Mon, 01 Aug 1994

Zeos Pantera: A sample of how they should make, sell PCs

By Zatni Arbi

JAKARTA (JP): As one of the most progressive industries in the world, the computer industry gives birth to new products almost daily. Some incorporate breakthroughs that bring computer technology to new heights, some are simply `junk.'

Some products remain the leader of the pack for extended periods of time, some disappear soon after the hoopla when early adopters start finding their real worth. In this country, you can add to all these the fake and counterfeit products, and you have the complete picture of the confusion in the PC market.

When we buy a new car, a new stereo set, new jeans, or any other new thing for that matter, we always want to make sure that we're setting our minds on the best product available.

Computer users are like that, too. When they are checking the market for a new PC system or a new peripheral, they want to make sure that they're getting the best that is available.

Luckily there are many computer magazines around that provide information on the best computer products.

Of course, we always have to take their words with a grain of salt. However, comparing the reports from as many sources as possible will definitely give us a more objective view on which products are the cream of the crop.

Today, we'll have a look at a PC that has received awards from various PC magazines, including PC/Computing, PC Magazine, Windows Sources and PC World.

The first three belong to Ziff Communications Company group, and the last one doesn't. The fact that all of them share the same opinion, however, could be taken as an indication of objectivity in their evaluation.

Pantera PCs

As Pentium-class computers are becoming the soup du jour, buyers are always trying to find the best off-the-shelf Pentium system. Here's one of the best available in the U.S. (not yet in Indonesia): Zeos Pantera Pentium PC.

Editors and testers liked the system not because it was the fastest in its class, but rather because it included many useful features for a very reasonable price.

Let's take a look at what it has in store.

First, the custom-made motherboard has six, instead of four, slots for memory modules. If you use the 32 MB SIMMs, you can load the PC with 192 MB of RAM.

That certainly gives this PC the ability to function as a departmental server with no problem at all. Of course, for a workstation, 192 MB of RAM may well be an overkill.

Still, if you use the more commonly available 4 MB SIMMs, you'll have 24 MB of RAM, more than enough to run even the memory hungry Windows NT.

Pentium processors and PCI local bus are like sate ayam and lontong, they're made for each other. Therefore, it's no surprise that Pantera comes with PCI local bus.

However, in addition to PCI, Pantera also comes with PCI local bus graphics card, two high speed serial ports and one enhanced parallel port on the motherboard, on-board Fast SCSI-2 support, 12-bit ADPCM business audio subsystem, local-bus IDE hard drive controller with 32 KB to 256 KB cache, and a good 14-inch SuperVGA monitor.

Pantera comes with DOS 6.2 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 al ready installed. In addition, a Pantera buyer is also eligible for a bonus of one of the leading Lotus Development's products.

Windows for Workgroups has proved to be the right choice for this system. WFWG's wider disk and file accesses improve the performance of this PC and place it on a par with more expensive systems. Now, the big question is, how much does this all cost?


What most of us consider the entry-level Pantera, with Intel 486DX-33 processor and 8 MB of RAM, a 426 MB hard drive, and a double-speed Mitsumi CD-ROM comes with the price tag of US$1,795.

If you compare this to local price of branded PCs, you'll understand why Pantera gets the Best Buy award.

For top-of-the-line Pantera, with Intel Pentium-90 processor, a 1 GB hard drive and 24 MB of RAM, a double speed CD-ROM, you'll have to sacrifice US$3,895 out of your bank account.

Still, I doubt whether you could get a comparable price here in Glodok, Jakarta.

Zeos International is one of the leading PC manufacturers in the U.S. One of its strong points lies in its reliable and quick service. In January 1992 I ordered a notebook for a friend from this company, and the notebook is still in good shape today (except for its two dead battery packs).

All the ordering procedure was carried out by phone.

My question is, why do we still see such high price tags for branded PCs in Jakarta, despite the fact that most manufacturers have lowered their prices?

Secondly, why is it still impossible to buy a high-quality PC system over the phone in this country? What is it that makes the Indonesian market so much different from the U.S.?