IBM IntelliStation Z Pro31 Oct, 2003 By: Ron LaFon Cadalyst
3.5 stars out of 5
Something sleek and solid in the basic design of the matte-black IBM IntelliStation Z Pro series is very attractive. Although the test system measures a compact 17.4" × 6.5" × 19.4" (h×w×d), its one of the heavier systems tested. As is typical of IBM systems, its well engineered.
The IBM IntelliStation Z Pro is based on dual 3.06GHz Intel Xeon microprocessors supported by the Intel E7505 chipset. As tested, the system had 2GB of PC2100-266MHz/ECC (error checking and correction) via 16-bit Checksum chipkill RAM. The system accommodates a total of 8GB of installed RAM. As with the Hewlett-Packard system, the IBMs smaller case size resulted in some expansion limitations, particularly with drive bays.
The IBM IntelliStation Z Pro series is typically quite speedy, but this one was slowed by the NVIDIA FX 1000 graphics card. Though the FX 1000 is a capable graphics card, a high-speed system like this one calls out for a faster graphics card such as the FX 2000 or FX 3000. On the other hand, using either of these two cards would increase the system price, which at $6,425 is already by far the highest in the roundup.
This resulted in a B+ grade for performance, and the high system price earned the Z Pro a C for pricing. These, along with a B+ score for expandability, add up to a 3.5-star rating for this system. There is certainly a great deal of potential here, along with obvious quality. Unfortunately, most of the potential is not realized because of the graphics card choice.
Other components of the system are an IBM Multiburner (CD/DVD combo) drive, two 80GB EIDE IBM Deskstar hard drives, an IBM keyboard, and an IBM Wheel Mouse. Broadcom Netxtreme 10/100/1000 networking is integrated on the motherboard.