Lack of client management tools sinks Kayak XA-s

Pros and cons:
+ Great benchmark performance
– No client management or other tools

XA-s 400-MHz
Kayak Pentium II

  math 8.83 8.65
Integer math 16.08 16.02
2-D video 28.08 21.78
Small-file access 16.17 11.22
Large-file access 9.98 9.44
CD-ROM access 18.85 N/A

1.0=66MHz6 486 baseline

The Hewlett-Packard Kayak XA-s PC Workstation is a strong performer that isn’t
much different than a high-end desktop PC.

Its graphics subsystem, imported from Hewlett-Packard Co.’s Unix workstations,
garnered an excellent 2-D GCNdex32TM benchmark score of 28.08—the highest the GCN Lab
has ever recdorded.

The 3-D performance with public-domain OpenGL utilities left something to be desired.

The Kayak rendered full-screen XGA at about 13 frames per second, compared with about
35 frames per second on high-end PCs from Dell Computer Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp. [GCN, July 13, Page 31].

Overall, the Kayak’s benchmarks were among the three best the lab has examined.
But it showed some glaring glitches in usability.

The Kayak comes with a special keyboard that has programmable buttons. The software
that makes the keyboard work had not been installed.

Nor, despite the very nice headphones and sound card, had sound services been enabled
under Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0.

Its problems went beyond configuration. The Kayak lacked client management services
such as HP’s TopTools, which complies with the industry-standard Desktop Management
Interface 2.0. HP sent no other client management utilities.

Although the interior was well-designed, component access proved quite difficult. Many
minitowers have wide open spaces. The Kayak is jam-packed.

Only three PCI slots, one ISA and one shared card slot were easy to reach once I freed
the minitower’s chassis cover from its railings.

I could see the memory slots, but a ribbon cable blocked access. I couldn’t see
the 400-MHz Pentium II processor, which was tucked beneath a plastic tunnel that directed
a cooling fan over it.

It’s usually obvious where to plug peripherals into a PC, except for the mouse and
keyboard, which have interchangeable PS/2 connections.

The workstation didn’t indicate which peripheral went where, and I guessed wrong
the first time.

A three-line LCD panel on the front, called MaxiLife, gives little diagnostic feedback.
Its error code for not plugging the keyboard and mouse into the correct ports was a
cryptic “Error Post 0103.” The frowny face was no help at all.

MaxiLife does some hardware monitoring, such as for internal temperature level. 


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