capsule review

Polywell Poly 939N4-SLI2/FX60

At a Glance
  • Polywell Poly 939N4-SLI2/FX60

    PCWorld Rating

    Gamers and power users who crave top performance and need easy upgrades will like this system’s design and price.

Polywell Poly 939N4-SLI2/FX60
Artwork: Rick Rizner, Chris Manners

The Polywell Poly 939N4-SLI2/FX60 lacks the sculpted shapes and colored backlights decorating the cases of many high-priced gaming systems, but it carries cutting-edge hardware and delivers near-record-setting performance.

The system scored a 140 on WorldBench 5, one point below the best mark ever, set by a machine that cost $700 more. The $4250 (as of January 18, 2006) Poly 939N4-SLI2/FX60 also posted the second best frame-rate scores we've seen on our gaming tests while running Unreal Tournament.

The 939N4-SLI2/FX60 comes with the latest version of AMD's dual-core Athlon 64 FX-60, an Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard, 2GB of SDRAM, two EVGA e-GeForce 7800 GTX graphics cards linked by SLI technology to work together, and two 10,000-rpm, 74GB Western Digital Raptor hard drives configured in a RAID 0 array.

Although this Poly's simple black-and-silver tower case may not win awards for style, it makes upgrading easy. The only physical obstacle inside the case is a vertical bar that secures the graphics cards but impedes access to the rest of the interior. After removing a few screws, however, you can lower the bar out of the way and easily reach the one open PCI Express X1 slot, two open RAM sockets, and three open drive bays. Quick-release latches make adding and removing optical drives a snap, and the two hard drive cages slide out horizontally for easy access to the two open bays.

My only substantial complaint about the system involves the review system's19-inch Hyundai L90D+ flat-panel display: Even when set to full brightness, the monitor looked so dark that I couldn't comfortably watch DVD movies or play Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Still photos looked a bit subdued, too.

A 250GB Western Digital Caviar hard drive provides ample extra storage space, and an external SATA connector on the back of the case lets you connect high-speed SATA drives without opening the case. The system also supports 7.1-channel surround sound and comes with both coaxial and optical (Toslink) digital audio-out ports.

The sturdy Logitech keyboard lacks any optical drives controls--a disappointment at this price level--but it does have volume, mute, and four programmable buttons. The Logitech Bluetooth mouse felt good in my hand and showed no delays. The documentation, consisting of a poor setup sheet and an adequate motherboard manual, will suit only experienced users.

Gamers and power users who crave top performance and need easy internal access will like this system's design and price.

Kirk Steers

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Gamers and power users who crave top performance and need easy upgrades will like this system’s design and price.

    Pros

    • Easy-access to components for upgrading

    Cons

    • Bundled LCD was too dark for games
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