Hardware

@Xi PowerGo 2Duo (First Look Review)

5 Mar, 2007 By: Ron LaFon

Highly recommended: Mobile workstation is fastest to date to come through Cadalyst Labs.


@Xi Computer has a well-deserved reputation for producing speedy workstation systems for the CAD and engineering markets. Xi has been working for some time to produce a mobile workstation that meets its performance expectations. The result of those efforts is the newly released @Xi PowerGo 2Duo, the fastest mobile workstation to ever come through Cadalyst Labs.

@Xi PowerGo 2Duo
Pros: Very fast mobile system; excellent performance; many nice extras.
Cons: None significant.
Price: $3,698

@Xi Computer
800.432.0486
www.xicomputer.com

Based on an Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 dual-core processor, the PowerGo 2Duo that Cadalyst evaluated included 2GB of DDR2/667MHz RAM. Graphics were accommodated by an NVIDIA Quadro FX2500M with 512MB of memory. The @Xi PowerGo 2Duo features a 17" display with a native WUXGA resolution of 1900x1200.

The PowerGo 2Duo is slightly larger and heavier but still comparable to other systems that fall into the mobile workstation category. The system measures 15.6" x 1.8" x 11.5" (W x H x D) and weighs 8.3lbs with the rechargeable lithium ion battery installed.

@Xi PowerGo 2Duo
The new @Xi PowerGo 2Duo is based on an Intel Core 2 Duo T7600 processor running at 2.33GHz -- and it is fast.

The mobile workstation offers extensive connectivity options and includes a built-in video camera and microphone. Accessories for the PowerGo 2Duo include a TV tuner with remote control and an external mouse and keyboard, none of which were included with the review system that Cadalyst received.

When I got the @Xi PowerGo 2Duo on the test bench, I installed all the application and benchmark software on the system, set the screen resolution to Cadalyst's standard 1280x1024 and ran the benchmark test suite. Using AutoCAD 2005 with Service Pack 1 installed, we performed the Cadalyst C2006 benchmark and generated a speedy C2006 total index score of 178.

Next, I ran the MAXBench4 benchmark on Autodesk 3ds Max 8 with Service Pack 3 installed. (Although 3ds Max 9 has been released, I'm not yet using it for the benchmark tests.) Tests were done with both the default WHQL-certified video driver v.8.4.7.8 and with the MAXtreme 8.00.03 accelerated driver for 3ds Max, in the most current version that supports OpenGL. After averaging the high and low frame rates for the MAXBench4 tests, I was able to generate a score of 94.14 with the default video driver and 145.62 with the MAXtreme driver.

The final benchmark is the ProE-04 viewset of SPEC ViewPerf 9.03, which produced a weighted geometric mean score of 36.48. These scores for the @Xi PowerGo 2Duo are the fastest scores ever produced by a mobile workstation in Cadalyst Labs, making it the system to catch.

I also tested the life of the lithium ion battery with two different tests: a simple rundown test with the PowerGo 2Duo in idle and another test with the Cadalyst C2006 benchmark running in a continuous loop. After turning off polling services such as the wireless network and Bluetooth, the idle test depleted the battery charge in 1 hour, 40 minutes. Once fully recharged, I ran the continuous loop test for 1 hour, 20 minutes before the charge was depleted. These timings are good for a mobile workstation, and the recharging time was relatively brief.

Priced at $3,698, the PowerGo 2Duo's warranty coverage is three years for parts and labor and one year of onsite service. With its attractive design, excellent display and high performance, the @Xi PowerGo 2Duo is an impressive system. Highly Recommended


About the Author: Ron LaFon


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