Workstations

First Look: @XI 4000+ MTOWER 64-SLI

1 Feb, 2005 By: Ron LaFon

Dual PCI Express workstation.


We Recently Needed to test two new PCI Express graphics cards, the Quadro FX 4400 from NVIDIA and the ATI FireGL V7100, so @Xi Computer sent us a prototype of its Xi 4000+ MTower 64-SLI system to use. The Xi 4000+ MTower 64-SLI is a dual PCI Express SLI-capable system. By changing the orientation of a small card on the motherboard—much like a stick of RAM—you can enable one or both of its PCI Express slots.

 Even as an early prototype, the @Xi 4000+ MTower 64-SLI performed very well.
Even as an early prototype, the @Xi 4000+ MTower 64-SLI performed very well.

The Xi 4000+ MTower 64-SLI is based on a 2.6GHz AMD Athlon 64 microprocessor (4000+) with a 1024K cache. The system motherboard is an ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe with an NVIDIA nForce chipset and 2GB of RAM installed—typical for our test systems these days. Fully populated, the motherboard can hold 3GB of RAM.

The Xi 4000+ MTower 64-SLI we evaluated came with a 74GB 10,000RPM Western Digital Raptor hard disk with 8MB of cache. A 400W power supply supports the ten drive bays, five of which are externally exposed. The input devices are a Logitech 2+wheel black optical mouse and a Logitech 104+-key Web keyboard. The system features onboard AC-97 7.1 sound and an onboard 10/100/1G LAN. Microsoft Windows XP Professional was preinstalled. @Xi also includes a copy of Red Hat Linux 9 and a useful assortment of utilities. Other installed devices include a 1.44MB floppy drive and a CD-R/W + DVD 48X24X48+16 ATAPI combo drive.

Though we tested the system with different graphics cards, we'll look at the results from the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4400 as representative of system performance. Running on Windows XP Professional and AutoCAD 2005 SP1, the Cadalyst C2001 benchmark posted a total index score of 152.76. With SPEC ViewPerf 8.01 (www.spec.com), the proe-03 viewset registered a score of 53.82.

Finally, MAXBench 4, using the NVIDIA MAXtreme 6.00.07 driver in 3ds max 7, recorded a Comp High rate of 125.156 and Comp Low rate of 140.001, for an averaged rate of 132.579. The base drivers for the Quadro FX 4400 were the latest available from NVIDIA, v7.0.4.1, which are shown on its Web site as beta drivers.

Xi 4000+ MTower 64-SLI
Xi 4000+ MTower 64-SLI

Pricing for the Xi 4000+ MTower 64-SLI system is $3,099, which includes an NVIDIA FX 1400 (SLI capable) graphics card, but does not include a monitor or speakers. The price given is for a system configured to meet our specific testing requirements; many other configuration options are available, as are a wide range of peripherals. @Xi Computer's online configuration tool lets you put together a system based on your requirements. The system pricing includes the standard Xi one-year warranty. Extended coverage is available at additional cost.

The 4000+ MTower 64-SLI performed very well, even for a relatively early prototype. This quiet and responsive system incorporates lots of sophisticated technology and offers plenty of room for expansion.

Ron LaFon, a contributing editor for Cadalyst, is a writer, editor and computer graphics and electronic publishing specialist from Atlanta, Georgia. He is a principal at 3Bear Productions in Atlanta.


About the Author: Ron LaFon


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