First Look: Polywell PolyStation 939CF-V73501 Jun, 2006 By: Ron LaFon
The Polystation 939CF-V7350 workstation from Polywell came equipped with the new ATI FireGL V7350 graphics card that incorporates 1GB of onboard GDDR3 memory (see review in Cadalyst, May 2006). It also includes an AMD Athlon64 FX-60 dual-core microprocessor processor running at 2.6GHz.
The FX-60 microprocessor is mounted on an ASUS A8R-MVP motherboard, supported by the ATI X200CF chipset. The motherboard offers a front-side bus speed of 1600MHz. The PolyStation 939CF-V7350 has a Phoenix BIOS and includes 2GB of 433MHz RAM (out of a possible 4GB when the board is fully populated with memory).
The compact and stylish red-and-black case features a removable side panel with a clear Plexiglas window. Additional features included a Seasonic 600W 80 Plus high-efficiency power supply, a 300GB Seagate hard drive and dual Western Digital 74GB drives in a RAID configuration—all drives are SATA. The system came with two optical drives—a Sony DVD-RW and a second Sony DVD-CDRW combination drive (52x32x52/16x)—as well as a 7-in-1 media card reader/floppy disk drive combination.
Polywell PolyStation 939CF-V7350
The new ATI FireGL V7350 graphics card incorporates 1GB of GDDR3 memory, two dual-link DVI-I connectors and support for emerging 10-bit display monitor technology as well as a connector for 3D stereo glasses.
The FireGL V7350 will support 9-megapixel displays at 3840x2400 resolution or two displays at resolutions as high as 2560x1600 per screen.
The PolyStation 939CF-V7350 workstation provides ten drive bays, a single parallel port, one serial port, a game port, six USB 2.0 ports and two FireWire 1394a ports, for many connectivity options. The system includes two PCIe slots, but because the FireGL V7350 is a double-width graphics card, only one slot is accessible in this configuration.
Windows XP with Service Pack 2 was preinstalled on the system, along with ATI graphics drivers v.126.96.36.199 for the FireGL V7350. I used ATI's MAXimum 2.0.5646 accelerated driver for the 3ds max part of the benchmark tests and conducted tests both with and without the accelerated driver.
The Polywell PolyStation 939CF-V7350 features an AMD Athlon64 FX-60 dual-core processor and the ATI FireGL V7350 graphics card, which boasts 1GB of onboard memory.
The Cadalyst C2006 benchmark using AutoCAD 2005 produced a total index score of 145. Using Autodesk 3ds max 8 with Service Pack 2 installed, the MAXBench4 benchmark achieved an averaged high/low score of 73.25 using just the default graphics driver and an averaged high/low score of 107.88 using the ATI MAXimum accelerated driver for 3ds max. For the SPEC ViewPerf 8.01 ProE-03 viewset (www.spec.org), which typically follows the performance of the graphics card, the weighted geometric mean was 58.32. If your work involves extra-large models, the available RAM on the graphics card will almost certainly provide significant performance enhancement.
With its dual-core AMD processor, bonus hard-disk capacity and ATI FireGL V7350 with 1GB of RAM, the Polywell PolyStation 939CF-V7350 workstation has features that make it particularly useful for those who work with large, complex files.
As equipped for this review, the PolyStation 939CF-V7350 is priced at $4,395. Like all Polywell systems, it can be configured with a broad number of options that may alter the pricing one way or another. The warranty covers parts for five years, labor for three years and on-site service for two years. Polywell accepts returns within 30 days with a 15% restocking fee. Both 24-hour replacement part and 24-hour telephone support are included.
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.