

NeTpower NeTstation 300.

(NeTpower Inc) (one of 14 evaluations of RISC workstations in 'RISC Workstations: Ready for the Desktop?')


Yegyazarian, Anush


    NeTpower Inc's $8,495 NeTpower NeTstation 300 delivers good performance but at a high price. The NeTstation 300 features 32MB of RAM and a fixed 128MB cache, as well as a double-speed Sony CD-ROM drive, a 1GB SCSI hard disk and a video card with 1MB of VRAM on a proprietary PICA local bus. The system includes a daughtercard with SIMM banks and most I/O ports, along with integrated Ethernet. Three open drive bays and two ISA slots leave ample expansion room. The NeTstation 300 delivers consistent performance on all the benchmark tests; the results of its applications tests are average, but the Picture Publisher and Pro Engineer test results fall below average. The system performs well on the Khornerstone and Graphstone tests and fairly well on the two other Stanford tests. NeTpower's machine outperforms all other NT systems tested in the single-precision Whetstone test.

Full Text

NeTpower NeTstation 300

List price: $8,495.
Processor/memory: MIPS R4400/150 CPU, 32MB RAM, 128K external cache.
Data storage: Seagate ST31200 1.05GB SCSI-2 hard disk, NCR 53C94 hard disk controller, PICA and ISA local buses, Sony 561 CD-ROM drive.
Display: NeTpower 93316-1 video controller with 1MB of VRAM, Acer 7076I 17-inch color monitor with a 70-Hz refresh rate at 1,024-by-768.
Software: Microsoft Windows NT.

    NeTpower Inc., 545 Oakmead Pkwy., Sunnyvale, CA 94086; 800-801-0900.

Suitability to Task Computational ability GOOD
Expandability GOOD
Engineering/scientific/CAD GOOD
Graphics/publishing GOOD

    The MIPS R4400/150-equipped NeTpower NeTstation 300 has some performance benefits, but ultimately, at $8,495, it may not offer the best combination of price and performance in the NT portion of this roundup.

    NeTpower is a new company dedicated to the Windows NT operating system on the RISC platform, though it remains open to the possibility of using other processors. If its cases look familiar, that's because its workstations are manufactured by Acer. While they may look alike on the outside, there are differences on the motherboard: NeTpower works with Acer to customize the systems to its design specifications. NeTpower's present systems are aimed at the scientific and design workstation market and at software developers.

    The NeTstation came with 32MB of RAM (expandable to 128MB) and a fixed 128K cache--less than that of most systems in the roundup. It was also equipped with a double-speed Sony CD-ROM drive, a 1GB SCSI hard disk, a video card with 1MB of VRAM on a proprietary (PICA) local bus, a daughtercard with the SIMM banks and most I/O ports, integrated Ethernet, and a 17-inch monitor. The desktop case left some room for expansion with three drive bays free and two ISA slots open. NeTpower is also considering switching to a more widely accepted local-bus design for future RISC workstations.

    The NeTstation didn't dazzle on our benchmark tests, but its performance remained steady throughout. Its scores on our applications tests were fair, though slightly below average under Picture Publisher and Pro Engineer. Like other NT MIPS-based systems, its results on the Stanford Floating-Point test and the Dhrystone test weren't as impressive as those of the Alpha-based Carrera, but it did well on the Khornerstone and Graphstone tests and held its own on the other two Stanford tests.

    It had the best single-precision Whetstone score among the NT systems, though it, too, was penalized by a lack of optimized compilers in the double-precision tests. One low point was the result of the 16-bit Excel emulation test, where the NeTstation had one of the worst times of all NT systems.

    The company backs its systems with a standard one-year parts and labor warranty with on-site service from BSC included.

Hardware Review

Netpower Inc.

NetPower Netstation 300 (MIPS-based system)


Record #
15 350 682

*NeTpower NeTstation 300.
PC Magazine: May 31, 1994
COPYRIGHT Ziff-Davis Publishing Company 1994