Hardware

First Look Review: Xi MTower 64SLI

31 Aug, 2006 By: Ron LaFon

Desktop workstation provides customization and expandability options along with speedy performance.


Xi MTower 64SLI
Desktop Workstation
Pros: Speedy system; lots of expansion room; relatively quiet.
Cons: None significant.
Price: $3,599-$5,549

@Xi Computer
800.432.0486
www.xicomputer.com

@Xi Computer sent Cadalyst one of its new systems for use in testing for our annual round-up of large monitors to come in the September 2006 print edition. The Xi MTower 64SLI system featured an Asus M2N32-SLI DLX motherboard with the NVIDIA nForce 590 chipset and a single dual-core AMD Athlon FX-62 2.8GHz processor -- the first one to come through Cadalyst Labs for testing.

The system we received contained 2GB of DDR2 800MHz PC6200 RAM, out of a possible total of 8GB when fully populated. A beefy OCZ 600W power supply was included, as were two Western Digital Raptor 74GB drives coupled in a RAID 0 configuration. The motherboard features onboard eight-channel digital sound and dual network connections. The system also came with a Sony 16x10x40x12 optical drive, a Logitech optical mouse and a Logitech keyboard.

figure
The Xi MTower 64SLI resides in an attractive black tower case with a removable side panel that has a clear acrylic window.

The Xi MTower 64SLI is housed in an attractive midsized black tower case that measures 17.2"x8"x19.2" (HxWxD) and features a removable side panel with a clear acrylic window. The system proved to be moderately quiet, even with the large ventilation fans installed in the case -- the most noise I heard was generated by the fan on the NVIDIA FX 5500 graphics card that I used for testing purposes. The tool-free case features ten USB 2.0 connectors and two FireWire 1394 connections.

On the benchmark tests, the Xi MTower 64SLI performed quite well, producing a total index score of 182 on the Cadalyst Labs C2006 Benchmark running under AutoCAD 2005 with Service Pack 1 installed. On the MAXBench4 benchmark using 3ds Max 8 with Service Pack 3 and the default video drivers, the system produced an averaged high/low score of 72.56. With the MAXtreme v.8.00.03 accelerated driver for 3ds Max, the averaged high/low score jumped to 165.59. The final system benchmark was the ProE-04 Viewset of SPEC ViewPerf 9, in which the system produced a weighted geometric mean score of 38.81-all very good performance numbers. All test results given here were produced with the NVIDIA Quadro FX 5500 graphics card installed.

Pricing for the Xi MTower 64SLI system as configured here, but with the NVIDIA Quadro FX 1500 graphics card installed, is $3,699. With the faster, and more expensive, NVIDIA Quadro FX5500 graphics card, the price jumps to $5,649. This significant price differential is due entirely to the pricing of the FX 5500 graphics card. As is true with all systems from @Xi Computer, the MTower 64SLI system is available with a variety of peripherals, including graphics cards, so you can configure a system to meet your specific needs and desires. As one might surmise from the system naming, the MTower 64SLI can be configured for SLI with dual graphics cards. The quoted prices reflects a three-year warranty that covers parts and labor, and includes 12-month onsite service coverage and 24-hour replacement parts and telephone support. Other warranty options are available. All @Xi systems are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee with no restocking fee.

With its extensive expandability options, relatively quiet operation and speedy performance, the Xi MTower 64SLI system is designed to get the work done quickly and efficiently, with a lot of potential for growth and expansion.


About the Author: Ron LaFon


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