The first PC review ever published in PC Pro

12 Oct 2012
ESCOM Pentium P60

We republish the first ever PC review to appear in PC Pro back in 1994

PC Pro came of age recently - it's 18 years since we first appeared on the newsagents' shelves in autumn 1994.

To mark the occasion, we've decided to republish the first standalone PC review to appear in our magazine, which you'll find embedded below (Click on the article to expand it to full screen, or click here if you can't see the article).

The review, written by Jon Honeyball (who remains a pivotal part of PC Pro 18 years later) is of the ESCOM Pentium P60. As you'll see, Jon's not particularly enamoured with it.

The supplied 4MB of RAM was "far too little for 1994-sized packages", leaving Windows for Workgroups feeling "decidedly wobbly" and bringing Word 6 "to its knees".

It scored only two out of six overall, with Jon concluding that "you can make it too cheap". Too cheap in 1994 being £1,409 inc VAT - which taking 18 years of inflation into account would be roughly £2,350 today.

By comparison our current A-List budget PC, the Palicomp Phoenix i5 Destiny costs only £699 inc VAT. The Palicomp's processor clock speed is 58 times faster than the 60MHz Pentium in the ESCOM; it has over 1,000 times more RAM; and more than 2,500 times the hard disk capacity.

Changing shape of PC Pro

It's not only the hardware that's changed significantly since 1994. You'll notice a few differences between the style of review from 1994 and today's magazine. Firstly, the review was written in the first-person ("I"), rather than the first-person plural ("we") style we've adopted for many years now.

The "speed tests" we used in those days are very different from today's Real World Benchmarks, although there are similarities. In those days we benchmarked the ESCOM on Windows 3.1, using tests involving an (unspecified) word processor/spreadsheet, database and graphics package.

Nowadays, we thrash our PCs with a suite of media applications, run a comprehensive set of multitasking tests and push the graphics with demanding 3D titles such as Crysis.

You'll also notice a couple of style oddities - such as references to 4Mb of RAM and a 406Mb hard disk, instead of 4MB of RAM and a 406MB hard disk. Frankly, we blame the sloppiness of the reviews editor of the time, one James Tye. Whatever happened to him?

What became of ESCOM?

So who were ESCOM, the company that made that first ever review PC? Well, according to Wikipedia, the company didn't really recover from Jon's scathing review, and went out of business just two years later - but not before they'd taken over what was left of TV rental outfit Rumbelows and paid $14 million for the remains of Commodore International.

Which, we have to admit, may have done more damage to their bottom line than a Honeyball demolition job. But not much...

Next week, find out which household name wrote for the first issue of PC Pro, before he was famous.

Read more